D&I in PE: A conversation with Stone Brewing’s CEO and VMG’s Talent Partner
Private Equity

D&I in PE: A conversation with Stone Brewing’s CEO and VMG’s Talent Partner

Maria Stipp, CEO of Stone Brewing, and Cassie Nielsen, a talent partner at VMG Partners, discuss diversity in private equity.
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In this podcast, Heidrick & Struggles’ Amanda Worthington speaks to Maria Stipp, CEO of Stone Brewing, and Cassie Nielsen, a talent partner at VMG Partners, about diversity in private equity. Stipp and Nielsen share their insights on what may hold women back from pursuing careers in private equity, the differences between what they had heard about the industry versus its realities, and the importance of developing diverse talent.

Some questions answered in this episode include the following:

  • (1:17) We've historically seen fewer women interested in pursuing careers in private equity. What are some of the reasons women may not be interested in private equity and what are the different realities you've found in your work?
  • (11:55) What personal leadership skills have you found to be essential both within private equity funds themselves and also within private equity–backed portfolio companies, whether you're a minority or majority investor?
  • (14:19) How do you think about assessing potential leaders and what do you look for when you're interviewing? Are there certain skillsets or attributes?
  • (20:34) What's the single most important way your organization is building on the lessons of the last year?
  • (29:34) How do you manage the work–life balance, or the work–life weave?

Below is a full transcript of the episode, which has been edited for clarity.

Welcome to the Heidrick & Struggles Leadership Podcast. Heidrick is the premier global provider of senior-level executive search and leadership consulting services. Diversity and inclusion, leading through tumultuous times, and building thriving teams and organizations are among the core issues we talk with leaders about every day, including in our podcasts. Thank you for joining the conversation.

Amanda Worthington: I'm Amanda Worthington, partner at Heidrick & Struggles and the America’s regional managing partner of the Consumer Markets Practice. In today’s podcast, I'm talking to Maria Stiff and Cassie Nielsen about diversity in private equity. Maria Stipp is the CEO of Stone Brewing, the largest brewery in Southern California and the ninth-largest craft brewery in the United States based on 2020 sales volume. Cassie Nielsen is a talent partner at VMG Partners, a private equity fund specializing in building iconic consumer brands. VMG currently backs Stone Brewing, among others, and formerly worked with brands such as Spindrift, Sun Bum, Lily’s, Kind, Daily Harvest, and more.

Maria, Cassie, welcome. And thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.

Maria Stipp: Absolutely. Thank you for having us.

Cassie Nielsen: Thanks for having us.

Amanda Worthington: We've historically seen fewer women interested in pursuing careers in private equity and hope that through this discussion we can get both private equity firms and female executives to think differently about the industry. Maria, starting with you, from your experience, what are some of the reasons women may not be interested in private equity and what are the different realities you've found in your work?

Maria Stipp: Well, I'll talk from my personal experience. Before I had exposure to PE firms, what I heard about them many times was that it was a pressure cooker with a very imbalanced work–life, rooms full of bankers, and really no one there to build a brand or maneuver the P&L, and working on really short time tables. They were looking for a return on their investment and I was about brand building. I wasn't sure how brand building and also having teenage twins would fit into that story of pressure cookers and rooms full of bankers—bankers being male.

I will also stress that I just wasn't sure if I would fit in, to be honest, or if I had the skillset. And so I think I probably underplayed my value in that regard until I realized that what PE firms are actually looking for is somebody to grow brands, to come up with creative ways of finding growth, and really unlocking the value of the asset, which fundamentally is building and growing the company. So, we had more in common than I had thought from the outside.

Amanda Worthington: Cassie, from your side and from the private equity perspective, why is it so important for the industry to think differently about diversity?

Cassie Nielsen: Well, I'm grateful that my team has always felt that team organization is one of the most important—if not the most important—things for us to support what our company is doing. So, even before my role existed, that's where they've spent a disproportionate amount of their time. When it comes to diversity, a team can't possibly be as strong as it could be if it is not also diverse. And there's so much research out there about this. Just to point to one, there's a really great McKinsey study focusing on the linear relationship between ethnic diversity and financial performance for every 10% increase in the ethnic diversity of the senior leadership team. There's a full percentage point of profitability gain. We shouldn't have to point to the financial reasons for doing this, but unfortunately that's a big motivator for private equity. And then, if you look at consumers, especially, which is obviously our focus, consumers are changing—almost half of millennials identify as Black, Hispanic, or Asian. I imagine that's even more true for the younger generation. And those groups’ purchasing power has more than quintupled over the last 30 years, outpacing that of the white purchasing power. Those are a few of the reasons why—if we're not thinking about our own portfolios, composition, and the consumers that we're serving—we're just not going to serve them as well.

