Summer’s Closing

August 20, 2012

So, the bittersweetness has taken its toll. I find myself on the verge of a week in NYC with nothing to do except eat, sleep, and be merry. I, of course, will also be feverishly looking at courses and stressing about Women’s Policy Journal antics. Beyond these tasks, however, I will have lots of down time to think about what I have left behind and what lies ahead. I will miss my cubicle at Catalyst with its endearing quotable cards and personalized phone extension that I used only on 1-2 occasions. I will miss the coffee truck right outside the Wall Street 2/3 stop that I ventured to most mornings before hitting the hustle and bustle of writing and researching. I will miss being surrounded by individuals who “get it” and understand my career goals and passions. It’s a sad but true reality in life that all good things must come to an end in one way or another. I say I like change and that I’m adaptable, but time will tell if that rings true — especially when I will carry so many nuggets of life lessons and wisdom that I picked up along the way this summer with me in my endeavors at Harvard and beyond. So, maybe this one time, this good thing called Catalyst will stick with me in one shape or another….

I am also moving out of my UWS apartment tomorrow to couch surf (well, not surf, but hibernate) for a few days before heading back up to the big C. I am going to fit in as much NYC treat consumption before then (complete with cookies, of course) and wandering around both familiar and new streets. 

It has indeed been a wonderful summer. Hopefully someday I will be back here (living/working perhaps) and can exercise my same route in Central Park and grab dinner at my favorite deli down the street. 

Until then….

Backlog

August 18, 2012

Blog post: 8/10/12

I am one of the three interns left on Intern Island at Catalyst (one of whom is a high school student and one of whom is a college student, so I feel elderly in their presence). At one point, we had 12 interns, so I am starting to feel like this is a game of Survival of the Fittest or, maybe, Survival of the Workaholics?

I cannot believe I only have 1 week left at Catalyst. The time here has whizzed by, as do most wonderful things in life. Not only has my work here been impactful and interesting, but I have had the opportunity to work with incredible people on a daily basis (and not to mention a bright office overlooking the river to ward out any creeping seasonal depression that may be upon us).

I have been keeping busy tying up loose ends on various projects and even dabbling into data analysis/preparation. Although the Kennedy core curriculum (complete with 2 semesters of both economics and empirical methods) and my undergrad quantitative training were at times tedious and coffee-coma inducing, I have to admit that they have been useful in the real world of think tank land! And, embarrassingly, it has been kind of fun…

Ilene Lang, the CEO of Catalyst, hosted an intern luncheon a few weeks ago. It was great to convene and reflect on what we have learned this summer and what takeaways we will be carrying with us into our lives outside of 120 Wall. I have learned many things I will carry with me the rest of my life this summer, but I chose to bring up a topic that is very timely for me and my female classmates at Harvard. My female peers, like myself, are very ambitious career-wise and many of us want to be at the top of our career fields. The Kennedy School does not prepare us for the challenges as women we will face in our journeys, however. I was the course assistant for the one course that focuses on this issue—Women and Leadership—this past fall, but the core curriculum doesn’t even touch it. We have a management core course that uses a case based method; there are a select few cases on female leaders, so the little opportunity to make a big impact in the minds of female students is lost. My hope is that institutions—Harvard and beyond—integrate the issues we research here at Catalyst into core curriculums so that women and minorities can know sooner rather than later the realities of life outside of academia.

Beyond work, I have been keeping busy enjoying my last bits of the city and beyond. I went home to Houston for a long weekend and enjoyed copious amounts of yummy Mexican food. I have ventured down the Jersey shore a few times as well—the water is insanely cold for my Texan bones, so it has been a struggle. This past week I went to Brasserie Pushkin—a Russian restaurant—for NYC’s restaurant week. It was delicious! J

I will be posting more soon! Stay tuned!

Endless Benefits of Yoga for Women

The benefits of yoga reach far beyond the mat. Yoga is the union between the mind and the body.  The practice of yoga strengthens the connection between the health of the mind and the health of the body through awareness and movement. Yoga is beneficial for women because it assists in weight loss, improves flexibility, strengthens the body, improves posture, and serves as a stress relief in a busy and demanding world.

