In this issue
Picture the scene. It's 1994, shortly after Susan B. Lewis succeeded her father as president of Beam Construction Company, a $30 million contractor in Cherryville, N.C. In the girls' bathroom at a local high school, 33-year-old Lewis huddles with three grizzled male subcontractors over specs for connecting the school's new second floor to the existing building. Armed only with her MBA and her father's genes, Lewis chews out the mechanical contractor for his failure to adhere to the construction schedule.
“On Saturday my boss told me not to extend credit to a particular customer because he had a bad history with us. On Monday I turned the customer down for credit, and he complained to my boss. My boss got furious and burst into a meeting I was conducting. In front of my subordinates, he called me stupid and incompetent and threatened to fire me the next time I acted as if I were an owner. It was humiliating.”
The quotes are from term papers in courses in entrepreneurship and family business, slightly altered only to protect the privacy of the students. (The comments in italics are my own.)
“My achievements pail before my late grandfather's.” (There's more than wan way to urn respect.)
“Her mentorship was a life-savor.” (Life is a taste; may you pass it.)
“I made a pain staking effort to fit in.” (Take that, Dracula!)