Jay was her father’s primary caregiver and a few years ago, when his Alzheimer’s grew too much for her to handle, she put him into a home. They asked her to fill out a 20-page questionnaire. This made no sense to her: who would ever remember 20 pages of hand written data points for the more than 150 residents there? She was journalist, instead she wrote down his story. They loved it, remembered it; it transformed his care. The experience led Jay to leave her high profile job as Washington correspondent for TIME Magazine and start MemoryWell, a network of more than 300 journalists writing the life stories of those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in order to improve their care.
Executive office has proven the hardest glass ceiling to break. Less than 5% of Fortune 1000 CEOs are women, just 18% of America’s mayors, 12% of governors and, of course, zero presidents. There’s a huge body of research that shows, whether it’s a legislature, a corporate board, a Navy ship, or an appellate court, when women reach between 20-30% of the leadership at any given organization it’s a tipping point and they begin to change how things are done – for the better. Jay shows where we’re reaching that tipping point – all three branches of the government – and the areas where we not – such as Silicon Valley and Wall Street, and why it’s important for us to get to critical mass across the board.
We are in the midst of a once-in-a-500-year information revolution. Not since the invention of the printed press has the world been so disrupted. Smart phones are changing the way Americans hail cabs, book hotels and, of course, consume news. And they want to see their government equally disrupted. The problem is the bureaucracy was built by founding fathers who viewed rapid change as akin to tyranny: they imposed checks and balances to ensure deliberation. We are just at the beginning of this war between two immutable forces, disruption and government, which will define our democracy for centuries to come.
Jay Newton-Small is the co-founder of Memory Well, an online platform that empowers caregivers to provide compassionate, empathic care. She is a former Washington correspondent for TIME and is the author of Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works. Newton-Small writes about everything from Washington politics to foreign policy and national trends. She has covered stories on five continents for TIME from conflicts in the Middle East to the earthquake in Haiti to the Scottish independence movement and the Charlie Hebdo and Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. She has covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns for TIME, as well as Congress and the White House. She has written more than half a dozen TIME cover stories and contributed to dozens of others. She has interviewed numerous heads of state, including Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as senators, governors and foreign dignitaries.
Before TIME, Newton-Small was a reporter for Bloomberg News, where she covered the White House, Congress and the 2004 presidential campaign. She is a regular contributor on MSNBC and CNN, and continues to contribute to TIME.
Newton-Small received an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and a double B.S. in International Relations and Art History from Tufts University. She was a 2015 Harvard Institute of Politics fellow and is a 2016 New America fellow. The daughter of two United Nations diplomats, she grew up abroad, living in such places as Asia, Africa and Europe. She is fluent in French.