The last several months I’ve been touring the country, meeting with women in various industries and discussing their corporate experiences. This journey started out as my book tour for Suits: A Woman on Wall Street (www.ninagodiwalla.com), but I quickly became enamored by the bigger issue Suitsraised: What does this mean for women in Corporate America? While on tour, one of the most interesting discussions we had was with the Wharton Club of Boston, where the room was a healthy mix of both men and women. We each shared some of our beliefs of gender bias. One man gave us some insight into a particular corporate culture he said tended to work the women in the company harder than the men, often to the point that they wanted to leave the firm. It was quite surprising to hear. In our discussion we leaned heavily on some of the innovative research on women in the corporate world that has emerged from Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s Center for Work-Life Policy (CWLP).
After traveling for so long and discussing the many issues that women face, I’ve become more eager to share some of the solutions to succeeding. Recently, I found out about Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It , Lois Frankel’s latest book. It has been a great tool to help prep me before I give a keynote at a conference or speak to a large group of professional women. I love some of her snappy little tips such as “make like a broken record,” reminding women that it is okay to speak up and sometimes you have to say things many times before you’re heard. I reached out to Lois before publishing my book as I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to tell a story about what I found challenging on Wall Street. I remember asking her if that would be more harmful than helpful to future women. I really liked her response. Similar to her books, it was matter of fact and true. She reminded me that change agents make waves and that doesn’t come without debate. Now that I’ve spent the past six months in intense discussions around issues facing women in business, I’m grateful that we have thought leaders like Lois shaping our discussions.