Wednesday, December 29, 2004

More Women (and People of Color) Are Occupying the Top Seats At Big Companies?

In Computerworld

Interesting ...

"What's more, the few minority executives who are ready to step into top-level roles have other choices. Early retirement or entrepreneurship often is more appealing than joining the senior ranks of a corporation that's trying to diversify. "Why work twice as hard to get half as far?" is a common refrain among many highly paid minority managers in their 40s and 50s. "

To read the entire article, visit: Recruiters scout minority talent to help their clients diversify

Thursday, December 23, 2004

A Simple Year-End Tribute To Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Escaped From Corporate America With Much Success

In The Salem News

Anyone NEVER had a desire to own a business? Then I am surprised you are reading this blog but since you are, let me reassure you that some day, you just might become an entrepreneur. Particularly after you read this short but "sweet" story about a woman who promised herself never to own her own company because her parents did (must have been a struggle). Fast-forward twenty-five years and this same woman runs a $3 million chocolate candy company!

Find out how longtime women entrepreneurs built their businesses to success and overcame obstacles in the process: Working women: Longtime entrepreneurs reflect on their experiences

Friday, December 17, 2004

Celebrating Women's Achievements and Possibilities

In Knowledge at Wharton (K@W)

Wharton Women in Business celebrated its 25th anniversary in November with a conference that focused on "Celebrating Achievements and Possibilities." While a keynote presentation by Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon Products, confirmed the (alleged) success that women are having in corporate America, panels entitled "Walking the Leadership Tightrope" and "Navigating through Interpersonal Conflict" suggested the challenges women still face in today's tough business environment. In this special section, K@W covers Jung's speech, the "Leadership Tightrope" panel and a second panel on "Building a Brand and Making Your Mark in the Luxury and Retail Sectors." In addition, they include coverage of a talk on leadership given earlier this fall by Sarah Nash, vice chairman of investment banking at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

To read the special report, visit:
Women in Business: Report from the Trenches

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A Warm Reception For Female Execs

In BusinessWeek online

An excerpt from this fabulous article:

Karen Bressler, one of five CEOs to take the speaker's podium, talked about the work-life balance that has historically been the biggest hurdle for women in business. "Running a business is like being a kindergarten teacher sometimes," said Bressler, who runs Agar Supply, a $350 million food service outfit (No. 4). She advised her peers to take advantage of all facets of their personalities -- both the nurturing side and the tough side. Each of those qualities, "gives us an incredible edge."

To read the entire article, visit:
A Warm Reception for Female Execs

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

They Have A Dream: To Own Their Own Business

In Wisconsin's Business News Source

Who is Henry Ford? Why do they call it Disneyland? What did Mary Kay do? Virtually everyone knows that these dreamers turned their ideas into realities through good, old-fashioned entrepreneurship.

To find out more, visit:
Entrepreneurship: More than Fame and Money

Thursday, December 02, 2004

"Pursuit of Passionate Purpose" and it begins with starting a company ...

Posted in Jack Covert Selects,

"Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life" by Theresa M. Szczurek, John Wiley & Sons, 304 Pages, $24.95 Hardcover, December 2004, ISBN 0471703249.

According to a December 2002 USA Today Poll, 30-million people are dissatisfied with their careers. This means that all those millions are not only unhappy but aren't reaching their full potential. The author found HERSELF in the same boat a few decades ago; after climbing the CORPORATE LADDER at a ferocious pace, she learned that her boss was sent to announce a new product that she (the author) had worked on for three years. She was conflicted. In her own words:

My head, the rational thinker had dominated decisions to this point. Now my heart, the creative feeler, cried out: What you really want is balance in life -- deep connection with people and meaningful work in an environment where people can contribute and be rewarded to the fullest. Make changes. Follow your heart, in harmony with your head. Pursue passionate purpose.

But she doesn't just use her own experiences as the premise for her book. She has interviewed 80 people and her findings are extraordinary. This is more than just a self-help book. This book has proven steps for successfully pursuing passionate purpose:

The ongoing process has four stages of development that are called:

1. Know and Nurture the Person (exploring who I am and what I value).
2. Find Passionate Purpose (determining what I want and do not want).
3. Pursue Purpose (establishing how I get it).
4. Assess Progress (evaluating how things are going and what is next).

She also has six success strategies that are applied throughout the above-mentioned process namely:

1. Polarity (integrating different parts of the self and the outside world).
2. Attraction (visualizing attainment of goals and taking action to reach goals).
3. Persistence (dividing and conquering big goals piece by piece).
4. Allowing (surrendering to the process).
5. Connection (establish a support system).
6. Pack (attending to the energizers and reducing impact of discouraging factors).

It obviously worked for her. The author started her own communications company that increased the efficiency of telephone computer transactions. She has since sold that company for $40 million. All this in just six years. The strategies in this book are tried and tested. See for yourself.

[Laurel here ... sounds like she got the entrepreneurial bug beyond belief! Has anyone else read this yet?]

Monday, November 29, 2004

My-oh-my: Watch Us Women Entrepreneurs Grow, Kissing Corporate America Bye-bye!

In BusinessWeek

A new study finds a boom in female entrepreneurship -- and a particularly healthy gains for minority women. According to the article, let's examine five key reasons why:

1. Women who want to start a business are seeing others who are doing it, and they think, 'Wow, I can do this too.'

2. The steady proliferation of capital and institutional resources has also helped make entrepreneurship a more viable option for women, allowing them more control from a professional -- and personal –- standpoint.

3. Because entrepreneurship is a direct path toward economic independence. "You're not waiting for someone to bring you out of poverty, and you're not waiting for someone else to give you a living wage or benefits."

4. Increased awareness of societal support –- including institutions like the Small Business Administration's Small Business Development Centers, local and regional chambers of commerce, and entrepreneurship incubators -- as other factors are driving the trend.

5. More women are becoming educated and developing stronger skill sets in the corporate world, adding to a pool of would-be entrepreneurs eager to branch out on their own.

Sure looks like women entrepreneurs are growing like mad and playing a vital role in fueling economic growth.

To read the awakening article, visit:
Women Lead the Startup Stats

Note: If you post this on your blog, please credit Escape From Corporate America! for bringing it to your attention -- thanks!

"I was tired of the large corporate atmosphere."

As published in the Chicago Tribune (11/28/04)

Diane Swonk, former chief economist for Chicago-based Bank One, was named chief economist for Mesirow Financial, a Chicago-based investment management firm.

Swonk, 42, said she took the job largely because of the firm's chief executive officer, James Tyree. "We just clicked," she said. "I was tired of the large corporate atmosphere. This gave me a lot of flexibility. One of my big issues was not only staying in Chicago but also finding a firm that is civic-oriented."

Swonk was at Bank One and its predecessors for 19 years. Bank One was acquired this year by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

"She's going to be providing economic information and forecasts to our clients," Tyree said. "We're now in 17 or 18 cities and are looking to expand our presence in each of them and I think she will help us do that."

Friday, November 26, 2004

Transformational Leadership Fits Entrepreneurship, Not Always Corporate Culture!

In (Online Recruitment, U.K.)

Transformational leadership begins with different beliefs about oneself and others. The first changing belief is that leadership isn’t a job but a way of being. The second is that, whereas in the past leadership meant power and control over others, today leadership beliefs begin with a desire to enable others to realize their own power and leadership potential. Thirdly, leadership in the past was based on believing it made people do things that you wanted done whereas, today, leadership is about a mutual relationship where each can transcend to a worthy purpose and behave with moral fibre, courage, integrity and trust.

In 1990 Judy Rosener published an article that showed how her research had found that women tended to be more transformational than men who tended to be more transactional. She argued that women encouraged participation in power and information and sought to enhance the status of employees. If we look at women entrepreneurs, such as Steve Shirley of F1 and Anita Roddick of Body Shop, a different leadership does emerge from that of many men.

Other interesting findings in this article published in the U.K.:

• It was found that women, on average, were more effective and satisfying to work for as well as more likely to generate ‘extra effort’ from their people.

• Women measured higher on all of the four elements of the transformational leadership tool, but the difference was closest on intellectual stimulation (men were better at intervening to correct followers’ mistakes).

• Women were more likely to be trusted and respected and show greater concern for individual needs.

• Women tend to be more nurturing, caring and sensitive than men and that these characteristics are more aligned with transformational leadership.

• Other studies since have found no significant differences in transformational leadership and gender in managers in equivalent positions. Is this because women are now being promoted by taking on male attributes or that men today are changing?


... What I have found is that when gender and transformational leadership is studied there is a remarkable difference when the women in the study are entrepreneurs rather than corporate women. ***Women entrepreneurs were much more likely to be transformational. With many women choosing to leave corporate life for self-employment, it is clear that transformational leadership doesn’t always fit the corporate culture.***

This excellent article goes on further to provide four ways in which women can bring their transformational leadership skills into the forefront whether it be through corporate work, entrepreneurship or using it on boards of companies and in public appointments.