Amanda Worthington: Absolutely. And frankly, it’s an area that private equity is now just really thinking about and jumping into, with funds like VMG leading the charge. Cassie, how has VMG driving that change? How are you contributing to the overall narrative?

Cassie Nielsen: I think what's important it that it can't just be one thing. The approach has to be a holistic, so I'll just share some examples. One, it starts with our team. We get commentary quite a bit on our website. I think it's very normal, unfortunately, to look at a private equity site and see a lot of old white dudes. But if you look at our website, it looks very good.

I think that's another one—that an under-focused-on part of the ecosystem is actually the LP community. That's a group that's lacking in diversity. There's a lot that we're actually doing to survey our LPs on what they're doing and hold them a little bit accountable, which has come with mixed reviews. I think it's taking courage to do that, but generally it’s been really well received. And then there's a lot that we're doing with our portfolio companies. We're asking them to provide census data around their employee population including ethnicity and gender, and particularly looking at compensation equity in particular, because that's really where wealth creation happens. And then I want to give a shout out to a new program we rolled out this year that a couple of my colleagues have been highlighting and that is focusing on an internship program among all of our portfolio companies that prioritizes those who have historically been excluded. We’re putting them in front of an amazing speaker series and just giving them access to awesome operators.

Amanda Worthington: Sounds like a masterclass in both developing talent and raising them and giving them access to rooms that most don't see until their thirties or forties. That's incredible unique and really impactful. Just thinking about this piece and driving this a little bit further, Maria, how has VMG supported you in improving diversity and what business impact has that had so far?

Maria Stipp: Well, I know she mentioned it, but I have to say again, their website is really unique and it has a point of view. And it's clear what that point of view is and what it stands for, which is this whole notion of diversity and, you know, to make it as obvious both in terms of what they say on their website and also the people, pictures, stories—all of it.

And it's not just the rhetoric; it's when you meet them individually. They are living their values, which doesn't always take place. I think we've been in places where there are a lot of quotes on the wall but the behavior doesn’t align. And I've really seen that [it does align at VMG]. And I really have appreciated it. I would say that how I've seen it come to life is, well, they hired me. I may not look exactly like your stereotypical CEO—whatever that is supposed to be. But I also check a few boxes on the diversity card. I was chosen for Stone Brewing, which in general is very male, of course. But I was chosen for this really cool role, and you know, to me, that's step one.

And then I think the follow on is even more impressive. I was encouraged to think through an additional independent board member. I brought someone forward who was female, and they embraced her. And in that job, she's doing very well. And we really appreciate her.

In addition to that is really my management team. I went into a bit of a fast-paced management team transition and, in the transition, working with Cassie and having the knowledge that she has around talent and throughout all the different types of organizations that VMG works with, I was able not only to craft the type of jobs that I needed but also the type of talent that could come in. And I'm very happy to report that two of my key roles went to women. And that's fantastic. And that's a very different story than maybe what Stone’s was before. So just that additional push, not that I necessarily needed it, but it was certainly thrilling to be supported in that. I really saw it in all of those ways.

And then I think it's the ongoing way that I work with them that's really also showing such support for diversity, because again, it's not just about the financials; it's about the people and it's about celebrating the diversity inside of the teams. I'm very grateful.

Amanda Worthington: Absolutely. Shifting gears a little bit, I want to discuss more about your personal leadership experiences, because certainly both of you have had differentiated leadership experiences. You've come into private equity and you've grown your careers inside of it. Maria, what leadership skills and experiences have you found to be essential as you've navigated being a CEO at a PE-backed company?

Maria Stipp: I'll start with the obvious one. I think anybody would say that you have to start with a clear understanding of the investment thesis. Why did the firm get into the asset to begin with? What are the challenges they may or may not be facing in that investment? And what is their timetable? What are their expectations? And, you know, right at the beginning, VMG was extremely transparent about the history of the investment and what they're looking for so that I could set the right type of expectations for my own performance. Could I imagine being successful inside of that thesis? So that's the starting point. I also would say that ongoing transparency [is essential]. As things evolve, I’m being very transparent with what I'm learning. So, in my first 90 days, as an example, it was cards face up. I worked very, very closely with my counterparts at VMG. As I was unearthing different things, I would just have weekly calls and I would explain, okay, here's what this is about. If you had a question about this particular spend, here's why, and as we started to learn the business together in the weeds, it helped me then helicopter up at that 90-day moment and write that business plan.

