There are just some people that, when you speak with them, make you feel better about your day and encourage you to consider all the possibilities still lying ahead.
Stephen Bienko, to me, is definitely one of those people.
In a nutshell, Bienko is a wildly successful entrepreneur who heavily stresses the importance of community service and providing education to his employees.
For example, each morning at the Montville location of College Hunks Hauling Junk — which Bienko’s company 42 Holdings is the largest franchisee for — Bienko hosts a “roll call” for his employees which consists of listening to and discussing world music, what happened that day in history, current events, personal achievements and challenges, and goals for the workday ahead.
Exactly the kind of managerial approach I’d expect a man interested in helping guide and empower not only his employees, but also women and minorities in business, to have.
But at first impression, his track record might suggest otherwise:
After graduating from Villanova University and attending the U.S. Air Force Academy, Bienko joined the New Jersey State Police. To keep himself occupied on days off, Bienko also founded the Institute of Athletic Performance in Randolph, successfully training more than 100 NFL, MLB, NBA, Division 1 and professional track and field athletes throughout their careers. He also became owner of Parisi Sports, one of the largest health and fitness chains in New Jersey.
This eventually led to more than ten years living a fast-paced, event-filled life marketing and managing sports media, A-List celebrity athletes and Olympians.
Key words here? U.S. Air Force. New JerseyState Police. Athletic trainer. Sports marketing and management.
None of which are gender exclusive, per say — until you factor in the NFL, MLB and NBA — but probably not the kind of person you’d expect to willingly express interest in contributing to a women’s blog.
During our interview, however, Bienko showed me his LinkedIn Pulse app and all of the articles he was interested in reading the day — many of which pertained to women in business.
So naturally, I invited him into the conversation.
Here’s what Bienko — now a busy father of three kids under the age of 6 — had to say about women in business from a male perspective:
What advice would you give to a woman in college now?
“Women hold the most powerful roles in society; they are the rocks of our families and need to grow into the rocks of our businesses. A lot is asked of women — and this should be because they are most capable. We need them in families but we also need them in businesses even more today. We need them in key roles of leadership and development. It is not easy to balance the two but our country needs them.”
What advice would you give to young working women?
“Train your mind, body and soul all at once. Women have superior power when all three are in line!”
Have you ever asked the women in your life what their best or worst experiences at work have been?
“I have been told by a variety of women that people treat them as being stupid or lacking knowledge. Now, this is not coming from males — this is coming from other females. What drives me nuts is when mothers look at other mothers and question how one is raising their children. I’m not sure what gives one woman the right to make a comment on how another is raising their children when there is no neglect.”
Do you think there are mistakes that women make at the workplace that men don’t?
“I think women work too hard and too much by nature. On a weekend or a Friday evening, I am three times more likely to get an email back from a female than a male. I never push back on the work ethic, but I sometimes want to say, ‘It’s okay. You don’t have to respond right now. Take a break. You deserve it.’”
Break up your average 24-hour weekday into a pie chart — what percentage do you devote to work? Now think of a woman in your life, and attempt to break up her average 24-hour weekday — what discrepancies do you see?
“The women I know who are in business have a reverse pie chart of what one would assume. I spend 40 percent on work, 40 percent on family and 20 percent on myself and others. The full-time working women I know spend 60 percent on work, 30 percent on family and 10 percent on themselves and others.”
How do you feel the work/life balance differs for men and women, and what can be done to narrow the differentials?
“Women can accomplish more at work in less time than men. Women also need more personal time to spend with themselves. Men need to spend more time with other men. Women can set the bar for the workday by taking on more business leadership positions — their fine attention to detail completes tasks faster, leaving more time for themselves. Additional time alone enhances their life-balance reflection, making them better people. Men will then follow by spending more time with men, which relaxes them, releases aggression and enhances production at work.”
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