|| Print ||
|Articles - November/December 2013|
|Monday, October 28, 2013|
Page 1 of 5
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS
When Sabrina Parsons was growing up, she, her brother and their boy cousins would roam their grandmother’s property in Cuernavaca, outside Mexico City, hunting scorpions and snakes. Parsons lived in Mexico until she was 7, then went back every summer after moving to Palo Alto. As a child, it was her responsibility to make sure the gaggle of children returned home safely. One afternoon, when cousin Rodrigo found a hanging wasp nest and decided to see what would happen if he poked it with a stick, it was Parsons who ordered two boys to run to the house for help and told Rodrigo to roll on the ground to stop the wasps from stinging.
In her corner office on a Monday morning, wearing a pink-striped shirt, blue jeans and blue plastic high-heeled sandals, Sabrina Parsons does not look like a self-described tomboy. But Parsons, now CEO of one of Eugene’s fastest-growing tech companies, is still very much in charge. And still surrounded by men.
A Hispanic woman in a leadership position in a cutting-edge industry, Parsons is making things happen. A $10 million company today, Palo Alto Software projects annual earnings of $35 million within the next three years. The fifth-floor offices in the renovated Broadway Commerce Center in the heart of Eugene’s downtown hum with excitement. The products offered by Palo Alto Software may not be the most electrifying (Parsons says some people roll their eyes at business-planning software), but this fall the company has attracted major investors. Palo Alto’s continued success — their software is nationally recognized as the leading business-planning tool for entrepreneurs — is inspiring other tech companies to move to Eugene.
Parsons is a sign of the rapidly growing and evolving tech industry in Oregon and nationwide. But if she is part of a local and national zeitgeist, it’s also because she is helping shape a national dialogue about high-level female professionals, especially those working in traditionally male-dominated fields such as the tech industry. At a time when Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg exhorts America’s professional women to lean into their careers, take risks and stay in the workplace even while starting families, Parsons champions a different attitude for businesswomen.
Instead of keeping her parenting in the background, she identifies herself as a “Mommy CEO” on her blog for Forbes, unabashedly arguing that women need to be able to integrate parenting into their work life and bring their babies to work without raising eyebrows. Parsons shares these and other opinions about 21st-century corporate culture freely: business needs to be more child-friendly; risk-taking and innovation feed success; and accomplishments are more important than face time.
That balance makes Parsons something of a paradigm for other women in the industry. “She’s a source of inspiration for women who are looking to pursue careers in technology,” says Skip Newberry, president of the Technology Association of Oregon. Parsons’ unapologetic embrace of life-work balance enhances her effectiveness, combining entrepreneurial moxie with the know-how and people skills a CEO needs, says Caroline Cummings, vice president of business development, who herself started two companies before joining Palo Alto Software’s management team.
“She’s a great leader,” Cummings says. “Compassionate but no bullshit.”
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE
Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.
Monday, November 10, 2014
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.
|A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy|
|Woman of Steel|
|Kill the Meeting|
|Obama to announce end of Cuba isolation|
|Energy prices drop cost of living in US by most since 2008|
|Russia's attempt to slow ruble freefall fails|
|AAA: Holiday travel could set record this year|
|Sub-$2 gas prevalent across US|
|Group buys PetSmart for $8.3B|
|Oil prices could continue to plummet|
Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
Get ready for two days of special events produced with the EPA, Portland Timbers and ISOS before and after the GoGreen Conference on October 16.
How sports tourism is driving economic growth and making cities across Oregon a better place to live.
Port of Morrow's business-ready attitude has a surprising global impact.
Through its support of the arts, the Cultural Trust is strengthening the business community.
Heed the morals of these seminal holiday stories in your everyday life.
Amy will practice in the firm's Business, Real Estate, and Tax practice groups.
While the Bend City Council ultimately upheld the approval which enables OSU-Cascades to move forward with the 10 acre site, it did also thoughtfully consider the nature of its code requirements, resident concerns and OSU-Cascade’s efforts and suggestions and crafted conditions of approval to address potential impacts of the site in the area.