Yoga assists in weight loss because it lowers stress hormones, namely cortisol.  Cortisol is released into the body in times of high stress and can cause fuel to be stored as fat. Yoga lowers stress and inhibits the release of this hormone. Yoga also increases insulin sensitivity, which allows the body to burn fuel instead of storing fuel as fat. Yoga also teaches mindfulness and awareness.  A calm mind tends to make better decisions for the health of the body.

Yoga also improves flexibility. Improved flexibility means less strained muscles, less aches and pains, and more joint relief.  According to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Americans are nearly 100% likely to have an episode of knee pain at least once in their lifetime.  The postures and movement in yoga safely release the lactic acid that builds up not only in the muscle itself but also in the fascia and the tendons that surround it. The body is able to whisk the toxins from the body and allow for healing to occur.  Inflammation is then lessened as the body releases the toxins and takes in nutrients.

Yoga is incredible for improving muscular strength and posture. The practice of yoga strengthens the core, which supports proper posture. The poses build strong biceps, triceps, pectorals, hamstrings, and quadriceps.  Women looking to build strength often do not like lifting weights or they feel that weight lifting will add bulk to their frame. Yoga will not add bulk but will strengthen the female body while also giving the body a long and lean look, much like a dancer.

Yoga is also an exercise for the mind. Yoga can be utilized to de-stress the human body.  By participating in deep breathing techniques, students of yoga begin to feel the sensations of deep relaxation and meditation.  In the process of achieving relaxation, a boost of oxytocin is released in the body as the adrenals slow down and the body relaxes. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone that creates a sense of wellbeing and connectivity in women.  Meditation leads to heightened awareness and focus and can prove to be a tremendous stress relief to women who are balancing work, motherhood, and marriage.

The benefits of practicing yoga are truly endless.  Yoga can be of assistance for a lifetime in improving strength, flexibility, agility, mindfulness, and awareness.  The practice of yoga is truly invaluable in the lives of women to improve their health and wellbeing.

 

Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well being.  She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor.  Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!

Women and the Olympics

August 3, 2012

I thought it would be timely to dedicate this week’s post to the Olympics and, of course, women.

My internship has made me almost paranoid about gender dynamics in everyday discourse and events. I actually started talking to the television during the Olympics when I’d hear something with which I didn’t agree. In particular, that pesky P&G commercial that praises the Olympic athletes’ moms but makes no mention of the dads of the world. Of course: Mom is the one taking you to practice in between inputing and outputing loads of laundry freshened by Tide detergent.

O.k. I’m done being spiteful. Here are some good reads concerning gender dynamics and the Olympics:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/27/sports/olympics/judo-federation-rules-that-saudi-woman-cant-wear-head-scarf.html?_r=1

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/opinion/sunday/bruni-at-the-olympics-womens-time-to-shine.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/25/london-olympics-breaks-new-ground-for-women/

http://www.alternet.org/hot-news-views/olympic-weightlifters-incredible-take-down-sexist-jerks-we-dont-lift-weights-order

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/olympics/olympics-2012-year-of-the-woman/article4442347/

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/07/what-women-get-from-watching-beach-volleyball/260535/

http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/08/01/reevaluating-how-and-why-women-watch-sports/

Bittersweet

July 21, 2012

It’s official: I want to stay in NYC forever. Of course I love Cambridge and my life there, but there is something magical about being a place that can seemingly never be conquered. It is crazy to think an expanse that is relatively minute is so wonderfully overwhelming. (This is coming from someone that grew up in Houston, which is notably the 4th largest city in the U.S.)

I have been keeping busy with lots of adventures.  The past few weeks have been filled with dinners/outings with friends, an emotional visit to the 9/11 memorial, the architectural treasures visible from the Highline, lots of laughs atMamma Mia, and the musical wonders of the NYC philharmonic concert in Central Park.

I only have 4 more weeks left in my internship at Catalyst, which is definitely bittersweet. Although I am itching to hit the books back at HKS, I have enjoyed working on various types of projects at Catalyst and meeting numerous mentors. I have been truly blessed to have such a wonderful experience so far and look forward to making the last 1/3 of my internship really count! In terms of what I’m doing currently at Catalyst, I am continuing work on various research endeavors, a business case project centered on women on corporate boards, and other strategic work for the Center for Corporate Governance. I also did a fact check this past week for a research report, which was surprisingly super fun and stimulating. I had to ensure all of the numbers in the report were accurate and that the text had a good flow. The project brought me back to the days of being a writing consultant at Colgate (which is something I miss immensely).

