Brenda Barnes, the former CEO of Sara Lee died a few weeks ago at the age of 63.
She became famous by quitting her job at PepsiCo in 1997 because she wanted to spend more time with her three children – and yes, the company tried hard to keep her.
She served on some boards of powerful companies while taking the time to devote to her children.
Then in 2004 she returned to the corporate world full-time at Sarah Lee and rose to CEO a year later.
But in 2010, Brenda Barnes had a stroke that ended her career.
Like mom, her daughter Erin quit her job at Campbell Soup to help her mother.
At Sarah Lee Barnes introduced a program called “Returnships”, temporary jobs for people out of work to fill the gap on their resumes. The Wall Street Journal quoted Brenda Barnes as saying “They didn’t lose their brains” even though a lot of companies would never hire them.
Brenda Barnes died as a result of a second stroke.
Before she died she said that women couldn’t have it all, they had to pick and choose.
Somehow, it feels like Brenda Barnes had it all.
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