Beth Comstock is GE’s First Female Vice Chair

GE Vice Chair Beth Comstock (Fast Company)

GE Vice Chair Beth Comstock (Fast Company)

Big news from a major corporation: Conglomerate General Electric named Beth Comstock a new Vice Chair. She oversees marketing for the company, becoming chief marketing officer in 2003. Oh yeah, she’s the first woman to hold the executive position (no big!). She joins three other men as her fellow vice chairs.

Comstock’s official title is Vice Chair of Business Innovations (pretty cool, huh?). Per “Fast Company,” here’s what the Business Innovations unit actually is and does:

[It] accelerates new business and helps established commercial ventures transition into GE’s technology universe. The Business Innovations arm houses GE Lighting, GE Ventures & Licensing, software commercialization and corporate marketing, sales, and communications.

Comstock is credited with helping GE focus on the future, in terms of the “industrial internet.” The concept marries data analysis with GE’s traditional, industrial products. CEO Jeff Immelt has called her “a catalyst for digital innovation and growth.”

I can’t wait to see how she’ll evolve GE into the future.

How Has Colorado’s Teen Pregnancy Rate Dropped 40% Within 4 Years?

IUD (NY Mag)

IUD (NY Mag)

Colorado’s teen pregnancy rate has been getting some attention recently. But it’s not for the reason you think; it’s actually for the opposite reason.

From 2009 to 2013, Colorado reported a 40% decrease in teenage pregnancies, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Below is a graph that shows the decline:

Colorado's Birth Rate 2005-2012 (The Washington Post)

Colorado’s Birth Rate 2005-2012 (The Washington Post)

That seems insane, right? But there’s actually an interesting reason behind it.

In 2008, an anonymous donor (later revealed to be the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after Warren Buffett’s late wife) gave a $23 gift to be parceled out over five years. The gift was to be used for “long-term contraception” for low-income teens and women. Over 30K intrauterine devices (IUDs) were purchased and implemented. This measure was rolled out in 68 clinics, as part of Colorado’s Family Planning Initiative.

The IUDs were found to be a very significant factor in the state’s teen pregnancy decline. The study released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showed that “the percentage of young women receiving IUDs and implants quadrupled in participating clinics,” and, in a complementary effect, the women receiving IUDs accounted for 75% of the state’s overall teen birth rate decline.

On a national scale, Colorado rose from having the “29th lowest teen birth rate in the nation to the 19th.” This is significant as seven in 10 teen pregnancies in the state are unplanned.

The program expires this summer, and it’s unclear whether it will be renewed. But the numbers definitely speak for themselves in terms of effectiveness.

 

 

The New Abercrombie & Fitch Will Feature Less Sex (NSFW)

'A&F Quarterly' Spring Break Issue 2001 (Kline Books)

‘A&F Quarterly’ Spring Break Issue 2001 (Kline Books)

Happy Friday! If you’re in your mid-20s or older, you probably remember (and hell, wore) some Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) back in the day. The stylishly distressed, yet massively overpriced, clothes were a status signifier back in middle and high school, when everyone wanted to be part of the cool crowd (which was comprised solely of all-American, apple-cheeked near-Aryans). And of course, who can forget those sex-drenched ads and catalogs?

The A&F of yore will now be changing that particular aspect. According to “The Washington Post,” the chain will no longer hire “models” (their term for sales associates) based on “body type or physical attractiveness.” They’ll also phase out the “sexualized marketing” (suggestive ads, shirtless models at storefront openings) by July.

This all comes as A&F tries to revamp its image, and project a more inclusive one. Former CEO Mike Jeffries was known for promoting the brand as exclusionary to everyone but his coveted “cool crowds,” and didn’t offer larger sizes. He stepped down from his post last December. The move came amid reports that the retailer’s shares have decreased 39% over the past year, and profits shrunk 5%+ last year.

It’ll be interesting to see if A&F can actually pull off this drastic brand reinvention, and if consumers will respond to it.