Alex Sink, CFO of Florida, the candidate vying to be Florida's first female governor wants to strategically position herself as a PTA mom. Who knew the term would carry weight? Was it Sarah Palin who made being a PTA mom/hockey mom an asset or was it Nancy Pelosi?
I have followed the career of Alex Sink for many years, which is why it caught me off guard when I read in The Miami Herald that she made a speech here yesterday and spoke of her pride as a PTA mom "who started her son and daughter's math club." In her first big speech, Sink never once uttered "banker." I have no doubt that Sink was involved in her children's lives. Her husband, a powerful lawyer who ran a large Florida law firm, was involved in their lives, too. I always admired the way the two of them formed a real partnership to balance work and family, complete with the time management struggles most working parents endure.
But I always admired Sink most for the way she climbed to the top in a male dominated industry. She is the former Florida president of Bank of America, not an easy accomplishment for a woman. I once heard Sink speak to a woman's group about how a male top executive at the bank where she worked had mentored her and taught her just how to blend the tough and compassionate to be a real leader. Sink had a top job in the banking world, raised a family, helped her husband campaign for governor and has had a good run in her Cabinet-level post as chief executive officer of the state. I want her to talk about her life as a working mom, not just as a PTA mom. I don't care that banking is in a state of turmoil today and that bankers have lost their clout. I want to hear about Sink's accomplishments in business, government and in her family life.
Sink is the underdog in her race. She knows she needs to let the Florida voters know who she is and how she is different from her opponent who already has name recognition. She chose to talk about her personal story as a mom and as a child growing up on a farm. It's a good start. But Alex Sink, if you are going to do us working mothers proud, we need less PTA and more of the complete package.