I am a former entrepreneur and CEO. In 1988 I started M Squared, an innovative human capital company that created a network of independent consultants and matched them to project and interim assignments. M Squared was so ahead of its time, Tom Peters included us in his book , Liberation Management. We were lucky to be based in San Francisco, since businesses here were a bit more open to a totally new work model.
I say us because I had two great partners along the way. My co-founder was Paula Reynolds, a Stanford MBA, who brought strategic thinking, irreverence, empathy and impetuosity to everything she did. We shared everything including maternity clothes, since during the first 6 years we each had 2 more children. Our third pregnancies converged and we delivered a week apart, Perhaps our worst publicity photo ever, was in Fortune Magazine in June 1992 when both of us were 8 months pregnant. Paula got the raw end of the deal though, since she was sitting down.
Claire McAuliffe joined three years later as our sales maven, able to sell the proverbial ice to Eskimos or sand to Arabs. (I never really noticed that those two saying could be politically incorrect. Oh well, you get the point…) The three of us built a tremendous team of people who were passionate about the way we were empowering people to work in a way that suited their lives.
The company thrived. We were on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing companies in America three times. We expanded to Los Angeles, sent consultants abroad on projects, and started a second company, Collabrus Inc., to deal with the employment risk of independent consultants. In 1999, we sold the firm to a South African public company, Educor, which later became Logical Options and then later The kelley Group…but that’s another post…
In 2000, I published a book about the business, A New Brand of Expertise: How Independent Consultant and Free Agents are Changing the World of Work. We opened a Boston office and then had to retrench after the tech wreck of 2001. I brought the business back to profitability before retiring ( the first time) in 2005. I remained a board member and in 2009, when the then incumbent CEO left, I stepped in as the interim CEO. My 2 month gig turned into a year. In 2010, I retired again.
In my retirement, I have been active on boards. Besides the M Squared board, where I served until 2013 when the South African’s sold the business, I have also been a Director of CPP, Inc., the owners of the Meyers Briggs Type Instrument (MBTI). I am currently the chair of the audit committee. On the not for profit side, I am currently the Chair of ReSurge International, a humanitarian NGO; we send reconstructive plastic surgeons to help the poor around the world and build medical capacity where we go through our Global Training Program. It has been a great learning experience and a humbling one as well. Additionally I have served on the Board of the Hamilton Family Center and the American Liver Foundation.
I also taught for 7 years in the business school of the University of San Francisco. Although not an HR Manager by training, I had interviewed, hired and fired so many that I felt as though I had an honorary degree. Additionally, I had my own specialty in employment law around independent contractor issues, payroll and wage and hour regulations. My goal, as I told my students, was for them to avoid wrongful terminations, manage their careers and become excellent employees. I also taught Management Communications to MBAs in the weekend program, gaining new respect for those who secure their degrees while working full time.
I am also a Director at the Alliance of CEOs where I work with a group of leaders facilitating peer exchange.This leverages my almost 25 years in peer exchange groups. I was a founding member fo the Young Entrepreneurs Chapter in San Francisco. I then went on to the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and it alumni group, YPO Gold.In YPO Gold I have been an active Board member, serving as Chapter Chair, Vice Chair, Learning Chair and Mentor Chair.
I also manage a 3-unit apartment building which we bought with the hopes of getting our kids back to San Francisco. I coordinated the renovation of two units. There is one unit left to go…
In my spare time I love to golf, an addiction my husband is thrilled to have inspired. I have three amazing kids (hence the 3 units), a wonderful family and great friends.And then there is the dog…