I recently attended a meeting sponsored by Women’s Weekly, an organization that connects high accomplishing women in the Washington, D.C. area. Judith Wilson founded the organization, herself a highly accomplished leader in the D.C. business and nonprofit communities.
The title of the meeting was Break Your Own Rules, as the principal speaker was Mary Holt, co-author (along with her business partners at Flynn, Heath and Holt Leadership) of the book with the same title and a N. Y. Times bestseller. Their goal is to move women and organizations forward, faster. Mary’s background is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Time Life.
In addition to Mary who discussed, Elizabeth Griffith, Senior Associate Dean of MBA programs at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, with an impressive background of leadership of important philanthropic and educational organizations, spoke and asked Mary questions about her book.
I was happy I attended this discussion as Mary’s messages rung so true to me, and likely even truer to the 50 women in attendance.
Here are brief headings of just some Mary’s messages, which she discussed in greater detail. Clearly, Mary inspired the women at the meeting to raise their sites and “go get it.”
- Proceed until apprehended
- Go ahead and do it, don’t ask for permission
- Use your empowerment
- Show up in meetings, speak up, and ask great questions
- Don’t hesitate to take center stage
- Get to meetings early, and stay around after to network
- Be prepared, always
- Step up at bat, take important assignments
- Play to win, not play it safe
- Stretch yourself
- Learn to play golf
- Network, get into the C-suite area where you’ll speak with people important to your career advancement
While these summary notes do not do justice to Mary’s messages, I hope you sense the encouragement she offered. Great messages to women and men.
I am just starting to read Break Your Own Rules, and am excited, as I was highly motivated by Mary and Elizabeth’s messages and expect that the book will only heighten my enthusiasm.
I did discuss the book with a friend, an accomplished finance professional. She observed that she felt some of the messages are not for her, that she feels there is too much self-promoting. She herself tends towards introversion, and I can readily see how she would not be comfortable with some of the go for it, stand up for yourself, take center stage messages. Yet, there still are important take-a-ways and a good middle ground for even the introverted. We do need to own our career advancement and not be taken for granted.
I think this book is a good read for women in business, and I hope a lot of men who are on the C-Suites will read it as well so that they understand and can be helpful to women working their way through male-dominated leadership environments and rules set by men.
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