I have copied some links to various articles that cite Catalyst below. With Marissa Mayer and other new developments dominating the gender news scene, there is no lack of Catalyst sightings!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/18/marissa-mayer-pregnant_n_1682204.html

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/18/living/marissa-mayer-family-leave/index.html

http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2012/07/18/a-little-diversity-training-goes-a-long-way/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2012/07/02/shut-up-sheryl-sandberg-millennial-women-reject-role-models-mentors/

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-29/a-call-to-action-u-dot-s-dot-b-schools-to-identify-board-ready-women

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/06/assess_the_value_of_your_network.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304782404577489003831226744.html?KEYWORDS=women

NYC in photos

July 20, 2012

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Two of my favorite quotes/quotable products (props to Kathleen Onorevole and Casey Stranahan for gifting them to me!) 

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My office building

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A look down Wall Street outside of my office building

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Cool art visible from the Highline

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View from Battery Park

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9/11 Memorial

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9/11 Memorial (with waterfall details)

 

Progression

June 28, 2012

I cannot believe that I have been in NYC for over a month! I am having such a wonderful time here and I am dreading the thought of leaving. When I was applying to college at the ripe age of 18, my father forbade me from applying to NYC schools, as he thought the city was too dangerous and too overwhelming for my Texas roots. However, he was so excited for me to come this summer and tells me all of the time how wonderful NYC is to live in and how I should soak up every minute of it (I think he has loosened up a bit after his daughter chose to live in the Dominican Republic for a year by herself and recently got back from a trip to Palestine).

Here is a list of leisurely highlights from the summer thus far:

  1. Spending copious amounts of time reading and walking/hiking the little hills in Central Park
  2. Eating lots of yummy things, namely: a Salty Pimp from the Big Gay Ice Cream Store, food truck empanadas, Insomnia and Levain Bakery cookies, Zabar Deli delights, and Café Lalo treats
  3. Hanging with good friends from Texas, Colgate, and Harvard (I’m actually having my annual reunion with my Colgate friends this upcoming weekend in NYC!)
  4. Visiting the MOMA and the Museum of Natural History
  5. Going to see Chicago on Broadway

I have also been busy with non-work worky type things, which have been stimulating and tend to somewhat consume that time post-work every day. I am currently conducting logistical work for the Women’s Policy Journal of Harvard, of which I am the Editor-in-Chief next academic year. Also, my good friend from HKS and I are working on a human trafficking project to engage the private sector in Europe to actively identify victims of sex trafficking. My role as a course assistant is also keeping me busy with some pretty cool reading and prep work! All of these things said, I absolutely love my side projects and would feel somewhat empty without them. I am, however, at age 24, finally figuring out how to appreciate free time and fully engage it. Phew!

Now, drum roll please, I would like to talk a bit more about my projects at Catalyst. I absolutely love having this experience and am learning so many new tidbits and skills along the way. Working in a think tank environment has been valuable, as I am gaining a better sense of what type of job I want post-HKS and post-Ph.D. (in a few years). I appreciate having a tangible link between the research work that Catalyst/I do and the outside policy, corporate, etc., world. Project-wise, I just finished working on a bibliography that outlines current corporate governance literature related to women and diversity on boards and executive teams. I am definitely a nerd that sees research as a big puzzle and gains immense satisfaction from finding all of the relevant puzzle pieces and putting them together in a coherent whole. Thus, the bibliography was an extremely fulfilling project. Also, I am currently developing a research product that synthesizes knowledge regarding the relationship between women’s representation on boards and their representation in the executive ranks, which will be published by Catalyst.

All right, thanks for reading and please leave comments! I am going to post pictures soon, for real. :)

Hi all! I am going to write a post soon with pictures, lots of talk about cookies, and my world at Catalyst, but I would like to share some links first highlighting cool gender news that references Catalyst. People have told me on various occasions that they have heard of Catalyst or that it sounds familiar, but they cannot put their finger on where they heard about Catalyst or in what context.

