2nd Annual Equal Pay Day Leadership Luncheon: Focus on Origins and Solutions to Pay Inequality for Women

This article originally appeared in the Lawyers Club of San Diego‘s newsletter.

2014 Equal Pay Day Luncheon

The second annual Equal Pay Day Leadership Luncheon, held on April 8, 2014, served to illuminate ongoing challenges women still face when it comes to earning equal pay for equal work performed by men. Though it remains unjust that women earn on average 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, with women of color earning even less, the panel of nationally recognized speakers did a terrific job of illuminating potential reasons for the continuing disparity. Moreover, all speakers proposed practical, applicable solutions for combating the inequality.

Sponsored by Lawyers Club of San Diego, and supported by more than two dozen forward-thinking local organizations and business, April 8, 2014 marked Equal Pay Day, and the luncheon was timed in conjunction with President Obama’s signing of two significant orders. The first was an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees for discussing their compensation – thereby encouraging transparency. The second order signed was a Presidential Memorandum which requires federal contractors to collect summary data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by sex and race, which would allow the Department of Labor to use the data to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and assist enforcement efforts.

Those in attendance were fortunate to hear compelling talks from some of the most respected experts in the fields of inequality in labor, legal and auditing services, and workplace negotiation.

Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, Acting Regional Administrator, United States Department of Labor (DOL) Women’s Bureau Region 9, opened the discussion by offering insight into the roots of inequality in pay for women. To fully understand why, after more than 50 years after the passing of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women are still short-changed, we must look at the causes. Kelly reported that equal pay issues begin arising even before most women enter the work place. They begin in our education. Because women tend to gravitate towards liberal arts degrees, whereas male counterparts dominate industries such as computer science and engineering, women are effectively, though unintentionally, positioning themselves for careers in lower paying industries and occupations.

Moreover Kelly provided a birds-eye view of what happens as both men and women grow in professional experience and then proceed to grow families. By age 35, she reported the disparity between men’s and women’s earnings becomes even greater. Men who start families are rewarded for being “family men,” while women who choose to have families are deemed less focused on their careers, and their paychecks reflect that.

Kelly’s message however, was one of hope, and encouragement. Her suggested means of leveling the playing field for all included increasing the minimum wage, a commitment to ongoing Equal Pay Act legislation, and an evolving culture, which changes its view on women who balance families and careers in the work place.

Next, Dan Kuang, Ph.D., Vice President of Legal and Audit Support Services, Biddle Consulting Group, Inc., brought forth a powerful claim as to why such large pay gaps exist amongst women and men of equal talent, education and experience. For Dr. Kuang, it all begins with starting salaries. Women often accept lower starting salaries than men. Rather than negotiating for a higher salary (as men tend to do), women in general accept their first offer, as women who negotiate are often perceived as demanding. By contrast, employers typically value a man’s negotiation efforts in a favorable light.

Ann Marie Houghtailing, renowned negotiations expert, served as the closing speaker. She opened her presentation by saying, “In 20 minutes or less, I’m going to teach you how to earn your worth tomorrow.” Ann Marie proceeded to do just that. She focused on two primary areas where women can work to ensure equal pay.

The first requirement for women seeking equal pay is to negotiate rigorously. She recommended negotiating all aspects of equity. Far from just countering on salary offers, Ann Marie suggested negotiating a mentor relationship, work-life balance, and more. She also encouraged all women to ask directly for what they want in salary and benefits, rather than hanging their hope on the idea that if they just work harder, their efforts will be recognized and rewarded. Ann Marie also explained the need for building a book of business, beginning from the first day on a job. It will only make women more valuable, and thus reduce the likelihood of unequal pay in future positions.

Unfortunately since the luncheon, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have made it easier for women to recognize and challenge unequal pay practices, was blocked for the third time in the U.S. Senate. Yet, for all who are committed to fair pay for women, this will serve only to provide a temporary setback, rather than a complete roadblock. Events such as the 2014 Equal Pay Day luncheon will only help us to pave the way to a more fair system, through educating all employees on ways to ensure equal pay.

Personally, I couldn’t have been more honored to be in attendance amongst so many brilliant minds, all working towards the unified goal of equal pay for all people, regardless of sex or color. The luncheon certainly brought to mind the cliché that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ and thus even with recent setbacks, we are bit by bit, laying a solid foundation for a fair future.

Out of the Basement and Into a High Rise


Today’s young entrepreneurs are more cautious with their time and money compared to previous generations; therefore working from home is a common situation for the average millennial. But when are they ready to move operations from the basement to a brick and mortar location? Check out three telltale signs of a successfully growing business and three important pitfalls to avoid during the transition.

