Transcript of 17th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, September 10, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Katherine.
Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis. Here we are again.
Dr. Balis: So we are. How was your week?
Ms. Lippard: Not too bad. Had lunch with Frank and Lloyd. Remember when I told you I wondered if Lloyd was on cocaine at the board meeting? I found out what that was about. He has a sinus condition; they're talking about surgery. Apparently Lloyd's not too wild about someone rooting around inside his face.
Dr. Balis: It sounds like you discussed more than just business.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, it was more of a get acquainted kind of thing. We spent all afternoon at Le Central, Lloyd and Frank getting lightly lit as the afternoon wore on. Frank more so than Lloyd; he's really loosening up, calming down in the past few months. Even the staff have commented on how much easier he is to get along with now. Unfortunately, I'm having to get tougher and more distant as I take on the role of a boss...well, of a bigger boss. I've always thought of the department as a sort of a family--organized that way, I mean. The CFO is a father: powerful, not to be crossed, kind of remote. The Assistant is a mother: passing along decisions, dealing with the day-to-day functions, more accessible. Of course, parents can't be playmates to their children, or there's no discipline. Now I'm moving into the father role, and I find myself just naturally distancing from the staff and putting Jeff into my old role. Um, where was I? Oh yeah, lunch. Lloyd mentioned he was impressed by how well I handled myself at the board meeting and during his recent audit. He really seems to respect me. Once they both got a few drinks in them, they admitted to hesitating hiring a woman but were now sure they had made the right decision after all. But when I tried to press them on this, they realized what they had said and clammed up. That's when Frank brought up his impending retirement.
Dr. Balis: How did that go over?
Ms. Lippard: Not too bad. He said to Lloyd, "Since we're on the topic, how would you like her to be CFO?" And Lloyd looked suspicious and wary and said, "What do you mean?" So Frank explained that he intended to retire come the holidays and thought I'd be a great candidate to take his place--I already knew the company, the board, and had Lloyd's respect and all. So Lloyd looked at me and looked at Frank and said, "Well, that's a possibility." And then I disappeared. It felt weird.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Lippard: Well, it was like I didn't need to be there any more--like I was watching from the sidelines. Fascinating, really. Lloyd tried to make the conversation about Frank's leaving, and Frank tried to make it about my taking over. Frank kept bringing up things I had done: reorganizing the department; revamping the retirement system; all the extra hours I'd put in handling the Apple proposal, sad though that turned out. Actually, I don't think he should have brought that up--you should have seen the anger in Lloyd's face when Frank said that. Anyway, Lloyd acknowledged all the good I'd done. But Lloyd kept trying to steer the conversation back to how much we'd all miss Frank, and would he change his mind about leaving, and did he have another offer on the table, and all that nonsense. It was like Lloyd was avoiding the issue.
Dr. Balis: Is that what he was doing?
Ms. Lippard: Well, as I've said, he's pretty savvy. It could be that he's dead set against me taking the lead as the CFO and was trying to come up with a way to block it and preserve my feelings at the same time--so I'd stay and keep doing the bang-up job I'm doing now. It could be he really was more concerned with keeping Frank than with replacing him. Or it could be that he just didn't feel like thinking about it just then. Who knows?
Dr. Balis: Hmm. So what happens now?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I talked to Frank about it last week. He said he's going to have to start campaigning for me. Of course there'll be a formal search for a new CFO--all the usual stuff--and the board will make the final decision. Frank will campaign to Lloyd and to the board. But it turns out that my CFO deal isn't the sure thing I thought it was.
Dr. Balis: You might not get the job?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah. I am the leading contender, though.
Dr. Balis: Do you think you'll stay on if they hire someone else?
Ms. Lippard: We'll see. I'll work for Lloyd if I agree with how he handles things. I can still retire at fifty, if I stay in this position until then. And I've been starting to wonder--why do I even want the top job? Sure, I don't mind the politics, and the meetings, and all the other time-wasting crap I'd have to put up with. And the money is good. If we manage to keep growing, avoid falling into the sinkhole of acquisitions Lloyd seems to want to make, I'll be downright rich. But what for? What good is money and prestige if my life's empty?
Dr. Balis: Is your life empty?
Ms. Lippard: It's not full and satisfying, that's for sure. There is Phil and Jake, I suppose. But I've been chasing that corner office so long, it's like I forgot to do anything else on the way. Now that I have it--or almost have it--I realize that it's not what I want at all. Well, I mean it is but...shit, I don't know. I'm confused.
Dr. Balis: Are you saying that you are not getting the satisfaction that you'd expected from your material success?
