by: Marceline Donaldson
It has been amazing the directions my life has taken. None more so than my time at Harvard Graduate School of Business, being the second woman and one of the first two black women accepted into the Business School’s Executive Programs.
As I watched this Elise Stafanik thing, I realized she is the embodiment of what is the low hum in the Harvard community as you move through its challenges, placements, values, ethics and more.
Harvard itself tried to address its core problems when it looked to hire one of Harvard’s ordained professors to teach and be a part of the Business School. That latest a hot minute.
The problems at Harvard, which have been on a low level are now beginning to assert themselves so that the world can not only see, but talk about without closing the door first.
When asked what makes Harvard one of the top schools in the country, I have heard mostly, its “old boy’s net”.
Having passed over that remark for decades I would today say, no, it is the way you are “taught” without even realizing the teaching is going on and Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of those “teachings”. She knows what to do, she clearly has not learned how by the really crude way she has brought off her moving up through the RNC ranks to third.
Before Ms. Stafanik, Harvard alum knew how to cover their “moving up” style. With Ms. Stefaniks’ burst onto the scene that style, as she represents it, is more in keeping with George Jeffersons’ “moving on up” style of living and working then the one Harvard has sublimely taught its students almost from its beginnings.
The very act in the 1970’s and through the 1980’s of working to install an ordained Christian minister as one of their key “values setting” people says it all. A school which has many from all kinds of religious and cultural groups looks to the Protestant Christian ministry to help it move away from a lethal ‘my group above all’ as one of its core values. That along with knowing which way the wind is blowing in this “top group” so I can move at the top of that environment keeping it an elegantly cut throat one which appears to emphasize humane, humanity, universal ethical standards which one bears throughout one’s life – this is not what is being portrayed.
Being a woman, what Ms. Stefanik has shown is why women are not as acceptable as men in these areas and why Harvard had kept its secrets away from women and only trained the men in the way they must go to maintain the ascendancy ‘uber alles’.
Many men from Harvard have moved from a diametrically opposed belief system they acted out – almost turning on a dime – to the more acceptable systems coming into being showing power now being concentrated in these up and coming systems and so they moved to these new systems, but not in the cold, almost vicious way Ms. Stafanik has done. She learned the basics at Harvard, but she does not have the finesse to bring them about. She has simply and very crudely moved from one place, which seemed to be the way to top success to another place which she seems to think is the current way to the very top leaving her tattered under-skirts all over the place – places where you would never see the tattered under garments of the white male power structure as it has left its under garments strewn about. And so the reluctance Harvard constantly shows to move women into power positions with their training and cultural underpinnings to be those of a permanent second tier is beginning to make sense.
Ms. Stefanik’s grab for power is so explicit that it turns one’s stomach to see how coldy calculatingly she has lived her career. She has the outlines of the structure she was taught on a subliminal level, but the finesse and how to make those moves without being so vicious in the process and so upfront showing the fact that she has no guard rails and will be blatant about what she claims to believe and be working for – subject to change if she detects a change is what one must stand for to move to the next step up.
In her current move up she has shown a fatal flaw which will be what takes her down -swiftly and completely and soon. Not only does she not know how to transition, but she does not understand power. She has brought the negative part of the female stereotype – its adherence to obsequiousness for survival and for moving on up – with her on her journey up what looks like, to her, the ladder of success.