“What is your “inclusiveness score” for this week? This question is asked often to leaders by management guru, Tom Peters. Even more interesting is Peter’s next question: “Did you go way out of your way to keep everybody in the loop?”
On any given day, how far does the average person go out of her or his way to keep others in the loop? “You will never see as many great women investors or traders as men. Period. End of story.” These are remarks that were made by hedge fund owner and trader, Paul Tudor Jones, at a University of Virginia spring investing symposium on April 26th. [Ref 1] Needless to say these and other remarks made by Tudor Jones that day have gone viral. Some are debating if Tudor Jones’ comments are sexist, or whether he was just being truthful in stating the facts. My question to Mr. Jones is what has he and others in the investment management field done to include more women?
My first thought was, “so how did he land on this one? And on a university campus?” As I dug deeper for answers, I discovered that Mr. Jones was responding to a question about why only “rich, middle aged, white men” were sitting on a panel about “views from investment masters“. Two other hedge fund gurus, Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, and John Griffin of Blue Ridge Capital, joined Jones on stage with two other panelists, perhaps representatives from the university. Both declined to respond to the question or Jones’ remarks, although Griffin commended Tudor Jones for his candor.
Had Tudor Jones ended his remarks about women with just the statement above, perhaps the fire behind his comments would never have ignited. However, he went on to say, “Children are the ultimate career killer for female traders. As soon as that baby’s lips touch that girl’s bosom, forget it. Every single investment idea. Every desire to understand what’s going to make this go up or go down is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience, which a man will never share about a mode of connection between that mother and baby. But women who want to get married and not have children could consider a career as a hedge fund manager.” [Ref 1]
Jones’ remarks about women’s careers being impacted by motherhood, is attributed to circumstances that befell two women that he worked with in the late 1970s according to a source at Reuters. [Ref 2] Would someone let Tudor Jones in on a little secret? The work place, and women’s roles in the workplace have changed drastically over the last 30 years. The state of the family has also evolved over the last 30+ years.
Tudor Jones’ comments lit a fire…one so hot that the Washington Post requested a copy of the video of this discussion under the Freedom of Information Act. He apparently was going for a double-header that day in offending both sexes with his comment about divorced men. He went on to say, “Men with children can be good money managers, but divorce could hurt their ability to focus. I redeem my money from male managers as soon as he learns that they are going through a divorce. “You can automatically subtract 10% to 20% from any manager when he is going through a divorce.” [Ref 1]
So, let me see if I understand Jones’ position(s):
– Only women without children are successful in the hedge fund trading business.
– Men who are divorced or undergoing a divorce lose focus on their work leading to losses or missed opportunities.
– The investment management business requires a lot of time, dedication, and focus.
While these may have been off-the-cuff remarks by Mr. Jones, one thing that is clear is that his comments are not representative of the work force today. Women get married, some stay single, and both groups have or don’t have children. No differently, men and women divorce every day. Guess what Mr. Jones? Regardless of marital or dependent child status, these folks go to work everyday. Some are great employees, and some are not great employees and their marital status or dependent status has little to do with that.
Here’s the rub: being married, divorced, or going thru a divorce, having children or not having children – these are just a few problems that employees have to address over their professional career. Illness or death of any family member can arise at anytime, elder care issues have become a growing nightmare for seasoned employees, and alcohol and substance abuse also surface at any age and across both genders for the employee and his or her family members. In all of his remarks, what came thru to me was the need for an employee in this business to be very detailed oriented and focused. Focused! Focused! Focused! Distractions as well as sloppy mistakes can be career killers. The reality is that distractions are one of those things that everyone must address at varying stages in life and in their careers. Today’s work place is ripe with distractions!
For all of the controversy that his remarks have created, Jones issued an apology and said that his “off the cuff remarks” were really in reference to global traders, who are on call all the time. There was no mention of how Tudor Investments or other firms assist employees, regardless of gender or marital status, in being better workers on and off the job.
As the father of four children, three of whom are female, he added, “I believe that great success is possible in any field — from music to mathematics to macro trading — as long as a woman or man has the skill, passion, and repetitions to work through the inevitable life events that arise along the way.” [Ref 3] Very true Tudor Jones, very true!
And there you have it – three times is a charm. It took this husband, father, philanthropist, and billionaire hedge fund manager a while for his inclusiveness score to rise above zero! Tudor Jones made this post and others possible along with a barrage of media attention by not going out of his way – not even just a little bit – to be inclusive of women, single dads, and others whose priorities, schedules, and family environments may look different than his.
How far out of your way have you gone this week to make someone feel included?
1. Paul Tudor Jones: In macro trading, babies are a ‘killer’ to a woman’s focus, Jenna Johnson, May 23, 2013, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-05-23/local/39465926_1_macro-two-women-successful-traders
2. Matriarchy, patriarchy and the Masters of the Universe, Chrystia Freeland, New York, May 30, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/30/us-column-freeland-idUSBRE94T0Z520130530
3. Paul Tudor Jones and His ‘Careless’ Remarks About Women, By David Benoit and Steven Russolillo, May 24, 2013,