The Male Perspective: Women’s Roles

Name: Don Hadley
Age: 74
Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa
Job: Owner, O&B Shoes (3 locations in Rochester)
Family: Jeannine, and six children, 18 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren

PAM: How have women’s changing roles in society helped relationships?


DON: I’m surrounded by more women than men. Women love shoes, and both of our buyers are women, as are our store managers.

Without women, I wouldn’t function too well. I’m fortunate to have women who understand what work is all about. We’re ranked first or second every year in the state of Minnesota as an independent shoe store. Why does that happen? It’s the women who work here.

PAM: Your business really relies on women?

DON: I always tell anyone who works at O&B, “I work for you.” Our employees are all people persons. And the responsibilities are shared by every individual working in the store. Sixty percent of our business is non-Rochester residents, people from all over the world. What do you do? Make them feel at home.

PAM: How do you and Jeannine partner in the business?

DON: She has her responsibilities, and I have mine. As long as I’m doing my job well, she’s happy with me. She works four days a week, and I work seven days a week.

PAM: How do you determine household tasks and chores?

DON: My wife lets me wear the pants. Today she told me to wear these black ones [laughs]. My wife does most of the work at home, but she lets me take out the garbage. 

PAM: I see the business card you had made for her.

DON: Her business card says Secretary of State on it. That’s probably the only conflict we had, when I got those cards for her. The employees call me “boss” when I’m here. What do they call me when I’m not? I have no idea.

PAM: How about equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender?

DON: Women are equally paid here. O&B has always paid at or above minimum wage, even before minimum wage was invented. The women here are well-versed in the world of fashion, and they are paid well. They are making a living wage. 

PAM: It sounds like you have a good power balance in your business.

DON: The women buyers make the decisions; I don’t. Because of that, the last seven years of business have been the best seven years we’ve ever had as a company. Who can I blame for that? [Laughs.] Women!

PAM: Do women make better buyers for shoes?

DON: Absolutely. Our two female buyers go to the big shoe shows, two or three times a year. They stay updated on everything in our field, they analyze the trends and they make good decisions. 

PAM: Any plans to retire?

DON: I don’t ever plan to retire…unless I’m pushed out by women. Here at O&B, work is fun.


Name: Dr. Jarrod Brennan
Age: 38
Hometown: Hinckley, Minnesota
Job: Owner, Brennan Family Chiropractic and Nutrition Center
Family: Dr. Melissa Brennan and five children

PAM: How have women’s rights and changing roles in society helped relationships?

JARROD: Women have more ability to get out in society and interact. Look at old TV shows: The mom was at home, in the home. Now women have freedoms and new roles, especially in entrepreneurism. Think about it: Even when women stay at home, they’re often starting home-based businesses.

PAM: How do you and your wife, who’s also a chiropractor, balance work and home life?

JARROD: We have a unique situation at work. We’re fortunate that each of us only works half days at the office. When I’m at home with the kids, she’s here seeing patients, and vice versa. So we both play with the kids; we both home school them. That gives each of us an opportunity to connect and bond with the kids.

We’re working hard to build a staff that can duplicate what we do, so we don’t always have to be here [in order for the business to run]. 

PAM: How do you partner at home?

JARROD: She’s the organizer. I’m more of the direction maker. If I come up with an idea, she knows how to make it happen. 

In any relationship, there needs to be open communication. You need to be able to ask for help too. Both [people] should have a willingness to get things accomplished.

PAM: How do you and Melissa balance power and roles in the marriage?

JARROD: We take each other’s strengths and go from there. Melissa is the finance person at our house, mainly because she didn’t like the way I handled it. I do the grocery shopping, and I do the cooking. 

Marriage is not a “that’s your job, this is my job” arrangement anymore. I think it’s a mixture of things. That takes the stress off each other, and then [marriage] becomes more of a partnership.

PAM: How do you balance work and family? How do you find down time?

JARROD: Things never stop. [Laughs.] Welcome to the business world. If you’re a Type A personality, you may need to schedule your down time and make that a priority. Because the work will still be there tomorrow and the day after that. There’s always something to do. 

We put a lot of time and effort into our work, but we also spread our three or four weeks of vacation time throughout the year. That way, we always have something to look forward to. We’ve taken the time to train and develop a capable staff, so we can leave the business in capable hands. And we’re only a phone call away.

PAM: How did you end up with a prominently female staff?

JARROD: Our staff is largely women. Who’s going to be more communicative? The front desk staff and the patient advocates need to be very communicative. There is a natural flow here, both in terms of how the staff serves our patients and how we communicate as a team. I see a lot of willingness and initiative in my staff. We value that.