Dear Ms Jones
I feel that I owe you a personal response to the question that you asked yesterday evening, though it is a response that will displease you as much as it embarrasses me.
The question was not, I understand, meant for my ears, and I apologize for my unintentional eavesdropping. As you may be aware, my fellow board members have never seen fit to make specific provision for me, and the board facilities remain exclusively male. It was for this reason only that I overheard you, and I fully accept that you were speaking in private and in temper. You need have no concern that I would record or share a remark made under such circumstances.
You were quite right in suggesting that my vote against your board membership was motivated by fear, and by no means incorrect in your implication that your presence on the board – your hunger, your intelligence, and your experience – might well be seen as threatening to existing members. To my certain knowledge at least one vote against you was motivated by that fear, but not mine. I have always thrived on challenge. That line is no mere rhetorical flourish on my CV.
The other thing that I have always done, throughout my career, is stand out. I have been one of a kind, and I have learnt to turn that to my advantage, and to play the game. However, as you said, I am old. Too young to retire, but too old to start afresh, and what this ‘old bat’ is afraid of is this:
With your presence on the board I would be no longer one of a kind, but merely outnumbered. That is a game I do not know how to play.
I have been away from #Visdare for a while, and I have failed badly on brevity. However, I hadn’t the heart (or the energy) to cut Ms deVere’s apology by half. For shorter peices on the ‘Outnumbered‘ theme, and to see the prompt that inspired me, I urge you to follow the link.