And that led us to being on the same page with where that plan came from. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we went on a journey together. And that's an important part of it because, without that, sometimes I think CEOs tend to have an arm’s length [relationship] with PE members, whether that's around financials or people or control or who knows. I found that to work in the inverse. I prefer to pull everyone in and be completely transparent. Be myself. Talk about things that are hard. Talk about things I don't know how to solve, because I find that as you work as a team, everybody works together and promotes each other for that success.

And then finally, I do a lot of listening. I've talked about this before, but I really liked to ask questions to my friends at VMG about different types of experiences, businesses they work with, maybe problems they're solving at other companies. There's a lot of things that if you just say, “Hey, are any of the other CEOs experiencing this thing?”

I mean, during COVID, especially, we all were pulling from each other. Asking, “How are you handling this problem? How are you dealing with the labor shortage?” Asking those kinds of questions and doing a lot of listening and really, [accepting] the vulnerability of not knowing everything has been helpful.

Amanda Worthington: That makes a lot of sense. Listening is often that overlooked skill; when we think about private equity executives, sometimes I think there's this sense that it's all action that's required to be great. Listening requires a pause and a moment of reflection that you don't necessarily think about as action oriented, but it truly is. So, I love that you included that.

Cassie, for you, what personal leadership skills have you found to be essential both within private equity funds themselves and also within private equity–backed portfolio companies, whether you're a minority or majority investor?

Cassie Nielsen: There's two things that come to mind here. The first I will borrow—there's an individual named Joelle Emerson who started a consultancy called Paradigm IQ. I really borrowed from a lot of her work. They think of HR or talent organizations in four buckets. How do you identify, select, develop, and then retain folks in your organization?

And I've come to be at peace with the fact that I may not be able to focus on all of those. With our portfolio company, we spend more of our time on the identification and selection, but if it stopped there, it would all fall. And that's where I'm super grateful, especially for Maria, but for a lot of the leadership teams in our portfolio companies that have a very holistic approach and are really focused on the rest to make sure that we do create the strongest organizations possible.

So, I think that's one. The second is kind of this theme of generosity. All I know is VMG, but from what I hear, especially historically, it's a lot less common for private equity firms to encourage their portfolio companies to support each other or even talk to each other. And that blows my mind. It's one of the most important pieces that we could do—to create a community among our companies.

No matter what role you're in—CEO, head of supply chain, leading social media—the job is lonely when you're at one of these companies and you're constantly looking for ways to cut corners and support each other and get access to the best resources. And why wouldn't they do that with each other? We get feedback that it's one of the most rewarding parts of the job when working in one of our companies, and I get to learn a lot from them through that exposure. I think it just helps all of us grow more rapidly and it makes our businesses more successful.

Amanda Worthington: I love that theme. And especially when you think about how you accelerate transformation for smaller cap companies that are scaling fast and that might have small and nimble teams—the idea that you crowdsource ideas among your really powerful brands—to your point, whether it's loneliness or the lack of loneliness driving that, or performance driving that, it's an awesome way to think about how you can get more out of some of these fantastic brands that you all are known for investing in.

Following up on that a little bit more, Cassie, how do you think about assessing potential leaders and what do you look for when you're interviewing, whether it's a CEO of a portfolio company or someone who's going to come in as a C-suite member or C-minus-one. What do you look for? Are there certain skillsets or attributes to that person?

Cassie Nielsen: There's art and science. And I do think a lot of what we do is science. I don't think there's necessarily anything particularly unique about our process. We're really thoughtful about the scorecard, not just the job description—but specifically in the next 6 to 12 months, what will this person have to accomplish? That exercise is actually really hard—aligning on the most important priorities before you can come to research is really difficult. And I think my colleagues and I play an important role in this process, both in attracting amazing folks and also assessing them. We talk a lot about how interviewing is a skill that's rarely taught but really hard to master. I think we're kind of all on that journey and learning together how we can constantly be better at this.

