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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Death of a woman CEO

In case you missed it, The Miami Herald ran an obituary on the death of Cinda Hallman. I always found her story a sad tale about Corporate America and work/life balance. Hallman gave work her all. She lived and breathed work and proved herself a strong leader. She accomplished what only a handful of women have been able to do -- become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Hallman looked the part of a CEO and advocated for the advancement of women. Yet, she had little balance in her life -- no significant other, no children. She was hard at work leading Spherion to new heights and holding a board seat at Toys R Us when one day she fainted at work and had to be taken away in an ambulance.

It turned out, she had a brain tumor. (Although her exact illness was never publicly disclosed) Before long, Spherion replaced her with a qualified man. Corporate boards no longer had interest in Hallman because her thinking was affected by her illness. And so, on this past Christmas Eve, Hallman passed away at age 63. It must have been difficult for Hallman at the end of her life. Work friends are quick to move on. I had heard she tried to reenter her corporate circles but was never really accepted again. I had wanted to interview Hallman about her life, her success, her regrets but I never got around it. I'm left to wonder what she would say about her choices in life. I'm left thinking about her as I make my choices.


Anonymous Lily said...

Although I'm sure she was happy that to she was a role model who inspired many women and broke barriers in the corporte world, to some extent she had to have missed sharing her success with friends and family.

I consider myself a modern, young woman who wants to succeed in the corporate world. However, my success wouldn't mean as much to me without the support from family and friends.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Cindy Goodman said...

Lily, I feel the same way. Cindy

11:31 AM  
Blogger AGB said...

Wow. I will save this story and refer to it everytime I feel the slightest bit sad that I chose my kids over my career. I knew in my heart that it was the right thing to do but, being a competitor, it was hard. Very sad story.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it have been sad if she had chosen to devote herself to a family and never achieved anything in the business world?

I know we're a social species and most of us are driven by human connection, but clearly she was driven (or at least more driven) by something else. I personally wouldn't make such choices, but who's to say that her's are sad simply b/c they're hard to identify with?

12:21 PM  

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