I know I'm supposed to be writing about horrible bosses I worked for and hated. I can't do that. What I can do is write about why more women don't climb high enough in the corporate structure. It's about mentoring, white guys in ties and corporate goddesses in stilettos.
Sheryl Sandburg made big bucks with Lean In where she writes about why women are and aren't promoted in corporate America today. Sure, she made it to the top. She had good mentors along the way. Heavens knows, she dropped enough names. She wasn't afraid to try to have it all, to lean in and ask for promotions and challenges, to balance work and life from a position of advantage. Well educated and in an industry that recognizes potential over experience. Sure, she made her way to the top. I'm not taking anything away from her. I applaud her, but what she writes about is out of reach for most of us.
Jane Rosen, author of My Life as a Corporate Goddess, offers a witty, pointed look at the difference between men and women in offices with great views. She's been there. She's done that. In this book, originally published in 2008 and now out for Kindle, she uses satire to make her points. (Don't you just love the cover? I'd buy the book based on that even if I didn't know what was inside.)
Rosen writes of the need for women who made it to mentor those on the way up. Mentoring starts at home where parents should encourage children of both sexes to do their best, set goals and achieve them. Mentoring continues through school and college, where teachers, counselors and professors should guide boys and girls, not tell them some jobs are closed to them. Mentoring becomes critical in the workplace.
Note in Sheryl Sandburg's book, she tells readers not to ask her to mentor them because she doesn't know them. Fair enough, but does she really mentor women she knows? Rosen has done that all her life, whether it was in public broadcasting (Yes, you'll find an Emmy on her bookshelf) to working for top management at NCR, she's had women assistants whom she taught to excel.
Okay, time to confess. I met Jane in 1996. She was fresh off a divorce, a single mother with a great young teenage son, returning to her home town (Dayton, OH) after a whirlwind career working in public broadcasting in Austin, TX. You figure out which show she produced to earn her Emmy. We became friends, still are. When she was thinking about writing about corporate goddesses, she interviewed a variety of different women in the workplace. She thought my story was one worth sharing.
I learned more from Jane than she did from me, I think. We both mentor women, she working with them to shape the marketing messages for their businesses. I work with newbie writers through social media and countless speaking engagements.
Jane and I both write. She's working to get two wonderful plays produced; I'm working to get my second Mad Max book published. There's always more room on the ladder to the top. Climb on, women. We'll be there to lend a hand, an ear and a tissue.
Yours in goddess-hood.
Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences. She is the current president of the state-wide Virginia Writers Club where she finds ample opportunity to mentor writers.