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2 posts from August 2010

August 26, 2010

Women Count with Susan Bulkeley Butler

Screen shot 2010-08-26 at 9.28.00 AMIt is both ironic and a privilege that I would have the opportunity to review Women Count: a Guide to Changing the World by Susan Bulkeley Butler and attend Jill's Konrath's Sales Shebang meeting in Chicago in the same week.

Women Count is a book that's part women's history lesson and part "let's get to work," inspiration. Younger women will be stunned at what we seasoned types have literally worked through these past decades. Those of us on the far end of the work-life-cycle, with scars of self-preservation to prove it, will appreciate the reminder of how far we have come. Conversely, the younger crowd will be able to read and jumpstart their careers. 

Susan, who also wrote Become the CEO of You, Inc., makes her second book personal by including her own experiences as she rose through the business ranks to become the first women partner at the company that became Accenture. Her life anchors the book which highlights the work of many female benchmark setters. 

Once the history lesson is captured, she then switches her focus on what women have left to do to let their values and their ideas become the norm instead of the afterthought. To underscore the unbalance she reminds us that only 3% of the Fortune 500 have women CEOs and yet 50% of the population is made up of women. That shouldn't matter if men and women made decisions the same way, but we don't, if we did there would be no need for women's groups to be forming by the thousands. Clearly we get something from business relationships with each other that we cannot get in a mixed crowd--for example, the Sales SheBang meeting is an all women event.

Perhaps the most useful part of the book comes at the end where Susan addresses how to put a plan of action together. She has seen many great ideas die without this critical first step accomplished. 

If you're at a crossroads in your life and need a shot of pride in your past along with pragmatic next steps, Women Count will help you change your own world first. 

August 09, 2010

Why Great Teachers Quit

Screen shot 2010-08-09 at 6.59.16 AMA few years back, a friend of mine was griping about how easy teachers have it and how only the bad ones stay to teach. I was stunned. Could she possible be serious? Or maybe she just didn't have any teachers for friends. "They always cut out at the end of the day as fast as they can," she said. "They're probably heading to their second job," was my reply. Her solution was to gather with her other mom friends and pray that God would find an answer--He did, many years later in Katy Farber who decided to shine a big light on the issues and the solutions. Rather than wait for an answer on high, Katy researched the frustrations and offers them back in a concise summation of facts, failings and successes.

Her book, Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus lists off the usual suspects:

  • Standardized testing.
  • Working conditions.
  • Ever-higher expectations.
  • Bureaucracy.
  • Respect and Compensation.
  • Parents, Administrators and School Boards.

She then offers resources and solutions culled from interviews with 70 teachers across the nation. Their stories echo the frustration this profession generates. The issues raised are not new, but by having them all in one book it allows each participating member to see things from the other's perspective. As the adage goes, "Awareness is the first step..."

Why Great Teachers Quit is an essential workbook and reminder of how pervasive the problems are and what simple steps could be taken to reverse the brain drain. Each school system has it within their ability to retain the top influencers on the next generation; Katy's book can turn the he said/she said battles into "We did it together" solutions. 

Thank you Katy for changing our world and keeping the best teachers in place and our kids safe at home