Stephanie Butler is executive director at Children’s Museum
 
The Children’s Museum of Memphis has named Stephanie Butler as executive director. She succeeds former Memphis mayor Dick Hackett who retired last year. 
 
Butler will direct all museum functions including education, community relations, operations and development, including raising funds for the museum’s recent expansion. 
 
“We feel that her experience, vision and business strengths will be an asset to the museum,” says Bridgette Speake, president of the museum’s board of trustees. “We’ve hired the ultimate people person who can take on challenges, inspire the staff and supporters, and lead the museum into a bright future.” 
 
Butler is a graduate of Rhodes College and Columbia Business School in New York (M.B.A.) and John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC (M.A.). Her career has focused on community service, particularly in the Memphis area. She has experience in family and corporate philanthropy and program development, with past leadership roles at organizations such as Hyde Family Foundation and FedEx. Previously she was chief strategy officer at United Way of the Mid-South, working in fundraising and grantmaking. She also guided the design and launch of United Way’s Driving The Dream initiative, which engages local agencies to support families in poverty.
 
Building materials rising in cost
 
Construction costs escalated in February, driven by price increases for a wide range of building materials including steel and aluminum, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of recent Labor Department data. AGCA says newly imposed tariffs on those metals will create steeper increases that will squeeze budgets for infrastructure, school districts and commercial projects.
 
“Price increases have accelerated for many construction materials in the last two years, with additional increases already announced, and others on the way as soon as tariffs on steel and aluminum take effect,” says the association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson. “Contractors will be forced to pass these cost increases along in bid prices, but that will mean fewer projects get built. And contractors that are already working on projects for which they have not bought some materials are at risk of absorbing large losses.”
 
Small biz confidence
 
Small business owners are feeling good about the economy as the optimism index continues at record high numbers, rising to 107.6 in February, according to the recently released National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Small Business Economic Trends Survey. The historically high numbers include a jump in small business owners increasing capital outlays and raising compensation.
 
“When small business owners have confidence and certainty in the economy, they’re able to hire more workers and invest in their businesses,” says NFIB president and CEO Juanita Duggan. “The historically high readings indicate that policy changes – lower taxes and fewer regulations – are transformative for small businesses. After years of standing on the sidelines and not benefiting from the so-called recovery, Main Street is on fire again.”
 
State-specific data is unavailable, but Tennessee’s NFIB director Jim Brown says, “What we’re hearing is that our members think this is a great time for them to add jobs and grow their businesses.”
 
For the first time since 2006, taxes received the fewest votes as the No. 1 business problem for small business. The February report shows several components of the Index reached noteworthy highs. In a sign that small businesses are confident and expect growth, a net 22 percent of owners are planning to raise worker compensation and 66 percent reported capital outlays, up five points from January and the highest reading since 2004.
 
Women’s progress by the numbers
 
As March is Women’s History Month, IT executive Monica Eaton-Cardone (co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911) decided to examine the progress females have made in the workforce and look at opportunities for growth.
 
In 2016, women in the U.S. labor force reached a record high of 74.4 million according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those figures also say that women now represent 47 percent of the U.S. workforce and more than 50 percent of all management, professional and related occupations, including 55 percent of business/financial operations jobs and 57 percent of professional and related careers. 
 
Women still remain underrepresented in leadership, finance and technology roles, however.
 
Females account for just 27.3 percent of chief executives, 25.5 percent of computer and math specialists, and 14.2 percent of architects and engineers. Only 20 percent of U.S. senators/representatives are women, ranking the United States No. 104 globally. The International Monetary Fund reports that in banking, less than 20 percent of board members and 2 percent of CEOs are women.
 
Eaton-Cardone says women have made tremendous strides in recent decades, but still have a long way to go to collectively achieve their true potential.
 
She cites several reasons to feel optimistic about women’s professional outlook:
 
– Among Fortune 500 companies, 3 women CEOs have cracked the top 50: Mary Barra of General Motors, Ginni Rometty of IBM and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo. 
– 160-plus financial services firms have signed onto the UK’s Women in Finance Charter and pledged to have women fill at least 30 percent of senior roles by 2021.
– While traditional finance firms may be slow to promote women, Innovate Finance named 369 game-changing female leaders in its Women in FinTech Powerlist, including the CEOs of NASDAQ, Capital One UK, and Digital Asset Holdings.
If there’s bad boss mojo…
 
A recently published study led by researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University found that when given the opportunity to stick pins in a voodoo doll of their boss, employees reported lower levels of hostility to their employer as well as improved cognition.
 
Jack Skeen, Fortune 500 CEO coach and author of “The Circle Blueprint: Decoding the Conscious and Unconscious Factors that Determine Your Success,” says employees with hidden aggression and bitterness towards their boss don’t think as clearly or perform to their best standards.
 
“It’s healthy and normal to experience anger, and leaders need to find a time and place for employees to be able to come clean about these feelings in a way that is cathartic, healing and useful,” he says.
Power Players

 
Inside Memphis Business publishes a list of local Power Players every year. These are the movers and shakers in more than 30 categories who get things done in their respective fields. IMB’s next issue in April will have the complete list. We also publish individual categories in other issues throughout the year, and now we’re featuring individual Power Players in our Tip Sheet. 
 
Today’s Power Player in the Information Technology category: Nick Gant
President and founder, Gant Systems. Actively managing clients in six states. Offering managed IT services, cloud, backup and disaster recovery solutions. Formed company in 2007 and has grown to perennially recognized high performing small business.  Microsoft SMB Champion Partner. Previously helped build Business Continuity Program for First Tennessee Bank. Current board chair, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of West Tennessee. Executive board member, Clean Memphis. Former board member, Building Greater Communities, Inc. “Top 40 Under 40.”