I think that's one, but there's other things that I think just make folks at VMG specifically really excel. Part of it is a little bit around ego—sounds, cliché, I'm sure every investor feels that way, but I just think the humans that we work with are just phenomenal people all around and care deeply about the human element of what we're all doing. I’m probably pretty competitive, but in a way that means everybody is winning together. And there's just that softer side that’s hard to put a finger on, but Marie, I can't imagine a person that a epitomizes that more than you.

Maria Stipp: Wow. Thank you. I don't what to say.

Amanda Worthington: I think you're blushing Maria, but I wouldn't hesitate to agree with Cassie.

How do we get more women interested in private equity earlier in their careers? Whether it be on the fund side, as investment professionals or operating talent or within portfolio companies themselves.

Maria Stipp: It would be great to try to dispel some of these myths, assuming that they're myths. There may not be myths for no good reason, let’s put it that way. But I would really like to put out a call to action to the firms out there that may not feel like there is a change that needs to happen. I would tell you that in my experience (I won't say who it is) I have had situations when people were looking for talent, but if you didn't have very specific experience and you weren't male and the board members weren't “comfortable,” [they wouldn’t hire you.] It really does limit the type of people that you can choose from. And, you know, half the population is women.

You know, you’ve got a lot of things to choose from. Spread your wings and go for it once in a while, I would say. Try to take one step away from the “traditional,” because I do think that will open the door for a lot more people. I would also say that the idea of this pressure cooker room of bankers, this cutthroat type of mentality—women, quite frankly, especially mothers—are really stretched for their time. They need some flexibility. They can't do 15-hour days—and by the way, it doesn't need to be 15-hour days as we start to find ways of being flexible with our workforces. We'll get the best out of people if we allow them to have their best selves at work. I can't stress that enough.

And I would love for PE firms to hire more women so that their websites become a bit more welcoming or just reflective maybe of the other population that could be coming their way that might not feel like they could fit in the way they would normally by seeing pictures and hearing those stories.

Cassie Nielsen: I like that you use demystifying. It came to mind for me too. Generally speaking, recruiters take a very transactional approach. You can feel it as a candidate. You can feel when you don't fit us back, or if you're not interested, see how quickly you're dismissed.

And I think, you know, it's important to recognize that this is fun for me because I work with the coolest folks in the industry and their kindness to share their story with me and open up, I don't take that for granted. And maybe that means we work together right away, the first role we ever talked about, but I recognize that it probably is more likely we may never work together or it might take years before we figure out the right thing. It's still equally important that I invest in them and share as much as possible about how I perceive this industry works and how we do it a little bit differently. I'd also like to see this as very tactical, I'd like to see more recruiters start every single search with a pipeline of who they might consider that is a woman, that is historically excluded because of their ethnicity, that identifies as LGBTQ, and I would put veterans and disabled people in that category as well. I think you'd be surprised by what the pipeline looks like. And if you're struggling, I think that means you've got to be even more intentional about how you're getting to know folks in the industry. It's hard, but it's like a daily thing you have to do.

Amanda Worthington: To your point, Cassie, if you don't have real and meaningful relationships, and if you haven't taken the time to really get to know people in their stories, it is hard to do a very fast, last-second search. And every time you try to do it fast, without those real relationships, you'll never have true representation of historically excluded groups. You just can't. And so, it's going to take more time and care, and a more thoughtful approach that's less analog, to get it done. It will take time if it's not invested in today. And I'd argue that VMG is known as a purveyor of interesting talent from different backgrounds. I think there will be funds who don't address this for years, who will wake up one day and realize that because they've never tried hard with themselves, they're not going to attract the talent they want ultimately in their portfolio companies either. So I love hearing what you're saying and I couldn't agree more.

As we bring this conversation to a close, I want to ask you one last question: what's the single most important way your organization is building on the lessons of the last year? Or maybe it's more than just one way. We've had a global pandemic. We've had social justice movements. We've had shifting work environments. What lessons are you taking to heart and how are you building on them?

Maria Stipp: First off, I want to say that as diverse as I ever thought I was, I've learned so much in this last year and a half. Part of it is just personalizing it and realizing that I myself need to come a long way and then really raising my hand to my teams and the whole organization to use this as a call to action to learn, to listen, and then learn from the things we don't know and give a microphone to people in order for them to be able to speak up and tell us what we need to learn.