Read more at hughesmarino.com!

Making Your Office Into A Second Home


When we spend so much time at the office, it becomes our home away from home. So it’s definitely worth putting in a little extra effort in creating a more comfortable and personal environment. Studies have also shown that an inviting workplace boosts productivity and inspires creativity. Check out four ways to make your own home-like office environment.

Read more at hughesmarino.com!

On The Radar: What’s on the Horizon for Makers Quarter


At the eastern edge of downtown San Diego, Makers Quarter is already becoming a new hotspot for young, urban trendsetters. From film festival events and craft beer tastings to art galleries and community gardens, “This is a melting pot where creative culture brings to life a collaborative community…” But what’s happening in this historic neighborhood now is just a preview of what is sure to come.

Read more at HughesMarino.com!

How To Work with Millennials: A Millennial’s Perspective


There is no shortage of articles that have been written by highly regarded publications offering advice on “How to work with Millennials.” It’s understandable. We’re a new generation, we’re the largest generation since the baby boomers, and we’re the first generation born into an online, “all-of-the-time” kind of world. Yes, we’re different from previous generations, but previous generations were different from those who came before them. All generations grow and evolve – and ours is too.

What is surprising about most of the tips for working with Millennials is that they tend to focus on the negative stereotypes and character traits of Millennials. Perhaps instead of focusing on the negative aspects – and begrudgingly accepting Millennials into the workplace – it’s time to look for the positive traits that Millennials bring to a company’s productivity, culture, and growth (Hint: we’re innovative, efficient and creative, to name a few).

With that in mind, here’s a positive way of looking at how to work with this younger generation, and how to appreciate the unique strengths that we bring to the workplace.

1.  DO Ask Us To Think Outside of the Box
We grew up in the age of Apple, Facebook, Twitter, IDEO – and many of the most creative companies to date. We’ve witnessed some of the most innovative products and marketing campaigns in history, and we’re not afraid to think outside of the box. Ask us to get creative – we’d love the challenge.

2.  DO tell us how you prefer to communicate. 
Millennials love to communicate via email and text. The shorter and quicker, the better. That being said, we know it’s not for everyone. We want to communicate with you in whatever way makes you most comfortable – but communicating that is key.

3.  DO encourage balance.
One of the key qualities that Millennials possess is a focus on work-life balance. In fact, it’s probably not a bad idea to encourage balance for all employees, regardless of their age. Work-life balance is directly correlated to employee happiness, and happy employees are productive employees. Happy employees don’t quit their jobs either, so if employee retention is important, then this is probably good for ALL the generations in an office.

4.  DO act as more than just a boss – be a mentor!
Millennials highly value the guidance of mentors – in fact, we seek mentors in our bosses. We are particularly interested in learning how to juggle everything, how to mix (or not mix, if that is the case) business with pleasure. The lines between work life and personal life may be blurrier for us, since we were born into a social media-driven world. So we love to learn from you as a boss – but we also want to be friends, share goals, and connect with you (and our other team members) on a more personal level too.

5.  DON’T be afraid to ask us to work in teams.
Education has evolved in recent years to be much more team-focused. And with the entrepreneurship boom – and the focus on working in teams – we are not only used to teamwork, but a lot of us truly thrive in team settings.

There are a lot of positive aspects of having Millennials on your team – but it’s important to focus on the good rather than be afraid of the bad. So, maybe, instead of looking for ways to “manage Millennial employees,” we could all benefit from celebrating the differences among us, and working towards a common solution of maximizing the advantages that come from a multi-generational workplace.

why san diego attracts startups


Not only is San Diego a beautiful place to live with almost perfect weather year-round, but it’s also proving to be a major hotspot for entrepreneurs in the startup world. I recently chatted with GlobeSt.com in an interview, pointing out the many advantages of living and working in the “Millennial Capital of the US”.

From cheaper office space to the abundant talent coming out of local universities, San Diego supports an ideal setting for a thriving industry that focuses so much on the life/work balance.

Read more on GlobeSt.com!

spaces we love and how to get them in san diego: pinterest’s crafty HQ

Originally published by Hughes Marino.


It’s only fitting that one of the most creative websites in the world, Pinterest — a website that inspires millions every day with home improvement projects, recipes, workout tips, makeup lessons and more — has one of the most creative and inspiring workplaces I’ve seen in all my years in commercial real estate. Located in South of Market, San Francisco, this transformed 1938 warehouse is the epitome of tech. With exposed ceilings and steel beams, it is a great mix of the masculine nature of an industrial building with feminine accents such as marquee-style signs, colorful couches, and miniature hot air balloons hanging from the ceilings.

Read more at HughesMarino.com!

state of the market: downtown high rises

Originally published by Hughes Marino.