To read the entire thought-provoking piece, visit: The Role of Gender in Transformational Leadership

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving and more!

Thank you to all of you for your readership, enthusiasm and comments. Your energy keeps me going on this passionate subject. Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Now, on to our regular focus and this feature is a great one to share just before the holiday.

What I find ironic is that the following article was published in the "StatesMAN" It's about how more Hispanic women own firms nationwide and are growing at six times the rate of all U.S. businesses! Here's a clip from the article describing one woman's struggle to make a success out of her business:

-> A framed copy of her first business contract hangs prominently in Josefina Anguiano's home office. She smiles at the reminder of sleepless nights and mounting bills that defined the first two years of running her own business. "When you first begin, all the doors are closed," Anguiano said. "And, there's no profit." This year, Anguiano, 36, expects to reach the $500,000 mark in contracts for her company, AFC Windows & Roofing Inc., which offers home-remodeling work, window and roof installation and gutter and chimney repair. Anguiano hardly is alone.

Adds Myra Hart, a Harvard Business School professor and chairwoman of the Center for Women's Business Research, "This is a positive sign for the entire country. At this crucial time for the economy, we're seeing that greater participation in entrepreneurship among women from a variety of backgrounds is playing an important role in facilitating economic growth."

To read the powerful account of how Josefina grew her business one step at a time, visit:
More Hispanic women own firms nationwide

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Feel Successful ... Here's a Glimpse At How It's Done

According to a recent survey conducted by Gallup and Wells Fargo, 95 percent of women small business owners feel successful. Not only that, but 85 percent said they would start another business given the chance.

For anyone over the Thanksgiving holiday who is contemplating leaving corporate America to start a business, let the survey results propel you to just do it.

To read the article, visit: Survey says 95 percent of women small business owners feel successfull

Monday, November 22, 2004

Where Are The Women?

In Fast Company

Late this spring in Fast Company, "Where Are the Women? " (February) leaped from the page to the stage. Readers and members of Women in Technology International's New York chapter gathered at Sony Labs for an event to explore some of the issues affecting women in the workplace. Senior writer Linda Tischler, who wrote the article, and Mary Lou Quinlan, founder of strategic marketing consultancy Just Ask a Woman, led the discussion. Quinlan, who stepped down as CEO of the advertising firm N.W. Ayer in the late 1990s, shared three key reasons (outlined briefly below) for her career change -- and offered advice and ideas.

1. Keep track of quality time.
2. Take a (clean) break.
3. Plot your priorities.

Her most poignant remarks that relate to the purpose of this blog:

"I came back in and quit. I started a company. Now I'm doing my passion. Women will find their own way. They need to live a conscious career, not an unconscious one. Ask yourself: Am I happy? You have the right to ask that question -- and then do something about it."

To read the entire piece, visit: Women on "Women"

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Nothing To Lose, A Lot To Gain

Posted by Anita Sharpe in Worthwhile's blog:

Who's the latest symbol of rugged American individualism? Hispanic women, who are starting their own businesses at a rate much greater than the U.S. average.

It's a no-brainer. While women in general earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, Hispanic women earn only 53 cents. According to a story in today's New York Times, Tina Cordova, who now owns a multi-million dollar construction company, could only find work as a waitress at a Sizzler -- despite having a master's degree in biology.

What's the secret of Cordova's entrepreneurial success? A flair for business, a very big stubborn streak and lots of flexibility. "If I had listened to everybody who told me we wouldn't make it, of course we wouldn't be here today," she told the Times. "I wish I could say I had this business plan, we followed it and everything just fell into place. This is not true."

To read the entry (and by the way, I am a subscriber to this great new magazine!), visit: Nothing To Lose, A Lot To Gain

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Women Becoming Entrepreneurs: No Glass Ceiling Here


This introduction to the book "Clearing Hurdles: Women Building High-Growth Businesses," provides an overview of the history of women in business leadership, and outlines a plan for women to succeed in entrepreneurial positions.

This is a fabulous book and if you haven't already read it, I suggest you do. If you have read it, let's hear from you! But in the meantime, it is a book for and about women entrepreneurs -- women who desire to become their own bosses, gain personal control, grow their business, and create independent wealth.

To read the intro and learn more about the powerful impact "Clearing Hurdles: Women Building High-Growth Businesses" will have on corporate America, visit: Women Becoming Entrepreneurs

Monday, November 08, 2004

A DIY Tool Kit For Executive Women Interested In Getting Ahead

In (11/8/04)

Test Your Career Savvy: What Holds Women Back?

To learn more about the differences between men and women executives’ attitudes and work lives, read this. They also include a pop quiz to test how much you know about what helps and hurts women on their way up the corporate ladder (applicable to running a biz too):

Read it here:
What Holds Women Back

Why Women Executives Must Be Overachievers?

This interview addresses eleven key questions on why women executives need to be overachievers in corporate America.

Read it here:
Why Women Executives Must Be Overachievers?

Four Negotiation Tips For Women Executives

Many women who think they aren’t good negotiators simply have never been taught how. In this article, four typical mistakes women make when negotiating and how to correct them are highlighted, so you can get what you want in business and in your personal life.

Read it here:
Four Negotiation Tips For Women Executives

Professional Women Want To Be Authentic At Work

The desire to express their true selves in their jobs has become the No. 1 issue for women executives. Many are opting to go elsewhere or start businesses (Laurel here: "Yeah!) rather than repress the feminine side of their personalities.

Read it here:
Professional Women Want To Be Authentic At Work

For the complete section on Women to Watch (excluding 50 Women To Watch), visit:
Women to Watch section in WSJ 11/8/04

This Is Corporate America: Through The Glass Ceiling as reported in the WSJ (11/8/04)

In The Wall Street Journal (subscription only) 11/8/04

Good morning! If you have a chance, pick up a copy of the WSJ today. In it, they have a special Women To Watch feature entitled, Through The Glass Ceiling and it talks about how 50 women got where they are and why they bear watching. The first ten mentioned are:

1. Carly Fiorina
2. Margaret C. Whitman
3. Andrea Jung
4. Michelle Peluso
5. Anne Mulcahy
6. Rose marie Bravo
7. Ann Fudge
8. Patricia Russo
9. Xie Qihua
10. Debra A. Cafaro

Have a great day.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Successful Change Starts With a Shift in Perspective: Corporate Work or Entrepreneurship?

In LeaderValues

Read this article (authored by Steven Bacharach, Psy.D., a personal coach to executives who are seeking more fulfillment in all areas of their life) and let me know your comments on the following:

1. If Susan changes, will the organization adapt along with her and will she end up being more content?
2. Should Susan change or get out of the organization and start her own business?

To read the article, visit: Successful Change Starts With a Shift in Perspective

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The face of the American small business community is changing ... women-owned businesses outnumber men!

In San Diego Source

A recent study by the National Association for the Self-Employed shows that startups of women-owned businesses outnumbered new men-owned businesses by nearly a 2-1 ratio in 2003. That trend is evident in San Diego County, too.

"These findings present an important snapshot of women in today's workplace and a look at how the nation's 9.1 million self-employed women are in all-out pursuit of a more integrated and fulfilling work and personal life than they believe is afforded by the corporate world," said Robert Hughes, association president.

WHY the explosive growth in women-owned businesses? According to the article:

"Most of the women surveyed said their chief motivation is to have more time with their families and community, as well as greater flexibility in managing their households."

To read the entire work, visit: Study Reports Women-owned Startups Outnumber Men-owned Businesses

New Blog: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago!

In Women Presidents' Organization Chicago posting

It is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of a new blog: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago. I serve as the WPO Chicago chapter facilitator and believe the blog will enable us to increase membership and keep the world at large informed about our Chicago activities. To find out more about this truly amazing nonprofit organization for successful female business owners, visit: Women Presidents' Organization Chicago

And if you qualify for membership, please email me!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Weaker Sex? Not These Women!

In The Times News (Twin Falls, Idaho)

From outstanding women leading and educating Magic Valley's health care sector to small-business entrepreneurs to the director of Twin Falls' downtown business improvement district, the women we're spotlighting serve in some of the valley's most influential positions.

While we've got nothing against businessmen, it's important to realize the business contributions made by women. Like the old cigarette ads say, we've come a long way, baby.

Other interesting snippets:

• "By far and away, women (business owners) are more receptive to education than men," he said.

• On top of their business duties, many women juggle the responsibilities of families and children. That scenario wasn't common just 50 years ago. And in some respects, the division of labor still isn't balanced.

• According to recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, working women spend about an hour more doing household chores and caring for family members than men, while men spend about an hour more at the office.

To read the entire article, visit: Weaker Sex? Not These Women!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Number of Women Setting Up Businesses In the U.K. Surges 28 Percent!

