After living at home with three boys, the author felt she had to talk with some women. Once she started interviewing “dynamic, motivated women” she found she couldn’t stop. The result of all that talking and interviewing is a new book, Stiletto Network: Inside the Women’s Power Circles That are Changing the Face of Business by Pamela Ryckman.
The idea and the research started when the author attended a women’s conference in California. She met many professional women who didn’t “carp about balance” who didn’t feel oppressed or “under siege.” Professional women from age 20 to 70 began to give the author stories about how fun it is to be a part of women’s group and how they appreciated being a part of such a group.
Ryckman writes, “I started to discover dinner groups and salons and co-working and networking circles in major cities across the United States. In almost every case, the women thought they were alone in the assembling clusters of dear, smart girlfriends who met regularly to learn and share.”
The author left a successful career in consulting and investment banking to become a journalist. She started writing from home and experienced rejection after rejection. She went from a job where she felt relevant to a new career where she had to start from the ground up and at much smaller pay scale.
“I felt humbled and demoralized and irrelevant,” Ryckman writes.
Writing was her first love and she felt she could be successful if someone would give her the chance. Another “prominent female writer” gave her the chance she was hoping for while at the same time putting herself on the line. That was just the beginning of the women that came along to help the author progress in her new career.
“This is what Stiletto Networks have been doing for each other, and now it’s what they’ve done for me,” Ryckman writes.
The author uses lots of stories to illustrate how women are helping women and to profile a number of stiletto networks. Ryckman said that it is a national trend and groups are establishing themselves in Los Angeles, New York, Anchorage, Atlanta among other places. She also writes about women reaching across industries to get know each other.
“As a result, many of the top women in technology now know the top women in finance, who know the top women in media, who know the top women in law, who know the top women in retail, and so on.”
She has also found that professional women in the twenties and thirties are following their “executive elders” and reaching out to help their peers. The only comment that I didn’t really care for is on where Ryckman includes a comment from someone she is interviewing for the book where that person said that women in their 50s are tired.
It’s still hard enough for women when they begin to age a bit and to say that these women who have led the way for the younger generation is tired is damaging to that generation. Those women have fought long and hard for the top spots and the careers they have worked hard and long for and had to nourish on their own. To denigrate their efforts by mentioning their age and that they are “exhausted” is disappointing in an otherwise exciting book.
All-in-all, the book carries a great message for professional women that it is ok to help each other, to rely on each other and to be a woman instead of trying to be one of the guys at the office or at the executive meeting table.Powered by Sidelines