March 24, 2014

By Jeff Macke 

Danielle Hughes is bossy.


She’s also the CEO and founder of Divine Capital Markets, an Institutional Broker Dealer providing research and investment banking services to families, institutions and corporations. Divine is a WBENCcertified "Woman-Owned" firm particularly focused on the needs of women-led business.

Hughes is among many smart, successful women who find the Ban Bossy campaign a misguided waste of energy. In the attached video Hughes takes issue with the notion that the term “bossy” negatively impacts girls more than boys. If anything she thinks being called bossy contributed to her success. “I believe it helped me get over myself and find another way to communicate.”

The fundamental flaw in the campaign to eliminate “bossy” runs deeper than the false assertion that the word impacts girls more than boys. Ban Bossy’s underlying problem is that the premise is wrong. “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’”

Kids who assert themselves inappropriately are called brats. Children are leaders if others follow them and bossy if they push other kids around inappropriately. Nothing about any of these terms is gender specific. Bossy is a gender-neutral adjective. In contrast the world is stubbornly aware of gender despite the best-misguided efforts of the “Free to Be You and Me” generation.

“I think that women have a different way of managing people,” says Hughes, “Girls and boys have a different way of managing and they have to learn their way.”

Bossy is a playground word. Having a debate over its use is beneath discussion among grown ups. That being the case Hughes has a suggestion for kids who get their feelings dented by words. “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me. That’s what I teach my kids.”

There isn't a pro-Bossy resistance group to stand in Sheryl Sandberg's way. The male power structure seldom uses the word. If Bossy is regarded as sexist it will quickly disappear from acceptable lexicon and never be heard in polite company again.

All of which misses the point. There's a word that starts with B, is aimed exclusively at women and is tossed around freely among males clinging to what's left of their power monopoly. This 'B word' should be abolished post-haste and be considered as unacceptable as other social pejorative anachronisms.

Before we get too societally thrilled about eliminating 'bossy,' we should ask why there isn't a corporate boss with courage to start a debate over the real sexist B-word.

March 20, 2014

 

By Jeff Macke

Since the 2008 meltdown corporate America has taken advantage of the Federal Reserve's largesse and a recovering economy to rebuild their balance sheet liquidity to record levels. Unfortunately they've been spending that windfall on dividends and buybacks as opposed to investing in infrastructure for the long term. As a result corporate buybacks and stock prices are at record levels while the overall economy remains stagnant.

According to a survey of CEOs at the Business Roundtable, companies are finally starting to invest again. 50% of corporate CEOs say they plan to increase capital spending in the next 6 months, up from just 39% in last quarter’s survey.

In the attached video Danielle Hughes of Divine Capital says the trend is real. “What we’ve been watching is cap-ex growth. That’s something that’s starting to happen with all the cash that these big corporations have. We like to see that because it means they’re investing in the future growth of the company.”

The key word is “growth.” Hughes says companies that have spent the last half decade conserving cash and shuffling their balance sheets are once again expanding. It creates a best of both worlds opportunity to get long hybrid value blue chips with a growth kicker.

She likes the industrial and energy sectors but one of her favorite ideas is UPS (UPS). Big brown and its competitor FedEx (FDX) are coming off terrible quarters but the stock market is giving them a pass. FedEx reported a soft quarter this morning yet the stock is higher. That’s solid evidence that the stock market is looking to the future.

Whether investors think UPS can realize its growth dreams the stock has obvious support despite negative news flow. That makes stocks like UPS with a 2.8% yield a solid investment for those looking to play a potential rise in capital spending.

Efficiency 3.0