In the Times (U.K.)

I am posting this because I love the lead and it reminds me of women in America:

• NOT content with smashing the boardroom glass ceiling, women are now seeking to outstrip men in the entrepreneurial stakes, too, according to a new study.

Here's another interesting fact:

• Rebecca Harding, a director of the London Business School’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an annual study of entrepreneurship, said that demand for a better balance between work and life had also increased the number of women entrepreneurs.

To read the entire article, visit:
Number of Women Setting Up Businesses In the U.K. Surges 28 Percent!

Flexibility in the Workplace: The Benefits Are in the Numbers


According to the recent report, "When Work Works: A Project on Workplace Effectiveness and Workplace Flexibility," employees who have access to flexibility use it.

But do they pay a price? You bet. Take a look:

* When asked how hard it is to take time off during the workday to address personal or family issues, 37% of wage and salaried employees say "somewhat hard" or "very hard."

* Overall, 39% of respondents report that employees who use flexible work options are less likely to get ahead in their jobs or careers.

* Sixty-one percent of employees working in organizations that have part-time employees say that part-timers receive less compensation on a pro rata basis than full-timers doing the same jobs just because they work part time.

* Only 28% of low-wage employees are allowed to take a few days off to care for a sick child without losing pay, without using vacation days, and without having to make up some other reason for one's absence, compared with 58% of high-wage employees.

* Nineteen percent of part-time employees versus only 9% of full-time employees do not have health insurance coverage from any source.

And we wonder why more and more women are choosing entrepreneurship over corporate work!

To read the entire article, visit:
Flexibility In The Workplace

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Got Fired! Start a Small Business

In Magic City Morning Star (Maine)

There are so many wonderful points made in this article, that you must read it in its entirety to fully appreciate but here's the climatic ending:

"Take your entrepreneurial skills and join the growing number of men and women who are starting their own small businesses. Americans will applaud you for it."

That dear friends, says it all. So if you got fired, consider it a lucky break. Anyone have a story you'd like to share where getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to you because it propelled you on to starting your own business? Go ahead ... make our happy day!

To read the article, visit: Got Fired! Start a Small Business

Stay-at-Home Moms Get Entrepreneurial!

In The Wall Street Journal (10/21/04) -- subscription only

WOW -- am I excited. Our (yes -- I founded that company too) board of advisor Tamara Monosoff, and former business consultant and Clinton White House staffer, is featured today on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Go out and grab a copy!

The article, "The Carriage Trade: Stay-at-Home Moms Get Entrepreneurial," talks about how many women who leave the work force to care for children, that motherhood is making invention a necessity. Tamara's claim to fame is the invention of a special latch to prevent the problem of toddlers (including her own) unraveling toilet paper all over the floor. Her business is projected to hit more than $1 million next year from the 'TP Saver' and her other products. She also just signed on for a book deal to write a guide for aspiring inventor moms while she runs her company and Web site to promote other mothers' products.

For more information on Tamara Monosoff and her company, visit:

• Board of Advisor Tamara Monosoff's bio on

• Tamara's company: Mom Inventors

To read the entire article, visit Startup Journal by The WSJ:
• Stay-at-Home Moms Get Entrepreneurial!

Congratulations Tamara! On behalf of all women, we are so proud of you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

More and more sisters doing it for themselves

In The Journal-Pioneer (Canada)

One highlight but there are many more ...

"I think that the public are certainly becoming much more aware of the contribution that women entrepreneurs make to the economy," Callbeck says, noting in Canada it totals over $18 billion a year. "You have to build awareness, really, before you get a lot of action."

To read the entire article, visit: More and More Sisters Doing It For Themselves

Thursday, October 14, 2004

85 Broads and Tom Peters Say: Mark Your Calendar (10/19/04)!

In Posts

85 Broads is a women's networking group started in 1999, with HQ at 85 Broad St./Wall Street. They are sponsoring a Boycott, urging their members (and friends thereof, via word-of-mouth) to Not Shop on October 19. The idea is to demo Women's AWESOME Purchasing Power and PATHETIC Under-representation in Boardrooms & Exec Suites! So sad that one needs to do this sort of thing in 2004 ... to call attention to the Obvious! But need it we do, and One Old Guy (me -- that's Tom Peters speaking) urges one and all (M & F) to zip the checkbook, stow the credit cards ... on 10.19 ... and support 85 Broads & All Women!

Laurel here ... that won't be hard for me to do. I'm not a big shopper to begin with! What about the rest of you?

Posting coordinates:

85 Broads

Tom Peters!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Study Says Women Blocked from Top Positions in Leading Global Firms

In News VOA (Voice of America)

According to a new study, businesswomen continue to face obstacles at the highest levels of the world's top companies, even though women make up close to half of the global workforce.

To read the entire article, visit: Women Block From Top Positions in Leading Global Firms

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Women at Risk

In Pause blog

A BIG thank you to Jory Des Jardins at Pause who wrote a complimentary blog entry about "Escape:" Women at Risk

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Women Execs Lag Behind ... apparently, all over the world

In Herald Sun (Australia)

Here's your good hearty belly-laugh for the day. This article talks about how women are lagging behind men in the executive suites. I know, I know ... you expected me to provide some great insights but what I discovered is so hysterically weird that I just had to share with you:

• "Fly business class on any given day across Australia (substitute USA?) and you can see that women are just not up there in equal numbers to men," EOWA director Anna McPhee said.

• Isn't this a weird analogy? ... "The pointy end of the plane is telling it how it really is in boardrooms and at senior management levels around the country."

• Sound all too familiar? ... "As corporate leaders face issues surrounding access to a skilled workforce, retention and sustainability, they need to look closely at culture, job design and workplace flexibility if they are going to win the global [women] talent war," she said.

• And just look at what a BIG bank chief executive has to say: 'ANZ Bank chief executive John McFarlane believed women taking time off to raise families and their preference for small business (or did he mean to say "their preference for owning a business!") over large corporations had affected the number of top female executives.'

I was going to stop here but you have to read these additional snippets:

McFarlane goes on to say, "I don't think we should torture ourselves if we don't have 50 per cent of our boards and management as women," Mr McFarlane told AAP. "That's not to say it shouldn't be a third."

"I asked the women if they were happy to go along with this, and of course they weren't," Mr McFarlane said. "They wanted to go along by their own merits. But it's not enough. It needs a push. If you want more women at the top, you have to put them there in the first place."

"Woman are far more creative than men. Less creativity means the business will create less ideas, therefore there's less opportunities," he said.

Well who has something to say to Mr. McFarlane? Gentlemen? Ladies?

To read the entire article, visit:

Women Execs Lag Behind (Australia)

Friday, October 01, 2004

Pause: Jory's thoughts while sitting still ...

In Cyberspace

Happened upon Jory Des Jardins blog today. We were both striking our keyboards hard on Tom Peter's blog involving a thread about Idiots! and unfortunately, it was not about animals.

Despite the craziness, Jory found me and I am thrilled. She is currently working in the corporate world yet aspires to become a full-time writer soon. I visited her blog and was impressed with its creativity, thoughtfulness and wonderful insights. Some day, Jory is going to make the leap over to entrepreneurship but before she does (and becomes wildly famous), I suggest you stop in and pay her visit. She welcomes you at any time:

• Pause blog

• Pause website

The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters

In Jack Covert Selects

From the CEO of one of my favorite companies, 800-CEO-READ, Jack Covert reviews The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters by Margaret Heffernan, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 288 Pages, $24.95 Hardcover, September 2004, ISBN 078797143X. His comments, on Heffernan's book, reinforce the mission of this blog:

Margaret Heffernan wrote an article in 2002 for Fast Company, because she sensed that something was amiss in woman's careers. So she launched an experiment and asked for women to share their experiences. Turns out the response was overwhelming. She was inundated with emails from women all over America; some were offering solutions to common problems and others were in dire need of advice. In her own words:

"My fast company experiment confirmed -- beyond my wildest imaginings -- what I had seen in my own career and the careers of many women I'd worked with and for: that women are still abused, undervalued, and alienated in a business world that still can't recognize and respect them; that the pressure to align personal and work values is urgent and unrelenting; and that many women are inventing solutions that, if they were shared, could make us a lot less lonely."

The book is filled with vignettes as told by real women in the business world today, discussing many different issues. Looking at the chapter names alone will give you a good idea of what is covered: Start Smart; Geishas, Bitches, Guys -- and the Invisible Women; Balls to the Wall: Toxic Bosses and Hostile Environments; The Emperor's New Clothes; Power and Where It Comes From; Sex, Love and a Vision for Life; The Whole Life; How High Can You Go?; Breaking Up Is Hard to Do; The Entrepreneuse; The Parallel Universe.

