It's hard to be a parent and an astronaut. But because I love being a parent and I love being an astronaut, I have lots of energy to do both. It's OK to delay having children for a while. I was 38 when I had my daughter and I was 43 when I had my son.
I think I'm a better leader in my job because I'm a parent. I am a lower-stress person, more organized and have learned how to set priorities because of my children.
President, Barnard College
Never lose your sense of humor. Almost anything can be funny if you look at it in the right way. As an anthropologist, I also believe in being a participant observer. It's useful to step out of a situation and not take it personally. It's also really important to transcend gender stereotypes. You need to be supportive of your people because leading is about serving. That's not a girly thing; it's what I believe a strong leader does. So you can't be trapped in gender stereotypes, by playing into them or by feeling that you have to act in the opposite way. I think you should always be working to subvert them.
We really need to avoid the feminist mystique, which is not much better than the feminine mystique, the idea that women intrinsically and mysteriously all have the same qualities. There are some really nasty, selfish, narcissistic women bosses. But because men and women have had different social experiences, it is probable that women are more likely to behave in a certain way than men. It's not as if all men are taller than all women. It's just that the curve is a little different. Reaching agreements through persuasion and conversation is a good thing, and women are more likely to have the skills to achieve this.
President, The Rockefeller Foundation
When I was a graduate student, I remember once looking at my watch as I was talking to my adviser and he looked at me and said, "Well, if you have to go home and make dinner for your husband, don't let me keep you." That kind of attitude made me even more determined and really eager to show what I could do. Even in my first year as president of the University of Pennsylvania, I was always referred to as "the new woman president." I told my colleagues that I know I've succeeded when I'm just called the president—which ultimately happened!