Fortuna audaces iuvat

I’ve done everything I can to cultivate courage in my character. It took substantial bravery to become Emily. I apply that same courage in love and business too.

I live by Virgil’s motto “Fortune favors the bold.” But I prefer the original Latin form, “Fortuna audaces iuvat”, where Fortuna is personified—as a goddess. This adds a spiritual competent to my bravery ethic.

There is a bipolar component as well: Sometimes I confuse intelligent risk and reckless behavior. This usually accompanies the highs and lows of my mood profile. (See my post “scoring my MMPI-2 assessment for both sexes” for a discussion of my absurdly high level of disconstraint for a woman). To attenuate this situation, I’ve learned to make decisions involving risk a little more slowly. But immediately upon concluding a risk is prudent, I execute with full audacity.

Back to the spiritual element: I firmly believe God helps those who initiate action. Helping one’s self means stepping into and staying in motion when there is a problem, letting God illuminate the path as one goes. It takes courage to take each step. It takes faith. To me faith and bravery tightly link.

I’ve burned bridges with my audacity; made mistakes. But for the most part my development of nerve as a major feature of my character enriches my life beyond measure.

And sometimes there is nothing to lose. I needed to become Emily, whether I possessed the daring to or not. So I claimed the requisite daring.

At work, I coach my interns and mentees in the following formula for risk-taking: For 90% of the risks you take, nothing consequential happens. Null program. 5% of the risks you take result in falling completely on your ass. Badly. Close to losing your job or reputation bad. (This is mitigated through development of diplomacy skills, but that is another discussion). But the outcome of the remaining 5% is so beneficial and so powerful that it makes that other 5%’s outcome worth it.

Courage is a skill. Practice it. Cultivate it!

Do this before you change your gender. (You’ll need it). Continue doing it after.

HRC Corporate Equality Index correlates with Fortune’s 50 most admired companies

The Human Right’s Campaign, one of America’s largest civil rights groups, scores companies in its yearly Corporate Equality Index (CEI) according to their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees [1]. The companies automatically evaluated are the Fortune 1000 and American Lawyer’s top 200. Additionally, any sufficiently large private sector organization can request inclusion in the CEI [2].

Similarly, Fortune Magazine publishes an annual list of 50 of the world’s most admired companies [3]. Companies are rated by financial health, stock performance, leadership effectiveness, customer sentiment, scandals, and social responsibility.

I became curious whether CEI scores correlate with membership in Fortune’s most admired list, so I matched the two datasets and analyzed the outcome. The results (below) are striking. Code implementing the calculations, with the source data, is attached.


Plotting the CEI score distributions by whether a company was included in Fortune’s list produced:

From this difference in distributions it is clear that the status of being “most admired” correlates with a high CEI score, though there are a few outliers. In the distribution on the left, we see that over 50% of the companies in Fortune’s list held the top CEI score of 100, whereas only 25% of the companies not contained in Fortune’s held the top score. The median score for the most admired group was 100 while for the companies not included in Fortune’s list it is about 80. Over 80% of the most admired companies scored 90 or above. The variance is much wider for the companies not included on the list. Statistical analysis comparing the two groups, detailed below, confirms the correlation.

While correlation does not imply causality, this analysis suggests two things: First, the type of leadership necessary to achieve a high CEI score is the same type of leadership that leads to inclusion in Fortune’s most admired companies group. Second, any company aspiring to membership in the most admired group might consider developing its CEI score.

There is one possible source of bias, but I don’t expect that it is large: “Social responsibility” is used in Fortune’s rankings, which may include CEI scores (I don’t know). However, Fortune’s emphasis on financial health and stock price probably trumps any contribution that the CEI would generate alone. Furthermore, in the CEI score distribution for the most admired companies, there are outliers containing extremely low scores. This suggests that the CEI played little if any role in the selection of most admired companies.


I manually copied and pasted the company names and scores from the CEI online database [1]. Then I cleaned up the results to create a manageable CSV file. Similarly, I copied and pasted the Fortune 50 most admired company list [3] into another CSV file. After that, I matched the two datasets by hand. Perhaps I could have performed the match algorithmically, but I would have had to worry about different representations of company names between the two datasets, e.g. “3M Co.” vs. “3M”. There was only 50 cases so the manual match did not take long.

Two cases in Fortune’s list had to be excluded, BMW and Singapore Airlines, because they were not included in the CEI, possibly because they are based outside the USA. In the case of two other non-US companies in Fortune’s list, Toyota and Volkswagen, I matched to Toyota Motor Sales USA and Volkswagen Group of America, respectively.

Finally, I plotted the CEI score distributions shown above and performed the statistical analysis reported below using the attached Python code.

Statistical Analysis

The extreme difference in variance between the two groups makes it impossible to compare medians using a non-parametric test, and the distribution of the CEI scores does not lend itself to a clean regression analysis. Therefore I built the following contingency table from the data:

The p-value for this table obtained from Fisher’s exact test is 4.53e-08, indicating that the proportions are significantly different.



Code and Data