Recently, a beloved Families and Work Institute colleague, Terry Bond, decided to retire and the Institute’s president Ellen Galinsky penned an inspiring tribute about how he’s changed the organization and the work-family field.
Here’s Galinsky’s letter she wrote to Bond about his amazing career:
In July 2015—after 25 years—you retired from the Families and Work Institute, but not from our lives and our hearts, and not from your history-making role in the field of work-family research.
Twenty-five years ago began our official work together, but you inspired and shaped the work-family field long before that.
You have always been visionary.
As Director of Research at the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, your push—along with others—to have the Perry Preschool Project calculate the Return on Investment of its quality preschool program has set the foundation for this country’s investment in Pre-K.
Though some people may not recognize you as the hero you are, you have truly helped to change the trajectory for millions and millions of children and families in the United States.
You have always taken a two-generational perspective—children and families.
As founding Director of the National Council of Jewish Women’s Center for the Child, your 1987 study of Mothers in the Workplace was a first of its kind, documenting the experiences of mothers—from pregnancy through childbirth and after birth. You understood that a focus on children of necessity includes two- or multi-generational focus that includes their families.
And in an era when work-family was seen as synonymous with large corporations, you included mothers who worked in all kinds of organizations—from small to large. The Chicago Tribune wrote at the time that there is no question that women will be part of the productive economy now and in the future. “We should not have to stop and think whether we should have children—or a job.” Breakthrough thinking then, but commonplace now, thanks in so many ways to you.
Your research has always been concerned with those in the greatest need.
As Deputy Director of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, you brought public attention to low-income families and children by conducting public policy analyses and field-based research on maternal and child health, on early care and education, on welfare reform, and the demographics of child and family poverty.
As we read the headlines today about the push for an increase in the minimum wage or about achievement gap between lower and higher income children and those headlines don’t blame people for being poor but describe the cycle of poverty, we can thank you for your part in shifting the focus away from the blame game and toward an understanding of what living in poverty does to people.
Twenty-five years ago, you joined the Families and Work Institute and there is simply no accomplishment we have had during these years that doesn’t reflect your wisdom, your insight, and your rigor.
You have shaped the Families and Work Institute’s research agenda for 25 years.
The National Study of the Changing Workforce—the ongoing, nationally representative studies of the U.S. workforce, which have gained a prominent place among the seminal studies in this country—could be called the Bond studies of employees
The National Study of Employers—the ongoing, nationally representative studies of U.S. workplaces and the programs and policies that respond to the changing needs of employers and employers—could be called the Bond studies of employers.
The series of studies we have done on the low-wage workforce could be called the Bond program of the Families and Work Institute.
You are the consummate researcher.
When you wrote me a letter this month about retiring, you said, “It has been 25 years since we engaged in our first joint project—Beyond the Parental Leave Debate—begun in 1990 and published in 1991.”
You took on a study that was a political hot potato—the impact of state parental leave legislation on employees and employers a few years before the Family and Medical Leave Act was passed and signed into law. You re-analyzed and re-analyzed the data so that there was no possibility of mistakes and you framed the findings in a way that they could be understood and respected by opponents and proponents of parental leave laws. It was the first of many of your tour de forces with us.
You wrote to me, “Can you believe that we have knocked heads for a quarter of a century?” You call it knocking heads, but I call it having the most worthy colleague ever. Like a good game of tennis, I have truly loved working with you because your skills are world-class.
- Our studies have been on target because of the profound research questions you ask.
- Our studies have been deeper because you don’t stop seeking answers.
- Our studies have been respected because of the rigor of your approach.
- Our studies have been newsworthy because you have your fingers on the pulse.
There are so many words I would use to describe you: ethical, caring, generous, super smart, and fun, fun, fun to work with!
You wrote me, “Please think of me from time to time as you continue to do timely amazing work.”
This letter back to you is my attempt to tell others how important you are to the history of research on children and families and work and family.
And don’t think that it’s just all fishing from now on. As we have talked about many times, we will find ways to work together now and in the future.