Q&A About DARE the Book
Why did you write Dare?
The top jobs in corporate America were once reserved for men. I was fortunate to be among the first women to break this tradition when I became CIO of one of the largest utility companies in the world. Getting there was not easy, and during my career journey, I learned many important lessons. As a result, I've strived to mentor other women seeking the same career path, to help them find their own way to success. I saw writing Dare as my chance to mentor women beyond my immediate circle.
Why do women need to dare more to reach the top jobs?
Sometimes women don't aim for the top jobs because they haven't seen women in those positions. It is hard to be something you've never seen, and I remember how inspired I was when I first met women who had reached top leadership roles. Women are often taught early in life to ask permission before taking action, but the business world needs leaders who take initiative. Dare shows women how to take initiative in ways that inspire others to follow.
Why are role models and mentors important?
It's critically important to nurture and build strong support networks. Don't be afraid to ask for help. You need mentors who can coach you and help you keep a positive, can-do attitude. You need sponsors who will back you to other higher-level managers. You need to work with people who are positive, ethical, and have skills that you lack. Having a strong social safety net makes risk-taking much, much easier.
Dare offers advice from top C-suite executive women. What commonalities did you find in their advice and willingness to mentor?
I found they all showed great passion to help other women. They recognize that women still face challenges in climbing the corporate ladder and in dealing with the fear of failure, especially when confronting tough or new assignments. They emphasized how important it is to take risks, embrace new experiences, and to understand what it is you really want. Their stories, as well as my own, will inspire others to do more.
How will DARE help women in the workplace?
Dare provides women with a realistic vision of what it takes to achieve success in their professional lives. It shares wisdom, inspiration, and most of all real-life examples from some of the best female role models in the business world. My career journey began at the very bottom and with a degree from a wonderful, but not well-known, institution.
I also spent quite a few years "stuck" in middle management. In other words, I've experienced many of the same setbacks and circumstances facing most women working today, and my advice reflects that.