Women in the workplace, according to Heffernan, are certainly allowed to grow, and make a contribution in the early stages of their careers. But somewhere along the way, they are left to feel like trespassers when they want to get into top management. They are made to feel like gatecrashers. And she suggests that instead of crashing the party, women leave, and start their own party. And this book invites you to join this party, by learning from the participants' experiences. This book is not about complaining, but about the fact that women are problem solvers, and there are many solutions offered in this book which I truly believe you will find useful because it tells it like it is.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Millionaire Women Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D.

In Thomas J. Stanley's new book, "Millionaire Women Next Door"

Over the weekend I celebrated my birthday and was given Stanley's latest book as a gift. I have not had a chance to read it yet, only scan the front/back covers and table of contents. It looks very interesting and I want to share the back cover's most poignant statement:

"Most Americans are not free. They are chained to their paychecks ... The women profiled herein will not tolerate such an existence. They are a different breed. They are free. They are cultivators of wealth and satisfied with life. They are in control of their own destiny."

Ring true with many of you?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Women-Owned Firms Find Triad To Their Liking

In MSNBC (The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area)

I like the ending best on this feature:

"It is getting so much easier for women -- there's so many more resources for us to start and grow our own business. It's just going to be phenomenal."

But if you wish to read the entire article, visit: Women-Owned Firms Find Triad To Their Liking

Friday, September 24, 2004

"Translating Ideas Into Success" ... this one's for all of you!

In Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Before I move on to a speech that Joseph Lehman delivered to open the inaugural Asian Resource Bank, I want to first thank all of you who emailed me personally on the "Glass Ceiling" article. As it did for me, the essay resonated with many of you. And always feel free to post your feelings, beliefs or opinions whenever you like on this blog. That's what it is here for. But if you feel more comfortable contacting me on a personal basis (, that's fine too. Just glad you all liked the piece.

Now, on to the speech. I am posting this because Lehman talks about many of the characteristics (optimism, perseverance and so forth) necessary to become a good entrepreneur or business owner. The speech is entitled, "Translating Ideas Into Success," and many of you might be thinking along these lines -- whether it be by leaving your corporate job to start a new business or to "focus" on an idea that is brewing in your head -- this talk is for you.

In particular, I am highlighting the section on entrepreneurship for I find it liberating to read such a thoughtful piece:



The next ingredient for translating ideas into success is entrepreneurship. I don’t mean just talking and writing about it. I mean being an entrepreneur.

To really shift the window of political possibility, we have to get out of the purely academic mindset, where the goal is writing reports and studies. Our success is not measured by how much paper we push out the door. We succeed only if we actually shift policy in the right direction, and to do so requires an entrepreneurial approach.

Successful entrepreneurs are focused. They have lots of ideas, but they figure out their comparative advantage and spend their energy there. They don’t run in all directions trying anything that seems interesting.

This means that entrepreneurs are planners, but not in the sense of stifling creativity and flexibility. A good entrepreneur makes plans that avoid both rigid bureaucracy and unfocused, free-wheeling frenzies of activity.

Entrepreneurs are problem-solvers. They don’t just try to copy what works in other countries — they become the experts at applying freedom ideas and overcoming obstacles in their own countries.


To read the entire speech, visit: Translating Ideas Into Success

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Women and The Glass Ceiling

In LeaderValues

I was contacted today by LeaderValues for permission to publish a couple of my articles. In reviewing their web site, I stumbled upon this provocative article written in 1998 by Helen Peters of Hagberg Consulting Group, who specialize in the assessment and development of executive leadership and organizational effectiveness. The article starts out like this:

• Recent research indicates women's management style, which is centered on communication and building positive relationships, is well suited to the leadership paradigm of the 90's. However, the strategies used by women to reach mid-management levels are preventing them from breaking through the glass ceiling. There are specific things women must start doing and stop doing if they want to move into the executive suite. The research is of obvious importance to women managers, but has implications for men as well. To be successful, both men and women must be able to get bottom-line results through people-oriented leadership practices.

In 1971 I got my first real job. I quickly learned many of the realities of life, among them that women could not be managers. We were not worth investing in because we would just get married, get pregnant, and quit. We were too emotional. In fact, once a month we would do something that remained undefined, but was assumed to be totally unacceptable. Most importantly, we would be taking a good job from a man who really needed it, and by implication, deserved it. 

Times changed ...

It goes on further to report that progress up the corporate ladder will require women to do five things:

1. Start focusing energy.

2. Start taking risks.

3. Stop getting mired in the details.

4. Stop rescuing and mothering.

5. Stop making things right or wrong.

I couldn't help think that the five steps apply to both making progress up the corporate ladder and owning a business. Interesting.

For women who are still trying to make it in the corporate world instead of charging out on their own, this is a worthwhile read. The full article, regardless that it is six years old, can be found here: Women and The Glass Ceiling (1998)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Hey, hey ... women's businesses exceed overall growth rate!

In Business Journal Phoenix

• A study of the top 50 metropolitan areas by Wells Fargo and the Center for Women's Business Research found that women-owned small businesses grew by 30 percent from 1997 to 2004, compared to 10 percent growth for all firms over the same time period.

And here is the best point made in the article:

"Even during uncertain times, innovative and determined women business owners are doing their part to ensure this economy continues moving in the right direction," says Sharon Hadary, Executive Director of the Center For Women's Business Research.

To read the entire article, visit:
Women's Businesses Exceed Overall Growth Rate

Here's another good feature about it by Matt Quinn at Inc.:
Women-owned Firms Growing Quickly in Big Cities

Monday, September 20, 2004

Women Execs Tell of Climb -> but no word of jumping into entrepreneurship

In Enquirer

This article is all about climbing the corporate ladder and when you read it, you might ask yourself: Is it worth it?

To read the entire article, visit:
Women Execs Tell of Climb

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The New Mothers of Invention! Phenomenal article!

In Businessweek

What a spectacular article! I am so excited that I'll just mention a couple of highlights quickly:

• J.E. Bedi researched female innovators for the Lemelson Center at The Smithsonian Institution, and what she found is summarized in her eye-opening paper, Exploring the History of Women Inventors. According to Bedi, during the 20th century, women patented an ice-cream freezer, a transmitter for torpedoes, a feeding device for amputees, and Kevlar, which is used in bullet proof vests. Can our children name any of these women? Are their contributions taught in schools?

• Today, women have their names on approximately 10% of all patents -- a tenfold increase over 1910 (when less than 1% of all patents were by women). Despite this increase, the gender gap in entrepreneurship continues to widen. In 2003, two men were involved in entrepreneurial activities for every woman, according to the research by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).

• Despite this gender gap, entrepreneurial activity among women continues to grow. The number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has increased by 14% in the last five years, according to the Center for Women's Business Research (CWBR). Today, nearly half of all privately held businesses in the U.S. are women-owned.

• Clearly, today's female business owners are a positive influence on future women entrepreneurs.

To read the entire article, visit: The New Mothers of Invention

"Yes, Ambition Is Good, But How You Display It Can Get You in Trouble" -> But not if you are an entrepreneur!

In The Wall Street Journal, 9/14/04 (subscription)

One of my favorite WSJ columnists, Carol Hymowitz, wrote a really terrific piece, "Yes, Ambition Is Good, But How You Display It Can Get You in Trouble," and the reason I am bringing it up is because the ending is right in line with this blogger:

• "Sharon Mosse, who heds Strategic Marketing Group, a New York marketing consultant, feels freer to assert herself and gain recognition as an entrepreneur than when she worked in corporate settings. She used to be chief marketing officer at Barnes & Noble and before that a marketing executive at Verizon and Brooks Brothers. "Ambition to me means trying to do the job right, to solve problems and come up with ideas -- but sometimes that was interpreted as coming on too strong," she says. "Now I'm being hired to provide a senior point of view, and I'm expected to talk freely and broadly about my opinions."

"Entrepreneurship allows you to be who you are, have a voice and be as ambitious as ever!" -- Laurel

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

eBay chief says women have opportunities on auction site

In Detroit Free Press

Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay Inc., will be giving a talk in Detroit tomorrow (9/15), returning to where she used to work -- FTD. com in Southfield. She was interviewed for this article and here are a couple of snippets she talked about relating to women and women-owned businesses:

• "And we know that 48 percent of those users are women," said Whitman, a 1979 Princeton University graduate and Harvard MBA who worked at Procter & Gamble, Bain & Co. and Walt Disney Co., in addition to FTD.

• Her message to Wednesday's audience will, not surprisingly, focus on the heavy use of the eBay auction site by women and women-owned businesses.

• "What eBay offers women," Whitman said, "is the opportunity to decide what kind of time they want to put in, what kind of products they want to sell, and it allows them to customize their work around whatever else they have going on in their lives.

• "Another thing that's interesting about eBay is that it's a completely level playing field because you are totally measured by the quality of your product and the feedback other people leave for you."

• "People were florists because they loved flowers, because they loved the product, and they didn't want to work at IBM. They wanted to be their own boss. That's a lot of what I see at eBay as well," Whitman said.

