What Hath Jill Barad Wrought?

Having worked with Mattel CEO Jill Barad, I have only accolades for her ("The rise of Jill Barad," Cover Story, May 25). She is able to combine her multifaceted talents with prodigious hard work and unbelievable stamina. She is sensitive to others and has a wonderful sense of humor about her own foibles. She is adored by her family as well as dedicated employees who are willing to go the extra mile for her. She demands a lot but leads by giving more. Her impromptu talks and speeches are inspirational. Your report accurately zeroed in on one remarkable woman.

Andrea Bell

Los Angeles

The energy, enthusiasm, and drive of Jill Barad described in your story bowled me over. Her ambition and desire to succeed were contagious, and I could not wait to show this article to my 16-year-old daughter. Then, in describing her husband's activities working on infomercials and a feature film, a sentence reads: "Last year, his company pulled in $691,000 from Mattel for a Barbie spot."

This stopped me cold. Does Mattel not have guidelines for ethical and proper business practices and for conflicts of interest? If not, what about the appearance of impropriety? Where is the board on something like this? Is $23 million in compensation and options on 4.9 million Mattel shares so insufficient that Barad has to funnel another nearly $700,000 to her husband?

Robert A. Adams

Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.

Scurrying through O'Hare International Airport last week, we were stunned to see the new University Barbie advertising. Apparently, the Barbie who goes to college isn't dressed in a lab coat or nursing outfit, doesn't come with a laptop or a professor's pointer. Barbie is dressed in cheerleader garb, complete with pom-poms. Is this the message that detail-oriented, aggressive Jill Barad wants to send to the young women of our future?

R. Paul Herman and Gayle A. Keck

San Francisco