Commentary & Analysis

Starting the conversation about diversity

I am lucky to be writing about a topic that I am sincerely passionate about. Lucky because I have the commitment from our organization to focus on it. Lucky because I am a female leader at Thomson Reuters and can be an example and role model to others. So, I would like to begin a much-needed discussion on the topic of diversity and inclusion.

No doubt you have seen the stats and headlines. The lack of diversity in the media, and especially in journalism, is a matter of concern. It should come as no surprise to anyone that taking diversity seriously these days is essential to being competitive, especially for a global news organization like Reuters.

Diversity in background, skill set, perspective, and how one thinks and processes information is a tremendous value to our company. It’s essential in helping us provide society with the news it needs and our efforts to become the greatest news organization in the world. If we don’t have a diverse news file that reflects the world we live in, we won’t remain relevant to our customers. Today, leveraging knowledge, culture and style is essential to growing any business.

The intent of our diversity efforts is to expand our reach, our mindset and continue to create an open and inclusive environment. This does not mean hiring or promoting individuals just because they are diverse. Merit should always be the determining factor. However, we can’t ignore the invisible headwinds and tailwinds that enable some and prevent others sometimes based merely on how they look or on how society has historically defined them. We must open our eyes to these barriers and remove them where possible. Are we stopping to consider why we are making certain hiring decisions or why some people are rising faster than others within the organization?

The business issue is simple – we’re a people business and we need the best.  My experience has taught me that in order to achieve sustainable high performance, employees need to be who they are, and express themselves openly and with confidence.

The moral issue is also clear to me. I can think of no good reason why we shouldn’t be providing opportunities and fostering a supportive, open environment to any and all talented and qualified people regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background.

Discussing the facts and lack thereof

As an industry, we could be doing better when it comes to diversity. For example, data from the 2014 census released the American Society of News Editors and the Center for Advanced Social Research, revealed a higher proportion of men vs. women in journalism roles, especially at more senior, supervisory levels. And the percentage of minority journalists has remained between 12 and 14 percent for years. Globally, the situation is not much different, and you won’t be surprised that Reuters is not an exception. (more…)

A dream dinner party

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit

I’ve always had lists of people I’d love to have drinks or dinner parties with, and they usually revolve around a theme like sports or music or tech. This week, I had one of those opportunities when I attended the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. This one was built around the age of innovation, and you could not have asked for a better lineup of speakers, moderators, and even guests. How would you like to spend the day listening to the likes of Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla), Evan Spiegel (Snapchat) Sal Khan (Khan Academy), Daniel Ek (Spotify), Marc Andreessen (Andressen Horowitz), Mike Judge (Silicon Valley, King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead), Eric Schmidt (Google), and Mike Bloomberg? Or imagine seeing Sting, Jimmy Buffett, and his older brother (not really) Warren Buffett in the audience? (more…)

The gift of mentorship

On occasion, I’ve been asked what the secret is to a career that has spanned 21 years at Thomson Reuters. Having a husband who is a former sommelier certainly helps on the occasional bad day, but it is the support of great friends and mentors that has truly enabled me.

Just before giving birth to my first child 11 years ago, I decided to explore the possibility of using one major life event as a catalyst for another. Rather than returning to my existing role after maternity leave, why not transition to a new branch of my career? I had been established as the expert in my given field, to the point that I felt trapped by it and wasn’t certain the rest of the organization could see me through a different lens despite my desire for change. Where to begin?

It began with taking a risk and seeking out conversations that would allow me to express myself and my particular challenge and receive unbiased insight in return. I was very fortunate that the right person said the right thing to me at exactly the right time. Initially that person wasn’t being called on by me formally as a mentor but from that conversation onward, she was that and so much more to me.

The greatest gift she gave me was perspective – perspective that was far greater than mine because of her exposure and experience. I am very lucky, and am incredibly grateful, that I’ve had several people in the organization who are willing to share their perspectives with me and they have sustained me. How could I be the recipient of something so good and not feel a need to give back and share the experience?

And there is the beauty of mentorship – the “pay it forward” concept. I am now fortunate to be able to offer counsel (for better or for worse!) to the individuals who have invested trust in me and who I now mentor and sponsor. What I learned quickly is that mentorship isn’t a case of one side “giving” and the other side “receiving”.  The dynamic of an intimate conversation allows both sides to grow and benefit. So often I find myself sharing an experience or an approach which serves as a reminder to live what I am saying and to recalibrate back to the basics that guide me (which were instilled in me by phenomenal parents who are examples of living by the “Golden Rule” and doing the right things for the right reasons). What better way to keep that simple aspiration alive than to talk about it in the context of life’s challenges?

The greatest gift of mentorship, both that I have received and that I have given, is the genuine friendship that I have established with the people I have encountered. This occurs over time and it doesn’t happen with everyone, but when it does, it is fostered by the investment of honesty and openness that you are making in each other. Knowing those same people are in the trenches alongside me, who I can call on for support or offer support if needed, is a great reward of working at Thomson Reuters.

What are the ingredients of great mentorship? Here is my take:  (more…)

He shoots…wide of the net

I have a confession to make. I’m not going to achieve one of my goals for 2015, and I already know it.

Earlier this year, I ran my first marathon in Orlando at Disneyworld, and I had planned to run another one before year-end in December.  It was a good one too – the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon. Who wouldn’t want to get a few days on a beach in December? Unfortunately, I’ve spent most of the summer battling the biggest curse of runners, plantar fasciitis, which is just brutal to deal with. I’ve only now just been cleared to start resuming a running program in the last couple weeks, and I can still feel the pain in the heel. I’ve got a half marathon scheduled for November which was planned to be part of the training; now, it will be a stretch just to see if I’ll be able to even run that one.

It’s hugely frustrating to me, because I love running and it’s something that I can do wherever I am in the world. It’s also frustrating, because I set a goal to do it and realize it isn’t going to happen. No amount of training, wishing, hoping, or praying will change it. I can’t try and jam in more training hours or force it. This one is out of my control, and that is what makes it even harder. At this point, all I can do is be smart about my rehab and start thinking about 2015.

It felt like primetime to write about this now as we’ve reach the fourth quarter.  All of us might be looking at our own goals and realizing that for whatever reason, we’re not going to be able to achieve one or more. Maybe it’s out of your control, maybe it is something we did wrong along the way (perhaps for example, overtraining aggravated the situation in my foot), maybe it just wasn’t achievable to begin with. (more…)

Innovation isn’t new – it’s what’s next

Welcome to Thomson Reuters Exchange! We created Exchange, as the name suggests, as a forum for dialogue, a digital publication where ideas and insights, information, news and analysis can be exchanged and shared across the global ecosystem of professionals in a dynamic, interactive format. We invite you to experience the rich content and interactive features on your iPad or Android tablet by downloading it from the App StoreGoogle Play or on Amazon. Or, to learn more about Exchange and stay abreast of the latest features, functionality and content in this issue and subsequent issues, visit our website. 

Thomson Reuters Mona Vernon, VP of our Data Innovation Lab, and Philip Brittan, Financial & Risk Chief Technology Officer, discuss how innovation isn’t a new phenomenon, but one that is profoundly and continuously changing our world, our industry and our business.

Exchange: Innovation is a widely used word these days – how do you define it?

Mona Vernon: A short but good definition is from a friend and mentor, Dr. Irving Wladawsky- Berger, who led a number of IBM’s company-wide initiatives and most recently was a strategic advisor for innovation and technology at Citi.

Innovation is a response to the historical changes taking place in technology, business and society as we transition from the industrial economy of the past 200 years to an emerging 21st century digital economy. Every business and industry must innovate, that is, adapt to these changes, ward off competitors and not only survive, but try to establish a leadership position by pursuing new market opportunities.

I like this definition – it captures the recent historical context in which innovation has become a real and urgent priority for CEOs and no longer solely the responsibility of the research and development labs of large organizations. (more…)

‘Personal gripe or public concern: When does an employee’s private blog cross the line?’ by Sandra Johnson, Senior Attorney Editor, Thomson Reuters



For a one-minute audio intro to the commentary, click here.


WestlawNext users: Click here to read the full article on WestlawNext.

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson

Cultures of innovation

Cultures of innovation

Welcome to Thomson Reuters Exchange! Each week, we will be bringing you features from within Exchange, Thomson Reuters financial and risk publication. We created Exchange, as the name suggests, as a forum for dialogue, a digital publication where ideas and insights, information, news and analysis can be exchanged and shared across the global ecosystem of financial professionals in a dynamic, interactive format. We invite you to experience the rich content and interactive features on your iPad or Android tablet by downloading it from the App StoreGoogle Play or on Amazon. Or, to learn more about Exchange and stay abreast of the latest features, functionality and content in this issue and subsequent issues, visit our website. This week’s post is by David Kirkpatrick, Founder, host and CEO of Techonomy.

Big and venerable companies around the world are increasingly confronting a vexing problem: They’re too big and venerable.

The ironic truth: To get even bigger, they have to learn to act small. Executives increasingly believe that new ideas and innovations that can generate growth are most likely to emerge in organizations like small start-ups. So the mandate for large companies is to find ways to replicate the culture and practices of smaller companies inside their walls.

The $52-billion-a-year health insurer Aetna, for example, has doubled its stock price in the last two years even as its CEO Mark Bertolini has emphasized breaking the company down into smaller units. “We’re 163 years old,” said Bertolini at last year’s Techonomy conference in Arizona, discussing the impact of tech on his business. “Is that a plus or minus?” a moderator asked him. “That’s a minus,” he replied. “Some say we have actuaries who’ve been around 163 years. So it’s difficult moving the model. You have to create separate organizations inside the company that are driving these technologies.” He described how Aetna has located several new businesses remotely from the corporate offices, and given them distinct compensation systems, management processes, and abilities to raise capital. Bertolini was blunt about what he hopes such groups will contribute to the legacy health insurer. He said he wants them to “disrupt the core.”


Q&A on telemedicine and mobile health innovations

Pepper Hamilton LLP attorneys Sharon R. Klein and Jee-Young Kim recently published Telemedicine and Mobile Health Innovations Amid Increasing Regulatory Oversight in the Westlaw Journal Computer & Internet.

In the commentary, they discuss the growth of telemedicine and the mobile health market and what it means for health care organizations, technology vendors, providers and patients.

We sit down and talk with them a bit more about this new form of health care delivery and its implications.

The O’Bannon decision and the ‘ancillary restraints’ doctrine

From Westlaw Journal Entertainment Industry: In a recent issue of Westlaw Journal Entertainment Industry, attorneys Joel G. Chefitz and Chelsea Black of McDermott Will & Emery discuss why a recent decision holding that student-athletes can be paid for the use of their names, images and likenesses may be incorrect and subject to reversal on appeal.

On Aug. 8, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California issued her highly anticipated trial ruling in O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.1  The plaintiffs, 20 current and former NCAA Division I football players and men’s basketball players, brought a class action against the NCAA, alleging that its rules violated Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act by prohibiting member schools from compensating student-athletes for the use of their names, images and likenesses in television broadcasts, video games and archival footage.  The court ruled for the plaintiffs following a three-week bench trial, but its injunction limited the impact of the decision on the NCAA’s amateur model.

(WestlawNext users: Click here for the 10 most recent stories from Westlaw Journals.)


Are copyrighted works only by and for humans? The copyright planet of the apes and robots

From Westlaw Journal Intellectual Property:  Mark A. Fischer, a partner at Duane Morris LLP, ponders the possibilities of non-human copyrights.

Why should humans own all the world’s copyrights? The question is prompted by a photograph that’s made worldwide news. In Indonesia, a female crested black macaque monkey picked up a camera owned by photographer David Slater. I won’t focus much on the story of the monkey and her selfie because that topic has already been well-discussed in the media. Yet the story sets the table for more intriguing and ultimately more important issues.

(WestlawNext users: Click here for the 10 most recent stories from Westlaw Journals.) (more…)