So Whitman totally supports women breaking free and doing their own thing!

To read the entire article, visit: eBay Chief Says Women Have Opportunities ...

Monday, September 13, 2004

When you are sourced 'OUT,' entrepreneurship becomes 'IN'

In Fast Company

• ... And so the next week, Bronstein walked into a room to find her old coworkers on one side and the new group from India on the other. "It was like a sock hop where everyone's lined up against the wall blinking at each other," she says. "People were trying not to cry." In an attempt to lighten the mood, her boss said she would like to introduce the old staff to the new staff, while the VP of engineering chimed in with familiar words. "We're depending on you to help this company succeed," he said. Bronstein spent the next four weeks training her two replacements who then went back to India - -two people whose lives were suddenly bettered in exchange for one whose life had taken an unexpected turn for the worse.


• Since leaving WatchMark (now called WatchMark-Comnitel), Bronstein, who made $76,500 plus bonus, has been out of work, making ends meet with unemployment and by cashing out her 401(k). With both of those gone, she's turned to selling her collection of antique women's compacts on eBay. "It's the difference between hopeful and hopeless," she says. "If you're just laid off, you can tell yourself that the economy swings back and forth, but if it's outsourced offshore, it ain't coming back. It still exists, but it just exists in another place. The IT industry in the United States has gone from being a very high-level, well-paying industry to being very low-paying sweatshop labor, and that's an inexorable trend."

• Bronstein's story is increasingly common in a global economy where labor is crossing borders almost as freely as capital. Starting decades ago with low-skilled manufacturing jobs in basic industries, followed by textiles, cars, semiconductors, and now, services, the nimbleness of the world's economy has allowed us to reduce costs by moving production to wherever it's least expensive. The benefits to our economy -- in increased productivity, lower prices, and greater demand for American products -- are touted by corporate America as the only way to remain competitive. "This is the next iteration of the global economy," says Atul Vashistha, CEO of neoIT, an offshore advisory firm. "The story is what would happen to these companies if they did not go offshore."

To read this fascinating article, visit: Into Thin Air

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Alaskan Women At Work

In Daily New-Miner (Fairbanks, AK)

Alison McDaniel is one of thousands of female entrepreneurs in Alaska, contributing more than a billion dollars in revenue to the state's economy each year, according to Sam Dickey of the Small Business Administration's Alaska office. Her story, along with Vikki Solberg's and Leeann Thomas's, is just like all the rest on why she decided to start her business and what led to her success:

• McDaniel attributes her success to determination and knowledge. She also thinks that as a woman she takes into consideration things that most men don't, like the importance of shrink wrapping a cream-colored couch (she runs a relocation company) to assure that it won't be discolored during the move.

• Personal freedom is one of the primary motivations for becoming a business owner. It is the freedom to make decisions. "I found being the ultimate decision-maker inspiring," said Leeann Thomas, owner of the Triangle Club. "I would encourage any female to give it a try."

For the complete article, visit: Women at work

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Women's Business Development Center, Chicago Annual Conference September 8-9 at Navy Pier

In the Chicago Sun-Times

I hope to see all of you corporate escape artists turned entrepreneurs over at the Women's Business Development Center Annual Conference September 8-9 at Navy Pier. I plan to stop in sometime between 10:00-1:30 p.m. today, September 8th. Look for me at the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) booth for that is where I will be hanging my hat. I serve as WPO's Chicago chapter facilitator (two chapters ... one downtown and one in Schaumburg). See you there!

Here's more info on the conference:
Conference in Chicago Targets Veteran Female Business Owners

All the best,

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Corporate Comforts

In Entrepreneur

This article is actually about three years old but I stumbled upon it while conducting a search on another project. It is right in line with the mission of this blogger. See what you think but I will give you three significant short paragraphs from the piece:

• She notes that women entrepreneurs tend to be so focused on building their businesses, they often wear blinders. "Corporate women need to see a variety of things to manage the process," says Semidei-Otero. "Because they must interact with other divisions, they must negotiate and present information to different people at different times."

• And the relationships are mutually beneficial. Women business owners help imbue their corporate counterparts with the ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT increasingly needed to succeed in corporate life, says Carol Nichols, JPMorgan Chase senior vice president and Texas statewide manager of commercial business banking. "I think women entrepreneurs are real leaders in terms of having new and different ways to do business and be successful," says Nichols.

• The connection between women entrepreneurs and those in corporate America can be powerful. It's in the best interest of both groups to ensure the other is strong, vibrant and fully realizes its potential.


To read the full article, visit:
What Can Women In Corporate America Offer Women Entrepreneurs?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Frustration In Corporate World Compels Women to Launch New Businesses

In Advancing Women

Want to know the reason behind this massive exodus?

• The primary reason that women are launching new businesses is that they are inspired by an entrepreneurial idea; the next most frequently stated reason is frustration with their previous work environments, according to a study released by three prominent women's business organizations -- Catalyst, the National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO), and The Committee of 200.

To read the entire article, visit:
Entrepreneurial Ideas Motivate Women to Start Businesses

Monday, August 23, 2004

Why Women Are Leaving Corporate America in Droves


Here's what author and president of Big Fish Marketing, Inc. Robin Fisher Roffer has to say:

• There’s a brain drain going on in corporate America. Women are leaving their jobs and going home to start their own businesses -- consulting practices and cottage industries -- so they can better balance career and family.

• Life trumps the job description. And women are choosing life.

• Corporate America needs to wake-up to the fact that it should be looking inside its female workforce, not at their job descriptions to figure out how to make allowances for a life that goes way beyond 9-5.
• I’m talking about finding ways to let your female workers live outside the box.

• Thanks to a worker’s market, the National Quit Rate is now at 14.7%, the highest in almost ten years.

• Validating your female employees by helping them to develop their own personal brand strategy is one way to ensure staying power.

• Being pigeonholed is just about the worst state of affairs, and that’s what happens when you shove people into a box that’s pre-fab and pre-determined.

• Am I talking about a revolution? In a way, yes. Because I’m asking employers to suggest that there is more behind "here’s your job -- like it or leave it." It simply costs too much money to continue to lose valuable women only to replace them with others who will ultimately leave.

To read the entire article, visit: Why Women Are Leaving Corporate America in Droves

Friday, August 06, 2004

The Opt-Out Revolution

In The New York Times (October)

Laurel here ... I never read the NYT article, I only found the following letter, from Ms. Shepard, in response to it:

I had a strong reaction to the October 26th New York Times Magazine cover article by Lisa Belkin entitled, “The Opt-Out Revolution”. Perhaps it was the cover photo of a woman and a baby sitting beneath a ladder (metaphor for the corporate ladder no doubt) and the caption which referred to women abandoning the climb and heading home. Those images and the captions gave an impression women were leaving corporate America in droves, although the article itself indicated otherwise. The gist of the article is that there is a growing number of highly educated, professional women who are “opting out” and leaving ambitious career paths in favor of hearth and home. The author argues that while the absence of women in positions of power was once chiefly a result of sexism, the fact that the number of women in significant corporate roles has not increased is now a deliberate choice. Having said that, the author also acknowledges that there are “ambitious, achieving women out there who are the emotional and professional equals of any man and that there are also women who stayed the course and climbed the work ladder and were thwarted by lingering double standards and chauvinism.” After reading this article, I feel a need to set the record straight.

First, while it may be true that biology and sociology dictate a choice for women in “opting out”, it should be noted that research studies indicate that the vast majority of women opt for other opportunities within the workforce. Recent studies by The Leader’s Edge show that while corporate America may make women feel marginalized or unwelcome in the corporate culture, 90% of those we surveyed left for other opportunities. The executive women surveyed stated they felt excluded from the “information loop”, had difficulty getting their voices and strategies heard and did not receive feedback on their work and careers. Additionally, thirty one percent of the women surveyed expressed a need for a more balanced life with flexible working hours. These women were frustrated with their situations, but, instead of heading home, chose to go to other companies or START THEIR OWN BUSINESSES. Two thirds of the women are in their 40’s and 50’s, married with children, with one third making over $250,000 a year. The majority of these women reported that their new situation was a definite improvement both in terms of corporate culture and family/life balance.

Second, women constitute over half the management positions in corporate America and are poised for growth and advancement. The fact that they are not being promoted into the executive ranks, or staying there as the numbers confirm, is the real issue. It is my hope that as corporate cultures evolve, they will build in systems to retain their talented employees—both men and women—by providing more options and greater flexibility. It is clearly in corporate America’s best interest to retain and develop women. The cost of replacing an executive is generally calculated at one and one half times current salary, which includes recruitment costs, replacement salary and possible severance and litigation costs. This does not include the soft costs such as loss of knowledge, client relationships and morale to the company once a woman leaves. Additionally, women make over 80% of the buying decisions in the $3 trillion consumer product market. The optimal business marketing decision is to have women actively involved in creating and implementing strategies, products and services that appeal to the woman’s market. The Leader’s Edge is currently analyzing a study we conducted of Fortune 1000 companies and the methods or “best practices” they are currently employing in relation to their female employees. That study should be completed shortly [Laurel here ... I am going to check status], and we will have the results for you then.