We had this situation that recently happened in craft beer, where a woman on Instagram wrote a story about how she was harassed in the beer industry, and it was particular to craft beer. And with that one post, a sea change happened. It was post after post after post of all these women and their stories. And it was very hard to read, of course. There were hundreds of them, and we addressed it at our town halls. We've created the group Women of Stone just to have a forum for us to talk and to air it out and ask for help or tips if needed. If things are hard in their work teams, they can raise their hand in a safe environment. There’s even an anonymous number to call if they're not comfortable talking to somebody at Stone, because some people just aren't, you know, but they want someone to talk to, so you’ve got to offer that up.

Before, we didn't have these tools in our toolbox until all of this took place. And so, to me, it's an ongoing conversation. It's not a point in time. It's not just this one incidence. I think it's a recognition that this is a change moment and, you know, we need to use it for good and find a way to continue to iterate on that into the future rather than just do a one and done. That's how I see it.

Cassie Nielsen: Early pandemic last year, after the murder of George Floyd, one of our partners, Aleesa Williams, who is a Black woman, was in Los Angeles. And when the protests were happening, there was a curfew. She actually was arrested a block outside of her house, trying to get home. And the first thing she did was call our general partners. That alone, I think is an important validation that we're doing something right because we have a culture where we can talk about these things. But then they asked her if she thought we'd feel comfortable telling that story to our entire company and what came out of that was a lot of tears, just a lot of honesty, and a lot of action as well.

And the thing that just comes to mind is that the lesson there is courage. I think we could have gone about our week and not given that platform to her or to others to brainstorm ideas. Same with Maria. I think the majority of breweries didn't have the courage to have that type of conversation. You can't control what would come out of it. There might not be answers and it can be really hard to listen to. So, there's going to be more social injustice moments in the future. And I just encourage companies to continue to have the courage, whatever that means at that time, to face it.
Maria Stipp: I mean, I've worked for companies—good, better and different, mostly bad—that, you know, just want to create a PR statement to stop the conversation. I think the trickier thing to do is to create an internal conversation that continues so that you're building a safe work environment. We're responsible for that.

Amanda Worthington: Maria, you shared with me one time that coming off of your Lagunitas sale to Heineken you had a lot of phone calls. A lot of people like me were calling you, a lot of funds were asking you to come on board after such a successful deal. You had your pick of where you could have gone. I think it's a real testament to what top talent can do with their careers—how you pick, where you go next. Can you tell us about how you decided to go with VMG and how you thought about joining them?

Maria Stipp: Yeah. So I'll start with the fact that it was in the middle of the pandemic. I’m a lover of work and to have the pandemic happen, I think, sprinkled a little panic in all of us, like, “Holy cow, you know, am I going to find a job? What's going to happen?” So I think there was a little bit of that pressing on my shoulders, but then every day I had to walk myself into reality, which was silly. That was just my own inner voices. But I remember, yes, getting calls about roles and reading job specs and thinking, could I do that? Maybe I could write, would I enjoy that? I'm not sure. Is this the shoe that fits? And that's where it started to pinch—I wasn't finding exactly the right thing in the more traditional way that I would look for a job in the past. And so, a wake-up call happened one day and I thought, you know, I'm going to just call my network. I'm going to call the trusted people that I have always had throughout my career that have always been references, that know me the best. And I'm going to ask them what they think and get some advice about what to do. Because sometimes when you listen to what other people think you're good at, you have to start really putting that into your brain and think, oh, okay, well maybe I need to really reconsider something here.

And then one of my dearest and closest people in my network said, “Well, you just spent five years learning this really cool craft beer industry. Why are you not thinking about that more?” And this was well before I knew about the job at Stone and I thought, that's really interesting. And he said, “Do you have a non-compete?” And I said no, and that that was a good idea and I’d keep that in mind. Then cut to another person saying, “Why don't you take your career into your own hands? Stop taking all these random phone calls for one moment. Put the phone down. Take a piece of paper, write down what you really are good at and what you think you can do next that you would thoroughly enjoy. And then put that into words and then also ask your network who in the world you should be talking to about your skills.” And when I started asking that question, VMG came right up. I mean, they were probably within one or two of the top 10 that I heard about over and over again. And it was about the people.

It was about how they work, what their values are, and how they prioritize. It's about how they think about how board meetings would be run, how the partners treat you. I mean, it was just every corner case that I would possibly worry about. So, I wrote it down and I went on and I contacted the very person I was told to reach out to on LinkedIn, by myself. Like, first time I've ever done that, with my little “Hi, I'm Maria.” And within five minutes, John Marshall called me and it was like rolling downhill from there. We immediately understood each other. We got along fantastically. I work with him today and I’ve got to say, he's the dearest person. And I'm very grateful to have had that fortune of connecting with him.

