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Start The Startup™

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Be Bossy or Be A Good Boss?


“I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

My otherwise amazing 8 year old daughter is, well, bossy.  Playdates come to a screeching halt when her friend (or brother) complains, “She’s telling everyone what to do and when she doesn’t get her way she just yells!”  She’s creative, talented, and oh-so funny, but when the group wants to do one thing, and she wants to do another, she loses it.  We’ve been working on better leadership skills.  Being a leader doesn’t involve talking down to people.  She is finding out first-hand that in group situations, you usually get more flies with honey than vinegar.  Bossy never worked for me (I tried).  And, we tend not to like it in others.   I love Lean In and its message to girls about empowerment.  But I have the opposite view on encouraging “bossy” in girls (or boys).  When I think about the great bosses I’ve had (male and female), bossy is never is at the top of the list.  The most effective male bosses I’ve had possess the traits I admire in dads:  no-nonsense, fair, honest, charismatic.  The most effective female bosses I’ve encountered have the traits I admire in good moms:   strong, empathetic, nurturing, motivating.  My daughter will do great in life, but the reality is she will be working for someone long before she’s a boss or a mom.  I’d rather teach her to lead by example.




Cathy Bennett is an entrepreneur, product launch veteran, and avid coffee drinker from the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Communications and earned her MBA in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame. After 15 years in corporate marketing, Cathy launched her own startup in 2007. Despite being a small-new-online-bootstrapped company, Cathy took an aggressive, hands-on approach telling the story of her company. It was compelling enough to get the attention of the Today Show, Martha Stewart, Parents’ Magazine,, Daily Candy, and PC Magazine, amongst others. Her use of social media was featured by Facebook Corporate as a “Best Practice” for its engaging use of Facebook pages. She sold her company in 2011, joing on to leading new initiatives in product launch, PR and social media for the parent company’s New York-based operation. Before her startup, Cathy was involved with corporate product launches for large companies like Ford (U.S. Launch Manager for Jaguar and Land Rover brands), Nissan (Product Manager for Infiniti’s QX4 and I30), and spearheaded Lincoln’s audio licensing partnership with THX/Lucasfilm. Cathy started Start The Startup™ to share her best practices in product launch and PR for small startups looking to attract some high quality attention.

2 Responses

  1. Cathy Bennett says

    agree! :)

  2. greg stoddard says

    Well said… too much is made of today’s version of bossiness (Machiavelian meets Steve Jobs meets Sheryl Sanberg). Nice guys (and girls) win too.