Finally, in terms of the New York Times article, I hope that people actually took the time to read it completely. The photos and captions alone could be misleading and to assume a trend based on those partial elements would be unfortunate and, I believe, not in keeping with reality or the author’s intent.

A Personal Letter from Molly D. Shepard, Founder and CEO of The Leader's Edge

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"I was a suit -- nails and all -- I was totally corporate. Now I walk around in slippers ... it's fun!"

In the HeraldNet.

GRANITE FALLS -- While Vicki Urbanick was looking through a mail-order catalog at animal-shaped craft items, inspiration struck ... under her cocktail. She thought someone could make some money by placing these bear and wolf designs she saw in the magazine on wooden coasters. Urbanick had received some blank wood coasters from a friend made from thin, round slices of wood.

Then a few months later, Urbanick was laid off from her job as a marketing manager from ATL Ultrasound in Bothell when it became Phillips Medical Systems. "The evening I was told I was being laid off, I just said, 'Go for it,'" she said. "Why not ... I had enough money."

Four other key points mentioned:

• She is one of many women successfully launching their own business in the last 15 years. Privately owned businesses started by women have doubled since 1987, according to the Center for Women's Business Research in Washington, D.C.

• Sharon Hadary, the center's executive director, said about 38 percent of women-owned home businesses sold nondurable manufactured goods, such as Urbanick's items.

• "I think the perception is that (women-owned home businesses) are the little woman making dolls out of socks and selling them at the county fair, but I think you're going to find they are substantial businesses," Hadary said.

• Women have also been more aggressive than men when grabbing onto business opportunities through the Internet, Hadary said.

To read the full inspiring story, visit: Against The Grain

Monday, August 02, 2004

Yeah! -- National Association for the Self-Employed Gets It! Women now have their own site.

In National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) -- press release.

The new site is part of the NASE Women Entrepreneurship Initiative, which began over two years ago as a proactive response to the growing trend of women-owned businesses. The initiative also includes sponsoring women-business conferences and trade shows across the country, soliciting feedback from female NASE members on benefits and programs, and offering benefits that appeal more to this group. targets the needs of this ambitious group of women, with unique features geared toward the female business owner.

Here's what the President of NASE said:

• “Like many business owners, women entrepreneurs are seeking the support and networking opportunities afforded by joining professional and benefits associations,” said NASE President Robert Hughes. “While the NASE welcomes all micro-business owners to join the association, this Web site shows our existing and potential female members that the NASE takes their concerns and the needs of their businesses seriously. [Laurel here ... read this again ladies: "Takes their concerns and the needs of their businesses seriously."]

To read the press release announcing NASE's women's initiative, visit: National Association for the Self-Employed Launches Women's Site

Or, go direct to the site, visit: National Association for the Self-Employed: For Women Only Section

Women Are Tired of Taking the Back Seat to Their Biker Boyfriends and Husbands!

In Chicago Tribune and Journal Sentinel.

[Laurel here ... I'm lovin it!] A couple of snapshots from article but the bottom line is that Harley gets it:

• Female riders represent the fastest-growing segment of the motorcycle industry. Harley is nurturing a women's biker culture that can co-exist with the traditional bad-boy image.

• Only about 10% of Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners are women, yet that's up from 2% in the 1980s. Women riders represent a vast, untapped market for Harley-Davidson and other motorcycle manufacturers, but the companies have to get into the minds of women like Gigi Foster before they can reach into their wallets.

• Many women are tired of taking the back seat to their biker boyfriends and husbands, says Foster, president of Sirens Motorcycle Club for women in New York.

• "I know of one woman who got her own bike because she was tired of riding behind her son," Foster says. "And there are women I know who could ride the pants off many men, and they are grandmothers."

• "Most of the people I see on motorcycles are big, burly men that have a definite 'grrr' look about them. I am a twenty-something female who works in downtown Chicago and likes to eat Sushi ... definitely no 'grrr' factor in this gal.' "

• Many women riders find it empowering to suit up in biker leathers, which are practical riding clothing as well as a fashion statement.

• "It's like an alter ego on weekends when you become the 'wild one,' " Foster says. "You are an accountant five days a week, and then Friday night, you pull on your leather jacket and away you go with people who are just like you."

• Women are moving up fast at Harley, where they represent about 24% of the work force. Also, 20% of the company's vice presidents and 29% of its corporate officers are women. Among the Fortune 500, women average 15.7% of corporate officers, according to Catalyst, a New York-based organization devoted to the advancement of women in business.

• Numbers like that (above) earned Harley-Davidson an award this year from Catalyst, making the manufacturer one of three companies to be recognized for their success in advancing women. "And one thing fairly unique at Harley-Davidson is there are women in senior management roles who started out in non-management positions," says Paula Gerkovich, a senior director with Catalyst.

• "In order to create products for a diverse audience, Harley-Davidson found that it must access diverse groups of thinkers -- including women, people of color, riders and non-riders," Catalyst wrote.

• "Now women are a natural part of the order of things here," says Lawler, Harley's vice president of communications. "Change started in about the 1980s when management realized it needed everyone to put their best ideas forward to help save the company."

• [Relative to women and Harleys ...] "They want to ride the real, authentic thing. That's what the rush is all about."

To read the entire article, visit:
Harley Adds Women To Its Rolls of Buyers, Managers

Sunday, August 01, 2004

A Woman's World

In Santa Cruz Sentinel online edition.

The Sentinel asked five prominent businesswomen how, or if, they balanced their work with their home lives, and what advice they might offer women in similar positions. Here are highlights from the article:

• And being in Santa Cruz County, where entrepreneurship is key to success in the area’s small business environment and community involvement is highly valued, can make the struggle for work-life balance even more intense.

• "People who work for BIG companies have to travel a lot and work long hours, and that’s a different pressure ... But a lot of people in Santa Cruz are running their own businesses, which is 24-7 and demands a lot of creativity," said Peggy Dolgenos of Cruzio, who started the Internet service provider with her husband 16 years ago.

• "Too many women today, not only in business but in various endeavors, are struggling to live up to an ideal that’s not realistic and probably not that rewarding and certainly unhealthy," said Kauffman.

• ... She said she’s made certain choices, such as starting her own company rather than working in the corporate world, to give her greater flexibility, but still says she feels overextended.

• Pamela Davis, CEO of Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group, who is not married and does not have children, has done a kind of "sequencing" — "playing," in her words, for a period of years, then focusing intensely on her business for the next period, with the idea that life is a collection of these sequential vignettes, each with its rewards and challenges.

To read the entire article, visit:
A Woman's World

Friday, July 30, 2004

Women finding their way. Doing their passion.

In Fast Company.

Readers of Fast Company magazine and members of Women in Technology International gathered to explore some of the issues affecting women in the workplace. Mary Lou Quinlan shares her advice on how she made the career transition from CEO of a big advertising agency over to founder of her own business. Here's one of three tips she shares:

... "At the end of the five weeks, I made two little lists: What do I love to do that I'm good at? And what do I hate to do that I'm not good at? The hate-to-do page was like a job description for a CEO of an ad agency. The love-to-do list led to what I do now. I came back in and quit. I started a company. Now I'm doing my passion. Women will find their own way. They need to live a conscious career, not an unconscious one. Ask yourself: Am I happy? You have the right to ask that question -- and then do something about it."

To read the interview, visit:
Women on "Women"

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Founding Editor of Fast Company, Alan M. Webber, Gets It: Women Are Leaving BIG Companies In Droves

"Firms will pay when workers make escape."

• According to a recent study by Spherion, a Florida-based recruiting and outsourcing firm, workers are already gathering at the doors of many company. The study found that 51% of the 3,000 workers interviewed wanted to leave their jobs, and 75% said they were likely to leave within one year.

• Take the example of Verizon. Last year, the telecommunications company offered generous early retirement packages for workers and managers, hoping to trim the workforce by 12,000 people. Instead, more than 21,000 people took the buyout package, including 16,000 managers who thought the company's offer was too good to refuse.

• C200's third annual leadership index report measured the influence women have in business compared with men. What it DID NOT say is how women are responding to their exclusion from the boys' club: They're leaving BIG companies in droves.

[Laurel here ... Alan has always been on the forefront -- or tipping point -- of trends and knows this is the next big revolution in the workplace.]

Read the entire article here:
USA Today Article Authored by Founding Editor of Fast Company

Enabling women to realize their maximum potential all over the world, including Zimbabwe and ...

giving them a legitimate place in society.

