By Scott Francis
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and recent author Carly Fiorina was lightly psychoanalyzed in front of a room of around 125 at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y Sunday night.
The interviewer/analyst, psychotherapist Dr. Gail Saltz, started at the beginning of Fiorina's life, making observations on her childhood before getting around to questions.
Fiorina remained graceful and composed throughout, even when subjected to questions like "Do you feel the peak of your life has occurred?" (This was quickly revised to a more accessible "What do you see coming?") She touched on interests in public interest, leadership, and business, but made no mention of her latest possible move, entering the political realm.
The audience questions showed more interest in inspiration than intrigue. There were no questions about pretexting, spying, or HP ex-chairwoman Patricia Dunn. She got a daytime-talk-show clapping round when she said, in reference to Fortune's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" list, "I don't think, frankly, it helps women at all to be numbered one to fifty and never get to play with the guys."
Other noteworthy lines:
Dr. Saltz, following up Fiorina's discussion of the strip club incident [in which Fiorina, frustrated that her male co-workers went to a strip club, joined them]: "In academic medicine, a group of doctors don't meet at a strip club. I could be wrong, but I think it's less likely a group of lawyers meet at a strip club. So, what does that say about the business world?"
Fiorina, explaining why she didn't sue HP for wrongful dismissal: "Probably not my style...you know, in truth, I walked away with a lot of money."