High Expectations or Toxic Work Environment?
"Just not a boys club", Deborah was the first female CEO in 62 years. Under the guise of a work dinner was who was propositioned by a high powered attorney. It started with calling her babe, comments about her prettiness, a kiss, and it was clear it was a power setting mood. All along she had brought up, filing a formal complaint, then placed in administrative leave. After the complaint with the same law firm that represented Harvey Weinstein, she was placed on administrative leave. Allegations for a "toxic work condition" made by the former CEO's executive assistant was made. Interesting complaint on the heels of the successful CEO, who had moved across the country, believing in the academy, and needed an executive assistant who she could trust and do the work she needed to do. Two key individuals in an organization are the legal counsel and the executive assistant. These positions must be trusted professionals for the CEO to be successful and clearly, these individuals were not supportive of her vision. After a successful career with eight years at EMI, eight years at Disney, and eight years at Bono raising millions of dollars to eradicate AIDS she finds herself fighting for her name, her career, and her professionalism all at the whim of an executive board that have limited knowledge of the complexities involved in the organization. In fact, it was Deborah that informed the board that the former CEO had a previous rape allegation. This information had not been brought to the board, and Deborah knew the system needed to be changed. Her desire for significant change with transparency and conflict of interests addressed because of what she witnessed during her tenure. Her positivity toward the mission of the district, the artists, the music, and many of the team and board members illustrates her professionalism and competence as a leader. She continues to be a champion for the artists and the music while the recording academy board grapples with the complaint and tries to make sense of attorney advice.
Whining or Whistleblowing?
Let's examine Liz Gilbert, a shining political advocate, who was fired from her position of President for the Local Host Committee for the National Democratic Convention. She was informed of a complaint from a toxic work environment and immediately sent the complaint to her executive board. Within two days, she and her chief of staff were put on leave and fired within days. Liz was never interviewed or given an opportunity to share any insight. Now, she is embattled with attorneys for the local host committee board.
Fighting for her career and next steps, Gilbert grapples with the justice and equality for her voice, her professionalism and an opportunity to respond to allegations. All these allegations stemmed from two female employees stating that the chief of staff was a bully. This complaint was never given to Liz until she was put on leave. The investigation took less than 24 hours and Liz was never interviewed. What political deal did these females make in order to have a low expectation, low functioning work environment? Let it be known that Liz's voice wasn't heard, now her career is at a standstill due to a board's inability to know what to do next and not having the sophistication to follow proper board etiquette. They lean on legal counsel, who is only in the conversation to protect one thing - their pocketbook. We can do better with board preparation, board prerequisites, and putting protocols in place to let the full story be told.