Wittenberg-Cox to apply ‘late love’ lessons to workplace

WITTENBERG-COX

WITTENBERG-COX

Last summer, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox described herself as a serial entrepreneur of sorts.

Wittenberg-Cox is CEO and managing partner of the gender diversity consultancy 20-first, a best-selling author of business books, and the force behind the Chautauqua Professional Women’s Network speaker series, which is currently in its seventh season.

Having founded, in 1996, what has become the largest professional women’s association in Europe — the European PWN — she shifted her focus in 2005. Rather than train and coach women exclusively via the EPWN, Wittenberg-Cox started working with progressive companies to instill more inclusive, gender-bilingual leadership skills and styles.

Last year, she began researching a book about “late love” that will in part incorporate anonymous information gleaned from interviews with couples conducted at Chautauqua. At 1 p.m. today at the Chautauqua Women’s Club House, she will give the second CPWN talk of the season, “Late Love: Does it Get Better as We Age.”

Transitioning from globetrotting corporate consultant to late love guru is not the stretch one might suppose. For Wittenberg-Cox, the dots connect. By exploring late love, she is taking a more holistic and integrative approach to leadership counseling.

Wittenberg-Cox said much of her coaching involves emotional intelligence.

“Emotional skills are being seen as essential at work,” she said. “Feminization of the workplace is increasing humanism in men. A 21st-century literacy is the integration of the heart and mind. Men and women do it better together.”

In the U.S. and U.K., Wittenberg-Cox said, the greatest increase in divorces and marriages is occurring within the 50s and 60s age bracket. In two-thirds of the divorces within this range, it is the woman who is leaving the marriage.

“Working across genders is a skill that men don’t have if they’ve never successfully managed their relationships with women,” she said.

From her own experience and that of friends, Wittenberg-Cox has found that couples over 50 who found love late in life have created happy, balanced relationships in which women feel empowered.

“They are communicating and talking nonviolently, and are mutually enhancing engines of support,” she said.

For Wittenberg-Cox, these and other late love findings are relevant to the workplace.

“The results of balance are seen across the board,” she said. “It really helps at work when there’s balance at home and people are happy. Happy husbands, fathers and sons are the best at work.”