Many High Heels to Fill
Mary E. Ittelson reflects on the long list of female board chairs before her, and on King Harris, the first man to serve as board chair after her.
After I was board chair—I followed Helen Zell and Sally Kovler, Penny Pritzker had been board chair. But when King Harris succeeded me as board chair, to welcome him we talked about the fact that when people follow they follow in the—they have big shoes to fill, and I told King that he had high heels to fill. And then I said it was gonna be as hard for him as the famous quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire: she did everything he could do, only backwards and in heels. And so I gave to him a little high heel for every previous woman board director and said that we had great hopes that he might be able to do as good a job as a woman could do so—and he certainly did. And then he was followed by another woman.