Recently I had the great honor to be the keynote speaker at the MLive 2022 Women’s Summit in Detroit, MI. It was a wonderful experience and a true joy to be surrounded by a room full of bright, energized women entrepreneurs eager to learn and achieve and break down barriers in their lives, both professionally and personally. The title of my talk was "Leading Forward," because I feel that is so important today — encouraging women leaders, particularly women in business, to boldly pursue the best that they can be. You can watch and listen to my address here.
I am thrilled and honored that my book, Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business, was recently given the bronze award for Best Women in Business Book by Axiom Business Book Awards. (My first book, On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights, also won Axiom's bronze award.) Presented in 23 business categories, these prestigious and competitive awards serve as the premier list to help readers discover new and innovative works, says Axiom. Previous medalists include Nobel laureate Robert Shiller, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin. So I'm in good company.
11,000 business books are published each year. Why was mine honored?
If I had to choose a catchphrase for the world of work today, it would be a mashup of Back To The Future and The Fast And The Furious. It's not hard to see that the changes of tomorrow are coming fast (in many cases, they're already here), disrupting everything we thought we knew. For both employers and employees, the pandemic was the catalytic moment that transformed where and how we work, but the trends were there beforehand. I was recently interviewed on this topic by Authority magazine for its interview series, “Preparing For The Future Of Work,” and I shared my observations and predictions about the trends I'm seeing out in the field. I discuss many of them below, and you can read the entire interview here.
Photo courtesy of Julio Cortez/Associated Press
In the NFL, women are finally breaking through
In the February 4th issue of The New York Times, there was an article entitled, “These Women Were N.F.L. ‘Firsts.’ They’re Eager for Company.” It discusses the many “firsts” in the NFL from team CEO (Amy Trask of the Oakland Raiders) to coaches (Maral Javadifar, an assistant strength and conditioning coach, and Lori Locust, a defensive-line assistant, both for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) to referee (Sarah Thomas who officiated Sunday’s Super Bowl) to the front office (Callie Brownson, chief of staff for the Cleveland Browns). And yet for all the shattering of glass ceilings, these groundbreaking women long for the day that being females in previously male-only roles in the NFL will be no big deal. Said Amy Task, who in 1997 became the Oakland Raiders chief executive and the first woman of that rank in the NFL, “What is really going to excite me is when this is no longer aberrational or when this is no longer something that’s noteworthy.”
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
Last week there was big news concerning the NFL’s Super Bowl. Sarah Thomas — the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate a bowl game, the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium, the first full-time female official in NFL history and the first to officiate an NFL playoff game — has been named to the referee crew for the 2021 Super Bowl, having officiated NFL games since 2015. Talk about a glass ceiling being smashed! This puts a woman squarely in the arena of what has traditionally been a men-only sport.
As Thomas told Steve Wyche of NFL NFL Total Access, “If you grade out at the top of your game, and that’s what I want to do, every game I want to be at the top of my game, if that puts me #1 to work a Super Bowl, I want to earn it and I want to be there.”
Thomas has definitely earned it and definitely deserves to be there. For women officials everywhere, it’s about time!
I am thrilled to announce the upcoming publication of my new book, "Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business." In it, I share eleven case studies — including my own— of all different types of smart, accomplished women who were told they couldn't be a lawyer, or couldn't start their own business, or couldn't be a geoscientist. Guess what? They did it anyway. They smashed the myths of women in business and they became phenomenal successes.
I wrote this book, my second, because I feel it's time for women to rethink the journey they're on, what they can do or can't do, and their relationship with men. I recently got to talk about my book with Craig Gibson of Hometown Living on WSBT, who was a delight. You can watch and listen to our conversation by clicking on the image below.
Who do you think are the ones having a harder time adjusting to working at home during the pandemic, men or women? You may not be surprised (I wasn't) to learn that in general, it is the men who seem to find the home-based business environment the most unsettling, at least among the clients I've been talking with throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
As I discuss in my recent article for ceoworld.biz, in the beginning of the new "working from home" reality, women started out challenged at their changed home life, yet quickly found innovative ways to manage their daily lives, balancing their own needs with those who were counting on them. To read my entire article, click here.
Women and men: very different ways of coping with crisis and change
I have been researching my next book about successful women entrepreneurs and female business leaders. As I have dug into the lives of these women whom I've interviewed, I've realized that there have been countless women over the years who have pushed the boundaries for the times they were living in and broken through to achieve lasting impact.
Each month, I will share with you some of my “aha” moments when I learn about one of these amazing women. Their stories have led me to acknowledge and be grateful for their remarkable lives. Perhaps we should remember them more often. Celebrate their triumphs. Let them remind us of what we must do to continue opening doors to the future for our daughters and granddaughters, regardless of the hurdles we have to vault or the challenges we must confront—and there are certainly an abundance of those all around us.
For June, I wanted to share Helen Keller’s story with you.
A day filled with excitement and insights as women gather to launch the Simon Initiative for Entrepreneurship.
It is not every day that you get a chance to do what you really want to do! Andi and I have been fortunate. We have been successful entrepreneurs who grew our businesses and are now sharing our experiences with others to help them do the same.
After I sold my company, Andi and I decided to make a contribution to Washington University in St Louis, something which would have a long-term impact, a multiplier effect, by connecting people throughout the university and even into the surrounding communities.
While it started as just an idea, like other entrepreneurs we knew that if we worked hard enough on it, something exciting would emerge. The Simon Initiative for Entrepreneurship came out of a lot of good ideas from the talented people at Washington University.
What's my message to women entrepreneurs? You've come a long way, baby, but don't stop now because (male-oriented) corporate America is beginning to notice.
As proof, just look at the numbers:
- Women now make up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the U.S.
- In the last nine years, 2007 to 2016, there has been a 45% rise in women entrepreneurs (compared with a 9% increase in all entrepreneurs)
- More than 11 million businesses in the U.S. are woman-owned, employing nearly 9 million people and generating more than $1.6 trillion in revenue
Clearly, women are not just diving into business, they're doing it very successfully, as I discuss in my recent article for American Marketing Association. (Read it here.)
So how do successful women entrepreneurs do it? What's their secret sauce?
When women get the chance to build companies, they build them differently than their male counterparts. Women tend to intentionally create cultures that encourage collaboration, team-building and innovative thinking, without taking their eyes off bottom line results.
Also, when women scale a business, they focus on long-term sustainability, not just rapid growth. This focus informs marketing strategies and corporate priorities, and is an oft-repeated refrain we are hearing at SAMC in our interviews with women CEOs.