Ms. Lippard: Yes! That's it, exactly. Here I thought I'd be at the top of the world, but it's empty, you know? I try to congratulate myself on my success, and all I get back from inside is: "Yeah, so what? Who are you? What are you in your heart and your soul?" And the answer is, "Nothing, really."
Dr. Balis: Do you really believe that's true, Katherine?
Ms. Lippard: Sure. What do I have to show for thirty-one years of life? A fat wallet and a shiny car. A ne'er-do-well boyfriend to spend my money on. Did I mention that I pay for almost everything now? I can't remember how that started happening. One day, he was a little short. Another day, he bought dinner and I bought the tickets. Another time, I decided to take him out. Now that the nights are getting cooler, we're taking my car usually. Besides, I'm over the motorcycle--the thrill is gone, you know? So now he tells me where and when, and I pick him up and take him out. But god, he's so charming, you know? And there's definitely chemistry there. I can be mad at him and disgusted with myself over it all as long as he's not there. But as soon as I hear his voice or see his face, I just melt. I'll do everything he wants and feel good about it at the time--everything is just right as rain. Then later, I realize he's leading me around by--well, by my hormones, I guess--and lose all respect for myself.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, you deserve a lot of respect. You've achieved this level of career success because you're very intelligent, organized, and self-motivated. You've stood by your brother through thick and thin, supporting him all the way, and he obviously thinks a great deal of you. You've been trying to develop a lifestyle based on a strong set of morals and beliefs. Why, the very fact that you're seeking therapy is a proof that you have the insight to realize your own dissatisfaction and the will to do something about it.
Ms. Lippard: Huh. Well...hmm.
Dr. Balis: Katherine, you have a tendency to be very hard on yourself. You haven't made many mistakes in your career, have you?
Ms. Lippard: No, I haven't. Damn few. Work hard and think things through and you can avoid most mistakes.
Dr. Balis: That may be true in the business world, but you're doing something much harder now. You're working to develop a whole new Katherine Lippard. And you're starting pretty much from scratch. Mistakes will be made; plans might not work out. You're dealing with people now and not numbers in the office. And people are much harder to predict than stocks and annuities.
Ms. Lippard: Boy, you're right on that. know, you have to look past the corporate image, dig into a company's books--even it's managers--before you can make a good stock pick. This can take weeks of research: sometimes getting at the information that some people don't want you to see and finding out what the board really wants in spite of what the mission statement says. I guess people can be like that, too.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Lippard: You know what I mean, Doctor Balis. You brought it up.
Dr. Balis: I'm interested in hearing how you work it out.
Ms. Lippard: Okay. Sometimes a person is not who they seem to be. The image they project is just what they want people to see so they'll make an investment--like when I pretended to like danger and adventure so Jake will keep seeing me. But if you dig in deeper, get to know the person, you may find that it's a bad investment; they have no new products lines, no plans for expansion, no real vision. No matter now good they look to the public, the stock is going nowhere.
Dr. Balis: I see. And this applies to Jake?
Ms. Lippard: Well, sort of, I guess. But I was thinking more of me. I have a great image--successful, in control, strong, and aggressive. But there's no sound plan, no reason to think that I haven't reached the top of the cycle, and my stock has nowhere to go.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. I don't know about that. What are you doing here? Aren't you creating new product lines, planning for expansion, gaining vision? Wouldn't you be a great investment as a turn-around candidate?
Ms. Lippard: Damn, Doctor Balis. I didn't think you were following all that. Hmm, I guess I am. Hell, if Chrysler can turn around, I guess I can. Hey, that's another good analogy--you're my "government bailout!"
Dr. Balis: I'm not sure I appreciate that, but I understand what you mean.
Ms. Lippard: Oh, don't be insulted. The government bought Chrysler the time to make the necessary changes. So, I guess I need a new vision. You know, I'm more of a start-up than a turn-around. I'm not changing who I am, I'm building from scratch.
Dr. Balis: Not entirely from scratch; you have a wealth of experience to draw on. How about a spin-off? You have one life--a business life--now you're making another.
Ms. Lippard: Like Saturn from G.M. Different philosophies, but both very successful.
Dr. Balis: Yes. I'm afraid our time is about up, Katherine.
Ms. Lippard: Huh. Damn, what a change. I have a new hope, Doctor Balis! But...
Dr. Balis: Yes?
Ms. Lippard: I didn't get to talk about Jake like I wanted to. Can we take a few more minutes?
Dr. Balis: I'm afraid not. I have another patient waiting. But we can make another appointment if you want to come back before next Wednesday.
Ms. Lippard: Um, I'll have to check my calendar. I'll call you.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Goodbye, Katherine.
Ms. Lippard: Goodbye, Doctor Balis.
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