Embracing their inner braud

From the pages of In Business magazine.

“If you want a thing done well, get a couple old broads to do it.” — Bette Davis

I once was admonished by a younger co-worker for using the term “broad.” She assumed it was a pejorative term, and I assumed there was too much of a generation gap to explain why it isn’t. I wish Joanna Burish had been there at that moment because she has started a networking movement of smaller, more intimate professional groups that goes by the same name, different spelling.

Her group, The Brauds (spelled this way in the Urban Dictionary), prefers networking in miniature because she believes that in more intimate settings, women are more likely to say what’s really on their minds. Burish, now the owner and president of MTI-Red LLC, swears by such “spill-it” networking and the resulting nonjudgmental feedback.

Not that she doesn’t appreciate the value of groups like TEMPO Madison, but they can’t give her the same opportunities for expression as her smaller network of women who typify author Jane Mills’ definition of braud: “A woman who is liberal, tolerant, unconfined, and not limited or narrow in scope.” As such, The Brauds have helped Burish through the difficult professional decision to leave Welton Enterprises, where she was being groomed to lead, and to start MTI-Red, her own real estate development and consulting firm.

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This brauds group wants to inspire the formation of many similar groups, and it’s engaged in philanthropy, especially the advancement of women in business. When it comes to helping people climb the ladder, I have great faith in such citizen associations, and so does Burish: “That’s what I want The Brauds to be — to my left and to my right, and reaching down and holding someone’s hand as they walk up the ladder with me,” she says.

One of my favorite brauds is Jody Glynn Patrick, our former publisher, who got a kick out of Dane County being rechristened “Dame County” when Kathleen Falk was elected county executive and Sue Bauman was elected mayor of Madison. Jody is a political liberal, but not too politically correct, and she would crack me up with her mimicry of Mae West: “Marriage is an institution. I wouldn’t want to be institutionalized.”

I promised not to identify them here, but I can assure you the Burish brauds are cut from the same sassy cloth. For the sake of better business, that’s a good thing.

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