From Zimbabwe to America, the problems concerning the advancement of women remain the same. This article sums up some of the issues but here's a snapshot of a couple highlights:

• "This calls for deliberate policies and measures to ensure that women are recognised and given their legitimate place in society. Our Parliaments can only ignore the advancement of women at their own peril," he said.

• Women, Cde Mnangagwa said, constituted more than half of the population in the region and played critical economic, social and cultural roles in the nation as providers, caregivers, mobilizers and entrepreneurs.

• At a Press conference yesterday, Ms Mushelenga told journalists that the media should be at the forefront of advancing the cause of women. She said the media had a tendency of covering women’s issues in bad light.

Read the full article here:
The Herald Online

Monday, July 26, 2004

Clearly, a gender wage gap exists.

Employers must close gender wage gap -- or pay dearly.

The most startling statements are as follows:

• "Employer groups argue the discrimination may be only one reason for the wage gap. Other causes, they argue, include women taking employment breaks to have children and raise families, leaving them behind in experience to men. [Laurel here ... they can't be serious!]

"But the Census Bureau study refutes the argument by showing that when women are equal to men in age, education and experience, men still make more. Men even outearn women in traditionally women-dominated occupations. Female elementary and middle school teachers, for instance, make 87 cents for each dollar earned by comparable male teachers."

[Laurel here ... why oh why are women leaving Corporate America? This is only one of about a hundred different reasons.]

For the full story, read: HeraldNet: Employers Must Close Gender Wage Gap

Sunday, July 25, 2004

“To be an entrepreneur, you have to have a lot of guts."

Energy and persistence unite entrepreneurs.

A couple of interesting clips from the article published by Democrat & Chronicle:

• Certainly Harper followed a dream when SHE built an international chain of 500 hair and skin care shops in the early 20th century and pioneered the concept of franchise stores.

• “In big organizations, the more conservative, the more risk-averse point of view is common,” he says. “As that view becomes the dominant motif, people don't want to be a risk taker. The incentive to be more experimental is lost. Those who want to experiment or take risks go to places where it is more favorable.”

• Downsizing at Kodak and Xerox has released some people to pursue their new business ideas as entrepreneurs, Lacagnina says. The corporate cutbacks also have created opportunities for businesses to do work that companies now want to outsource, Navarro says.

To read the entire article, visit:

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Maverick trades in Japan’s aging business model and escapes Corporate Japan

Quotes from a Japanese woman entrepreneur:

... “I think my family trained me to be an entrepreneur.  Dad told me to never join a big company, but always work for a company with fewer than 50 people, even if they have to use a dog as a staff member. Why? Because big Japanese companies are all the same.  Why would they give a top job to a woman when there are plenty of men around?”  One obstacle was that many small companies were boring.  “I always thought I would train myself up in a company and stay for perhaps ten years before leaving to do something on my own.  But the chance came much sooner.”

... “For the first four years I really struggled to employ good people,” Matsuzaki says.  “Then one day a university student came along for an interview.  He had won a place at some big corporation, but said he wanted to be an entrepreneur.  University graduates are great.  They know nothing, but they do everything.  Every year we bring more of them into the company. Ten people joined in April and we will get more next year.  You take them straight out of university and they are making a profit for you within three months.  I like them aggressive, because this is all about sales.”

Laurel here ... even the Japanese are escaping from Corporate Japan!

To read the entire article, visit:,,8210-1189549,00.html

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Corporations have to begin thinking more like entrepreneurs.

A New Prescription for Transforming the Corporation.

Commentary by Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D.
July 22, 2004

A very important paragraph within his excellent article:

"To leverage these assets, businesses have to start thinking in a new way about creating long-term profitability and sustained competitive advantage. In fact, corporations have to begin thinking more like entrepreneurs, who exploit opportunities to create a new way of doing business, and who use what is termed “incongruous situations” to drive growth strategies in innovative, revolutionary ways. For businesses, this will mean fostering an intrapreneurial effort from within the organization, using the techniques and vision of entrepreneurs and driving change from inside existing corporate models."

Read the entire article published by The Washington Dispatch here:

More than 50 percent of the U.S. population is female ...

as referenced in the The Global Entrepreneuriship Monitor, a research consortium that assesses national entrepreneurial activity for its participating nations.

It goes on further to say, "... and [female] represents a great potential source of entrepreneurial activity," Minniti said. "More and better research on what drives women entrepreneurs and raising awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities through education is critical to narrowing the gap."

To read the full article published by the Kansas City Business Journal, visit:

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Wage gap contributing to women-owned business, entrepreneur says

Women-owned businesses are growing in part because of the continued wage gap between men and women, The Entrepreneur's Source in Des Peres, Mo., said Friday.

And just look at this folks:

Miller said recent data issued by the Institute for Women's Policy Research showed that women's average pay is about 44 percent of what a man earns in the same job over the course of their career.

"It's not surprising that women are turning away from the corporate world, where inequality persists, instead of opting for a bright future of an entrepreneur," said Miller.

To read the full article, visit the St. Louis Business Journal:

Monday, July 19, 2004

Martha: Helping Women Escape From ...

low-income and on to become entrepreneurs!

Yes, you heard it here first. Martha Stewart has long been renowned for teaching women the domestic arts but now, as part of an effort to reduce her presumptive jail sentence, she wants to teach women how to tidy other people's homes, and their hotel rooms.

To read the full article by Dan Ackman, visit Forbes: but here's a glimpse at some of the data presented on women-owned businesses:

• Of course, hiring women to clean is hardly a new idea, and neither is the idea of women starting their own businesses. According to a study by the Center for Women's Business Research that has been cited by President Bush and Treasury Secretary John Snow, women own a 50% or greater stake in nearly half of all privately held businesses in the U.S.

• Like the vast majority of male-owned businesses, 77% of women-owned companies are sole proprietorships with no employees, the study says.

• It also says that women-owned businesses are growing faster than small businesses generally.

• This pattern is borne out internationally as well. Women control 42% of all "startup" businesses, according to the 2003 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an international study sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation. But when one considers "entrepreneurial firms," that is those who are likely to grow and add employees, the percentage controlled by women worldwide falls to 28%.

• As of 2004, the Center for Women's Business Research study estimated there were 10.6 million private, women-owned firms in the U.S. If Stewart's plea for community service works, there may be a few more. Without her help, there are likely to be a lot more anyway.

Watch out Corporate America: Women Entrepreneurs Are More Numerous and Powerful Than Ever ...

and they are becoming prized swing voters in the 2004 election.

I'll highlight just a couple of salient points made in the article:

• ... female entrepreneurship is one of the great success stories of our time. Women today control just under half of all the small businesses in America. In the past seven years the number of woman-owned firms with employees has grown by 28% -- three times the growth rate among all employer firms. Today woman business owners represent about 5% of the voting-age population -- more than all the registered voters in Florida and more than enough to select our next President.

• "Woman entrepreneurs are the wild card in this election," says Erin Fuller, executive director of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in McLean, Va.

• Kerry said that women aren't getting "the recognition they deserve for the opportunities they are providing to millions of employees, the contributions they make to communities, and the overall strengthening of our economy."

• ... and a quote from one of my favorite people, Dr. Marsha Firestone, founder of the Women Presidents' Organization:

"Even though the Bush administration cut the Small Business Administration's funding by 25% and eliminated the SBA administrator's cabinet seat, woman small-business advocates feel that the Republicans have done a better job of reaching out to them lately. "Clinton would come to town and never call us," says Marsha Firestone, president of the New York-based Women Presidents Organization (WPO). "Bush always calls. We're at the table as small-business owners. " President Bush has given two major speeches to female entrepreneur audiences in the past year. In May his campaign launched a "W Stands for Women" initiative that stressed the economic contributions of woman business owners."

• ... woman entrepreneurs are an increasingly articulate and organized political force. "Building coalitions is something women are good at," says Fuller. Today an alphabet soup of nonpartisan advocacy groups -- NAWBO, the WPO, and Women Impacting Public Policy, to name just three -- are sponsoring voter-registration drives ...

To read the entire article, visit Fortune Small Business:,15114,654044,00.htm

Women, workplace, Dark Ages

A study concludes that modern business is stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to accommodating women in the work force, and it makes several suggestions on how businesses can treat women more fairly.

When an organization has a nebulous name like the National Center for Policy Analysis, you can't help but wonder about its political perspective. But this nonprofit emphasizes its impartiality while espousing free enterprise and self-reliance.

If those sound like Republican code words to you, you might be surprised by a Web site that the NCPA has set up at The linchpin of the site is a study concluding that modern business is stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to accommodating women in the work force, and it makes several suggestions on how businesses can treat women more fairly. You can also read articles from other sources or participate in polls about how different economic issues affect women. As for any hints of political bias: While some of the poll questions are phrased with a pro-White House slant, respondents seem more intrigued by presidential candidate John Kerry's ideas, reflecting the gender divide shown in many political polls.