As we wrap up Q1, it’s time for a look at the state of the market in my area of specialization: downtown San Diego. Here’s the scoop on leasing commercial space in Class A and Class B high rises, and a hint of what to expect in Q2 if you’re hunting for space in a low-rise building as well.

Read more at HughesMarino.com!

the little things in 2014

It’s all about the little splurges in life to make it that much sweeter. A few of my favorites for the New Year are:

Fresh flowers. In my kitchen. In my bedroom. In my bathroom. Everywhere. I just love the smell and feel.

fresh flowers

The Pioneer Woman’s home style cooking. One of my goals for 2014 is to cook one 3-course meal every two weeks. There’s no one better to learn from than Ree!

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

Inspirational blogs like Eric Barker’s. And inspirational posts like “8 Things The World’s Most Successful People All Have In Common.”

An “Us Weekly” magazine subscription – such a splurge! But worth every penny. There is no better way to relax than with a magazine on hand!

us weekly

California getaways. I’ve been very fortunate to travel to over fifty countries (you may have seen this recent post about Panama City!), but I’m looking forward to a few weekends exploring beautiful California! Catalina, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs – I’ve got my sights set on you!


Lululemon. It took me a while to jump on the Lululemon train – but after my mom insisted I try a pair, I fell in love. It has since transformed my wardrobe and my life…I either wear work clothes or Lululemon (regardless of if I am actually exercising) at all times. Even more than their clothes, they believe in goals! And long-term thinking! If you couldn’t tell, I am a huge fan.

lululemon goals

lululemon 2

panama city

This winter, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Central and South America with my family – starting with Panama! I’ve learned about Panama over the years during school from a macro-perspective, focusing primarily on the economy and politics, but couldn’t have been more surprised by my experience visiting what I thought would be a very industrial city. I knew that Panama City was founded in 1519, but is really only 14 years old as of December 31, 2013 (the United States gave the Panama Canal and surrounding land back to the Panamanians on December 31, 1999). I knew that the Panamanian economy has expanded by over 50% in the past 5 years. And I knew that the canal itself is currently undergoing a $5+ billion expansion that is expected to double its capacity. What I didn’t know, or expect, was that this trade-focused city would be a beautiful, picturesque, modern city by the sea, clad with dozens and dozens of beautiful, cutting-edge high-rises directly on the water.

panama city spire

We only spent two nights in Panama, with one full day dedicated to exploring the city, and got an amazing vibe from the city, the people, and the culture, even in such a short amount of time!

We had a great private car tour of the city with PBA Tours (Panama Holding Group). Their team is the go-to travel company in Panama (they just toured Usher through Panama City a few weeks ago!). They can arrange your tour – or they will take you on a customized tour to your liking.

what to see

1) The Panama Canal – this is of course a must when in Panama! I was blown away by the mechanics of the canal. We visited as a large cargo ship was entering the canal, so we were able to witness firsthand the use of the lock system to feed the ships through the canal as smoothly as possible.



2) Ancon Hill – Ancon Hill is the highest elevation point in the city and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the canal, beaches, high rises, and Casco Viejo! This was a highlight for us.

ancon hill 2

ancon hill

3) Puente de Las Americas – this is the unofficial dividing line between North America and South America. Very cool!

4) BioMuseo – scheduled to open in April 2014, this is Frank Gehry’s first and only masterpiece in Latin America.

5) Casco Viejo – Casco Viejo is the “old town” of Panama City. We drove through the town admiring the French-inspired architecture! Fun Fact: Quantum of Solace (James Bond) was filmed here!

where to stay

The Trump Ocean Club, Panama City is a multi-use high-rise and architectural masterpiece featuring high-end residences, a luxury hotel, restaurants, meeting facilities, and more. It is currently the largest and tallest building in Latin America (rising 70 stories) and is only a few years old. It’s in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Panama City with nearly panoramic ocean views from all rooms. If traveling with family, the one major issue to consider is that the majority of the rooms and suites offer little privacy for families. The layout is very open – so open that the bathroom is completely open to the rest of the living area and bedroom. The Trump Residences, on the other hand, have a much more family-friendly layout with bathrooms that are separated from the main living area.

where to eat

The restaurants at the Trump Ocean Club are fantastic – and the hotel has a variety of cuisines too! From sushi, to grilled fish, to hamburgers, to tapas, you can find it all in this one location. We ate all of our meals at the hotel and thoroughly enjoyed them! One recommendation: the sloppy joe at Azul. There’s nothing like American comfort food in Panama City!

how long to stay

We had one full day to explore the city – and for our fast-paced style of travel, that was the perfect amount of time.

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