The following is an excerpt from excerpt from “Women Lead”
How Women Are Reshaping Work, Family Life, and Retirement
After 21 years of marriage, attorney Mary Hart was blindsided by a divorce. She was raising three children, had no income, and had recently moved to a new city. “It would have been easy to fall apart,” she remembers, but she didn’t. Instead, she started her own law firm. She now employs eight other women, some of whom are also single mothers, and invests in real estate. “I never would have done any of that had I not gotten divorced,” she says. “What I thought was going to kill me ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
Ann Michael was working for a small pharmaceutical logistics company when she discovered she had breast cancer. “I remember sitting on the couch, not feeling very well, and thinking, ‘I’m tired of working for other people because there’s so much else I want to do,’” she says. She went to her boss with a plan: She’d offload some of her tasks and do the others as a consultant. “I wound up making the same amount of money working 20 hours a week, and using the other 20 hours to build a business,” Michael says. She now is president of publishing and media consulting firm Delta Think.
Kathryn Bowsher was out on maternity leave from the consulting firm she ran when she received a phone call about a company that needed a CEO with her precise skill set. After talking things over with her husband, Bowsher decided to take the job, started as a consultant for the new company when her daughter was four months old, and became its CEO four months later. “We increased the nanny’s hours, and adjusted our home responsibilities so I could spend more time at work, ”she says. “It was complicated at first, but we figured it out, and it’s been great. Life’s like that: You figure out what feels like the right thing to do in the moment, and work the rest out later.”
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