Here is your chance to impress all of your friends, colleagues, and family members. Please look at these tidbits below that highlight some of Catalyst’s research that has been in the news in the last few weeks:  

The “Queen Bee” Demystified:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-13/queen-bees-mentors-and-the-female-boss-problem

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeswomanfiles/2012/06/12/taking-the-sting-out-of-the-queen-bee-myth/

News Concerning Women on Corporate Boards/in Top Leadership Positions:

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/06/why_boards_need_more_women.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-30/canada-s-banks-miss-profits-overlooking-women-group-says.html (women’s link to improved financial performance)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/on-the-job/four-issues-holding-back-women-in-capital-markets-report/article2446731/

http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2012/05/25/bridging-the-ceo-pay-gap/

Workplace Discrimination:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-06/women-kill-the-buzz-for-guys-who-hire-fire-them.html

Women in Academia:

http://www.su-spectator.com/features/increase-in-female-faculty-1.2876061#.T89aIFKWg1d

 

 

Please comment with any thoughts you may have! Happy reading!

 

 

Week 1!

June 4, 2012

I love New York, yoga, and my job. These are the mantras by which I currently live. Loving NYC and my job come naturally, whereas yoga has been more of a stretch (no pun intended).

I have settled into my humble abode on the UWS (Upper West Side for those of you not nearly as obsessed with abbreviations) and have started navigating the nearby streets. I have tried to conquer the paradox of my living situation. That is, I have to walk up 5 flights of stairs on a daily basis (sometimes 2-3 times) and I meander the streets of my neighborhood at length. And, of course, I nearly pass out in Bikram yoga class when I do muster the courage to go. That being said, there are approximately 58 cookie, ice cream, cream puff, frozen yogurt, bagel, coffee, and brunch places within a 5 minute walk of my apartment where I also spend copious amounts of time. I will keep everyone posted on the daily struggle.

Besides eating lots of cookies, I have managed to do some other fun things in NYC. I have spent hours reading in Central Park (which is only a few minutes by foot from my apartment). I have also seen two good friends from Colgate;  I ventured to Brooklyn to visit one of  them and went to the restaurant from the movie “You’ve Got Mail” to visit the other.

My job at Catalyst is going very well. I really like my coworkers, the beautiful building, and, of course, the work that I am doing. I am working on behalf of Catalyst’s Center for Corporate Governance Research, investigating the challenges women face in gaining full access to corporate boards and top executive positions and the value women add in such roles (See this Marketwatch article for more details about the Center). The job allows me to combine two of my favorite academic endeavors: research and writing. Thus, I am a happy camper.

I will be sure to add photos soon! :)

Welcome!

May 9, 2012

This is my first post of my first blog ever. For all of my talk about loving writing so much, I have somehow never gotten around to making one of these nifty things. Nonetheless, here I am!

First, I’d like to introduce myself and then give a little background about my summer internship. I am currently a Master in Public Policy student at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Much of my previous work and research experience has centered on gender issues. Namely, I have spent the last few years focusing on issues of domestic violence, human trafficking, and gender inequality in the workplace. At the Kennedy School, I have tried to fill my time with activities related to the advancement of women. I am on the leadership team of the Women and Gender Caucus, a primary editor on the Women’s Policy Journal of Harvard, and a mentor scientist at a local school as part of the Science Club for Girls program. I have also worked with the Law and International Development Society at Harvard Law School on a project related to women’s property rights in Laos.

This summer, I will be working at Catalyst in New York City. At Catalyst, I will be conducting and participating in a range of research projects related to corporate governance. Catalyst’s corporate governance research centers on the underrepresentation of women on boards and executive teams of companies and organizations, including the underrepresentation of minority women. Specifically, I will be involved in the writing of research reports, conduction of literature reviews, and designing of various research methodologies related to women’s representation on boards and as officers of companies in the U.S. and globally.

In terms of what I am doing to prepare for my internship, I have spent the last semester researching women’s ambition levels in the workplace and salient external constraints on women’s leadership advancement (as part of an independent research project at the Kennedy School). Through this research, I have been able to better understand the theoretical frameworks surrounding gender gaps and the practical realities facing women in today’s workplace.

I have been an adamant supporter of Catalyst’s work and have immense respect for their research, so it is a dream come true to have the opportunity to work for them. None of this would have been possible without the incredibly generous support of the Roy Family Internship Fund and the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School.

I will be writing more soon about my upcoming move to NYC and internship highlights!

-Court

 

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