Appealing to entrepreneurs

Watch out, President Bush: Women entrepreneurs may be your undoing in the White House. So says Fortune Small Business (July/August). "Women entrepreneurs are becoming prized swing voters in the 2004 election (whose views) are sharply divided from those of their male counterparts." A Fortune/Zogby survey found that female entrepreneurs favor Democrat John Kerry (50 percent) over President Bush (44 percent), while male entrepreneurs prefer Bush (60 percent to 33 percent). And some female entrepreneurs don't like Bush or Kerry. The message, says the magazine, is that "the candidate that appeals directly to this target group could gain a substantial edge.''

— Cox Newspapers (original posting St. Paul Pioneer Press, 7/18/04,

Friday, July 16, 2004

Boeing faces big sex-bias payout

Settlement of discrimination suit could cost $72.5 mil.

(Reuters) — Boeing Co. will pay between $40.6 million and $72.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by women alleging they were mistreated based on their gender, the No. 2 jet maker said Friday.

A Seattle judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement — including changes in the way Boeing evaluates workers for pay raises and promotions -- between the company and a plaintiffs group that could number as many as 29,000, Boeing said.

-> The case was first brought in February 2000 by female employees claiming Boeing tolerated sexual intimidation and improper advances in the workplace and paid women less than men doing the same jobs as far back as 1997.

"This agreement contains several enhancements related to performance evaluations, salary reviews, promotions and other employee relations practices,'' Boeing's Executive Vice President of Internal Services Laurette Koellner said.

The court will make a final ruling on the settlement proposal after all potential plaintiffs are notified and given time to file objections or to opt out of the pact.

Laurel here ... taken from our homepage: "It is our intention that if enough corporate executives track this blogger, perhaps they will "get it" and begin to make changes in the workplace to ensure we all live a more meaningful life."

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Escape From Corporate India?

What 's this you ask? Women striking out on their own in other parts of the world too? Yesiree. And more power to them. The following clips are referenced from the article, "Taking a giant leap," and published by The Hindu Business Line in India:

• Entrepreneurship is no longer a male bastion, as can be seen by the number of women entrepreneurs in the country. And this number is only growing.

• As any entrepreneur will tell you, the biggest hurdle that women entrepreneurs face is finance. But today, with the Government's emphasis on economic empowerment of women, there are a number of schemes to help women entrepreneurs.

• However, it is true that women have to work much harder to convince the authorities of their seriousness and capability to start and manage an enterprise.

• "There are basically three types of women we assist. One category is the first-generation entrepreneurs from poorer classes, who are uneducated but want to be economically independent and achieve something in life. The second category includes those who want to create more jobs and want to do something for society. The third and the last kind are the women who come from a family of entrepreneurs and want to continue the tradition and come to us for guidance and professional help," says Ramadevi.

This entrepreneurial trend is not just indicative of women in the United States but also holds true in other parts of the world.

To read the entire article, visit:

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Women business owners in the UK lack confidence?

• Today, The Financial Times published, "Start-ups surge but business failures are not far behind." The number of business start-ups has risen almost as fast in the past 12 months as in the five years leading up to 2002.

• However, the data also showed that 54 per cent more companies failed in 2003 than five years earlier, in part reflecting recent increases in interest rates. In 2002-03, the number of business start-ups increased 34.5 per cent to 392,189.

• In addition, research carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce published last month found there were only four women entrepreneurs for every 10 men running a business. This put the UK behind several countries including the US, Greece and Spain. The research by the chambers blamed a lack of confidence among women and a reticence to seek external financing.

Oh please. It's not the women, it's the system. The next thing you know, we will be seeing: Escape From UK to America!

To read the full article, visit:

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Some women find biggest rewards as entrepreneurs

Published by the Alaska Journal of Commerce, here's a look at what women had to say:

• "As time went on, I knew that if I chose a career track at a big company, I was going to run out of time," Shukla said. "Generally, I find that women have yet to make a sizable foray into corporate America as managers. That's cause enough to go out on your own."

• "Men have entrenched networks and tend to network better, I think," she added. "Historically, they've been able to climb the corporate ladder better. But I believe women share a higher responsibility when placed at the top of the company. You have to be twice as good, and if you have a family, you have to balance that in a way that a man does not."

• "We bring a different set of skills to the table," said McClain-Hill. "We are no strangers to obstacles, no strangers to the diplomacy it takes to navigate the corporate environment and society in general as gender perceptions still do exist."

• "There were 400 sales reps there and I was the only woman," she recalls. "You can imagine how fun that was. The atmosphere pretty much is what it is. You deal with the differences and the double standards, and you don't let it bother you."

• "Being a black woman, you have an added step on the climb up the ladder. Your credibility is called into question sometimes simply because you're not a white man," Woods explains. "And for me it became all about doing what I call my heart work -- the work I'm passionate about -- without being beholden to anyone."

• "Sexism wasn't the only reason, but it was one of the main reasons I started my own business," Fraser said. "I got tired of the 'honey this,' 'sweetie that' sensibility that you get sometimes in corporate America. I wanted to create my own workplace."

And here is one more interesting fact to remember from this great article: " ... a large reason for the growth of entrepreneurship among women is tied to the state of corporate America."

Sound all too familiar?

To read the full article, visit here:

Ouch, That Hurts: Morgan Stanley Settles Sex-Bias Suit For $54 Million

A couple of snippets from The Wall Street Journal (7/13/04) and The New York Times (7/13/04):

• Morgan Stanley (MS) agreed yesterday to pay $54 million to settle a sex discrimination case rather than stand trial on the federal government's accusation that it denied equal pay and promotions to women in a division of its investment bank.
• The settlement, which could cover as many as 340 women, is the second largest the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached with a company it sued and is the first with a major securities firm.
• Of the $54 million being paid by Morgan Stanley, $12 million will be paid to Allison Schieffelin, a 43-year-old former saleswoman whose repeated complaints of discrimination prompted the EEOC to file its class-action suit on September 10, 2001.
• Morgan Stanley agreed as part of a three-year consent decree to hire an outsider to monitor its hiring, pay and promotion practices for gender bias, field employee complaints and enhance its anti-discrimination training.
• As part of its suit on behalf of about 340 current and former female Morgan Stanley employees in the department, the EEOC claimed that women were systematically held back from promotions and pay raises, and that they had endured coarse behavior and lewd comments from their male colleagues and supervisors.
• It also alleged that women were excluded from sales outings with clients to golf resorts and strip clubs.
• Further, had the case not been settled, the EEOC was expected to present allegations including that some male Morgan Stanley employees ordered breast-shaped birthday cakes and hired strippers to entertain them while at work.
• Richard Berman, the judge in the Morgan Stanley case, described the settlement agreement as: "a watershed event" in "protecting the rights of women on Wall Street.'"

And we wonder why women are leaving Corporate America? Let's hear it for Allison Schieffelin!

Speaking of Success: Female Exec Leaves Corporate World For Entrepreneurship

In The Wall Street Journal's (July 12, 2004, for subscribers only) special Small Business Journal Report article, "Speaking of Success," consultant Gail Blanke -- formerly senior vice president of public affairs at Avon Products, Inc. -- talks about the pressure entrepreneurs face and how they overcome them. In particular, here are a couple of quotes from the article but as you read them, think about the mission of this blog: Why did Gail really leave Avon? What could Avon have done to keep her on board and nuture her entrepreneurial spirit?

Gail says:

• When I left Avon, where I was safe and secure, I described it as leaping off a diving board and inventing the water on the way down.
• I think we all have the stuff inside us to do it [start a business], but we get used to things being done in a certain way, like I did at Avon. I got used to having a lot of people working for me whom I could count on and trust. I got used to lots of departments I could access, like research and finance.
• Major corporations measure their success in terms of shareholder value, which is is appropriate. Small businesses measure their success in terms of identifying a unique selling proposition.
• The best people inside corporations have an entrepreneurial spirit, they are always looking for the new thing, a new way of doing it, a new way of seeing themselves.
• I think people want to leave a legacy, people want to do something good, create value they feel they can own and they can feel loyal to.
• We are looking for something bigger in our lives, some meaning, something to be a part of, maybe something larger than ourselves, and so I think that people who are called to be entrepreneurs are finding that spirit in themselves.

Why can't Corporate America fix this? Perhaps they should create a whole new concept for CEO: Chief Entrepreneurial Officer.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Wal-Mart suit turns spotlight on wage gap

Among many quotes referenced in The Seattle Times article by Stacey Hirsh, this one stands out:

"Women are called on and respond more than men do -- that's just the way it is," Goldin said of family matters. "This is the classic issue that corporate America has been waking up to for the past 15, 20 years -- that there are institutional details that have to be changed if they're going to tap into what is clearly now 50 percent of their talent."

To read the entire article, visit The Seattle Times: