Work and Life with Stew Friedman

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Ep 223. Larry Hirschhorn: A Father's Grief

Larry Hirschhorn is a Principal and one of the founders of the Center for Applied Research, also known as CFAR (which had its origins at the Wharton School). CFAR is a management consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia and Boston. Larry was also a founder of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO) and the founder and director of Dynamics of Consulting, a program for experienced coaches and consultants. He has published several books and many articles linking organizational functioning to psychodynamics, among them The Workplace Within and Reworking Authority, both published by MIT Press. Larry has a PhD in Economics from MIT.


In this episode, Stew talks with Larry Hirschhorn about his recently published book about the sudden death of his son, called Grieving Aaron: Poems in Response to the Death of My Adult Son. They discuss anger, despair, ambivalence, the various ways different people express grief, the changes wrought by the loss of a loved one, and what it takes to reach toward hope in the face of tragedy. While Larry’s loss is unique to him, with his background in psychology and the kind of consulting and research he has done over the course of his long, illustrious career, he has profoundly useful insights for all those who are grieving losses and dislocations due to the death of loved ones, especially in pandemic times.


Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode.  Write a poem about someone you love who has died.  How does the writing affect your thoughts and feelings about your loved one and about your own identity and purpose?  Share your reactions and suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at friedman@wharton.upenn.edu or via LinkedIn.  

More Episodes

5/10/2022

Ep 229. Diana Kapp: Girls Who Green the World

Diana Kapp is the author of Girls Who Run the World and now Girls Who Green the World; Thirty-Four Rebel Women Out To Save Our Planet. Her work as a journalist has taken her inside San Quentin prison and to deepest Afghanistan. She’s covered teen suicide clusters in Palo Alto, apps and bots to fight depression, and her father falling headlong in love at 85. She’s also worked for a senator and a biotech start-up, made ads for Nike, and helped launch women’s sportswear retailer Lucy. She’s got an MBA from Stanford, loves the Sawtooth Mountains, Neil Young, her 5am running club, and climbing mountains. She’s also a wannabe “rancher.” This episode, which is about the biggest work/life issue we can imagine, starts with Diana talking about her father’s finding love at 85, after her mother’s death, and how this demonstrated hope for the future emerging from the despondency of loss.  This heartwarming story sounded the keynote of Stew’s conversation with Diana about the inspiring stories of how the women profiled in her book are, in the face of our rapidly failing natural environment, taking action to make things better.  These powerful narratives not only tell us about the creative experiments abounding in our midst, they offer empowering ideas for how each and every one of us can do something good for our world. Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode.  Find one small thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and tell someone else about what you did, why you did it, and what you’re going to do next.  Share your reactions and suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at friedman@wharton.upenn.edu or via LinkedIn. 
4/25/2022

Ep 228. Amy Beacom: The Parental Leave Playbook

Dr. Amy Beacom is the founder and CEO of the Center for Parental Leave Leadership, the first consultancy in the US to focus exclusively on parental leave, and the author of The Parental Leave Playbook: Ten Touchpoints to Transition Smoothly, Strengthen Your Family, and Continue Growing Your Career.  She is recognized as the United States’ premiere expert on the personal and professional interplay around parental leave for employers and employees. Amy created the first evidence-based parental leave transition coaching model. She has trained and supervised parental leave coaches both in the US and Australia and the manager-focused training program she created can be found in over 80 countries around the world.In this episode, Stew talks with Amy about her evidence-based model for how to manage parental leave, as a working parent and as a manager or co-worker.  They talk through the three phases of preparing for leave (which is mostly about work), during leave (about parenting), and returning (about being a working parent).  Amy describes the crucial touch points in each of these phases and offers practical advice for anyone experiencing the joys and trials of taking time from work to care for children and for all those who support working parents.  Here then is an invitation for you, a challenge, after you’ve had a chance to listen to this episode, if you’re a manager of someone approaching parental leave or a person about to take one yourself:  What’s your vision of how you want things to be upon return?  Share your reactions and suggestions for future shows with Stew by writing to him at friedman@wharton.upenn.edu or via LinkedIn.