If North Shore Women Were In Charge, We Would Have No Financial Crisis

Patsy PTA earned her MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, where she met her husband, Ted Trader.

She works part-time as she raises their three children, and runs their household within budget and without full-time help. She also volunteers wherever she sees need, including as a Scout Leader, Sunday School teacher and PTA board member.

Until recently, Ted was too busy trading derivatives and running an investment bank division to help much with domestic responsibilities. Now he’s too busy wallowing in self-pity.

If only Patsy, and the other amazing women who live on the North Shore, had been in charge of our financial system instead of Ted and his cohorts, our country wouldn’t be in such a crisis!

These women wouldn’t have followed the same myopic course chosen by the primarily-male captains of finance and government who helped cripple our economy—with debt, debt and more debt, most of which they didn’t understand.

Would they risk their family or PTA budget on too much debt? Not a chance. These women avoid it like the plague and make a little money go a long way. Corporations and our government would be far stronger now had they followed family and PTA budgeting practices.

North Shore women wouldn’t accept outrageous bonuses if they were hobbling the institution that they served. In fact, their modus operandi is the polar opposite. They spend much of their days working hard, for no pay, to make life better for others—children, aging parents, spouse, friends and those who are less fortunate.

Please don’t tell me that our financial system is too complicated to be understood and managed by the Patsy PTAs of the world. Daily family life leadership can be far more demanding than Wall Street trading.

Patsy gets everyone where they need to be—which often means being in three different places at the same time. She makes sure that: dinner is on the table; homework and piano practice is supervised; Boy Scout popcorn is sold; supplies are taken to church, volunteer center or soup kitchen; bills are paid, laundry is done; dogs are walked; and birthday parties are planned. All while managing to work part-time and stay current with her book club reading.

And all of this gets done without the help of a corporate secretary or air traffic controller.

For-profit corporate boards could learn a lot from North Shore PTA meetings, where a majority of the participants have graduate degrees, like Patsy. Thoughtful, clear reports and perfectly executed plans are the norm. They operate with community-minded efficiency that would astound the titans of Wall Street. Furthermore, these groups would never embrace esoteric financial instruments that they don’t understand.

The irony is that the predominantly male upper-echelon of Wall Street and its regulators were probably so myopically focused on their careers and short-term prospects that they couldn’t possibly multitask and lovingly run a busy household or the school PTA within a sound budget. But those abilities would have made them wiser managers of the nation’s economy.

If Wall Street and the government operated as nimbly and with the same values as the common sense, other-centered, educated, articulate and efficient women running households, PTAs and other community organizations on the North Shore, our country would be much stronger today!