Bernice Cramer Head of Marketing, Product Management, and Sales Operations Bose Corporation

Grew up: St. Louis      

Now live in: Newton, MA

Current profession: I head up marketing, sales and product management for the noise reduction technology group at Bose in Framingham. For the last 5 years, I was 100% commuting for Plantronics for positions in California  and Pennsylvania,  so it’s really nice to be back in New England.

When I was 15, I thought my profession would be: a neuroscientist. I was very interested in how the brain works.

My dream job would be: ...pretty much what I have now. If not this, then probably as a neuroscience researcher; studying the interaction of the brain and the mind. I’m fascinated by the nature vs. nurture argument and the intersection of genes and the physical brain.

My nightmare job would be: Anything, anyplace, or anywhere where I’d be doing the same thing over and over again. I’m driven by learning and discovery and seem to find myself re-inventing myself over and over again. So anything that would stagnate that part of me would be a nightmare.

Role models and mentors: ...are pretty much the same to me and I’ve had a couple who have had particular impact. At The Boston Club there’s been Sandy Lawrence, an old and good personal friend whom I worked for at Polaroid. She taught me so many business lessons it’s tough to call out one or two, because just being around her often turned into a lesson of sorts. She’s a smart and courageous business person who understood so completely the balance of family and career.

Alice Buzzarte is another;  a woman I worked with when I was in Japan for 13 years. She came to Japan during the US Army occupation and served on the board of directors of an ad agency, virtually unheard of back then when women, and especially foreigners, weren’t exactly accepted in Japan, let alone embraced. She taught me the value of being as concerned for the people who cleaned the office as the CEO, and to treat people genuinely at all levels in an organization. This had a huge impact on me. It sounds simplistic, but these lessons made me a better person.

Best piece of professional advice I was ever given: From my last boss, Vicki Marion, CEO of Altec Lansing: “Never confuse the urgent and the important”. Today in business we have lots of pressure to achieve results, so much so that we end up doing things that seem urgent, but aren’t really important. I see it as our job as leaders and managers to help people differentiate between the two.

Best  book(s) read in the last year: I’m a huge reader and if I had books on a night table (I read on my Kindle and iPad) there would be a mixture of mystery and neuroscience books.  Recent favorites include:
“The Brain That Changes Itself”-about neuroplasticity, in which you can have a stroke and lose function and the brain can re-establish itself.
“Stroke of Insight”-by Jill Bolte-Taylor,
“Matterhorn”-by Karl Marlantes--an amazing work of fiction about the Vietnam War
“This Body of Death”-by Elizabeth George, my favorite mystery author!

Favorite Sound: From my thirteen years in Japan, the sound of the shakuhachi (bamboo flute).  It’s incredibly beautiful and evocative.

Least favorite sound: A leaf blower--it’s loud and pointless

One thing that most people don’t know about me: My avocation is making jewelry. Bose isn’t the kind of place you wear it, so I don’t, but you should see me on my days off!

My Boston Club moment: I remember being in a conversation at one point with a fellow Club member who was an attorney and we must have been talking about our jobs and kids and at one point she blurted out, “This is the one place I can come and not feel crazy.” We must have been feeling exactly the same, or had the same insane day, because we both just sat back and laughed--because aren’t we always asking ourselves “why do we try to do it all?” It reminds me of the time I was in a hotel room in Hong Kong on a business trip and, as head of the room parents for my son's whole school, I was sending out emails at midnight to arrange Valentine baskets for the classrooms. I guess that’s how we cannibalize our lives to manage it all.