Cassie Nielsen: Yeah, John is amazing. Some of what happened behind the scenes, when that happened, John immediately told me, and we got so excited. They're like, this doesn't happen. This is incredible. And I was actually spending some time getting to know a lot of the operators in the beer space. And, it’s so funny, we were thinking through a marketing role and thinking through a sales role, so I actually started reaching out to a lot of Maria's team. Who knows how it would have all worked out, but I'm keeping in the back of my mind, I think John's gonna love this conversation, and he absolutely did. I’m, you know, lining up all these people that worked for her. We asked them questions like, who’s been the most transformational person you've worked for? Talk to me a little bit about some of the things that happened at Stone, and it was just so clear how much they were so grateful for Maria’s leadership, including some of the things that she bravely pioneered like a joint venture in cannabis, or taking a brewery who had never been in aluminum cans and doing it for the first time and having a lot of fun with it—these themes were just constant. That is, I think one of the best things you could ask for—not only do you love getting to meet the person, but everyone's surrounding them feels the same way. 

Maria Stipp: I have to add to that because it wasn't just me. My teams were incredible and are incredible. And I've worked with founders that are just incredibly brilliant, that really pushed my own boundaries of creativity. I think if it wasn't for those sharp-edged founders, God love them, I never would have sharpened my own skills and it's not always easy, but it's always a value.

Amanda Worthington: I love that story. Thanks, Maria. Whether you're a woman or not. If you have children or you're at a certain point in your life, you might think you couldn't possibly do something in private equity, unless you gave up on those dreams. To your point, Cassie, I call a lot of candidates. And so much of the conversations I have with candidates who were underrepresented is really dispelling some of those myths, to help them understand that they too can have a place in private equity. So, Maria and Cassie, how do you manage the work–life balance, or the work–life weave?

Maria Stipp: Let's put it this way. I had twins at 39 years old. That was not the plan, by the way. And I remember my doctor saying, “Welcome to a new world of not being in control,” which I didn't like at all. So there was that. And I remember thinking, I don't know how I'm going to do it. I was at Activision at the time and I was working nonstop. And I remember thinking, how's this going to go? And I would say, even today, my kids are 15, they're twins and they're crazy. And all kinds of things happen all the time. And balancing that through the years has definitely created its challenges. No lie. You can't say you can have it all. I don't necessarily believe that. I've missed a lot of basketball. I've missed a lot of moments with my kids over the years. But all three of us have come to the realization—and kids are amazing with this—is how do you have quality time? Put the phone down, stop getting on the computer every 15 seconds, and really listen and be with them. I found that quality time with my kids is worth way more. And I would also say that kids are more adaptable than you think. So, give them a lot of credit for the things that they understand, and they get a lot out of seeing you work hard. I'm just here to say they're proud of you for going to work and doing your thing and being successful. Show them how to do it and they'll do it.

And then I guess the other thing I'll say is I couldn't do it without Marlo here at home, helping me. I'm just not going to lie. You gotta do it. You gotta have a team. You gotta have a community because you can't do it all. And you're gonna have to rely on somebody to help you once in a while—or all the time, as it stands in my house. Make sure to be honest about that.

Cassie Nielsen: All I will add is that I am so much more than just the talent partner in private equity, I'd like to think. And you have to recognize that all of the identities that people have make them better at their day job. So if you don't create space for them to have all of those other identities, you're missing out on probably all those other lessons and what makes them incredible and special and awesome.

I don't think there's a silver bullet for how you create space for them to do that. I do think it's being really intentional about parental care, around benefits, around culture, around a lot of things, but it's just the recognition that you should be able to bring your whole self to work. And that's talking about what you did on the weekend and the people you spend your life with. All of those things.
Amanda Worthington: Cheers that, preferably with a Stone Brewing IPA. Thank you so much to both of you for contributing to this. There's so much passion in this, so thank you for being a part of this today.

Maria Stipp: Thank you, Amanda. Cheers everybody!

Thanks for listening to the Heidrick & Struggles Leadership Podcast. To make sure you don’t miss more future-shaping ideas and conversations, please subscribe to our channel on the podcast app. And if you’re listening via LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube, why not share this with your connections? Until next time. 

About the interviewer

Amanda Worthington (aworthington@heidrick.com) is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Chicago office and regional managing partner of the Consumer Markets Practice.

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