Synopses & Reviews
Surprising secrets of success from some of America's women leaders; all the things a mentor would tell you are revealed in this mentor-in-a-book. Sheila Wellington, the president of Catalyst, draws on Catalyst research, contacts, and know-how to tell you how to understand the unspoken rules in the real world of work today and how to get ahead.
Catalyst studies reveal that having a mentor is the crucial key to success at work, and it's the single advantage men usually have, and women usually don't. Even at the best organizations for women, there is still a shortage of mentors. Be Your Own Mentor becomes that mentor for you, providing through stories and eye-opening advice a step-by-step guide to advancement. How to master the art of networking, how to create opportunities to gain experience and visibility, how to manage time, how to negotiate salary, and much, much more is discussed, as you learn from leading women how they got where they are, the mistakes they feel they've made along the way, and how they created lives of achievement and satisfaction. Hear from women such as Carly Fiorina (CEO, Hewlett-Packard), Cathleen Black (president, Hearst Magazines), Judith Rodin (president, University of Pennsylvania), and Andrea Jung (president and CEO, Avon). From that first resume all the way to the CEO's office, Be Your Own Mentor guides you along your path to success.
Be Your Own Mentor gives advice from top women on how to:
Devise a short-term and long-term career strategy
Gain visibility in the workplace and in your field
Create opportunities to gain valuable experience
Change your career path
Balance work and family
And much, much more...
About the Author
Sheila Wellington has been president of Catalyst since 1993. Prior to joining Catalyst, she was the first woman Secretary of Yale University. Catalyst, a nonprofit research and advisory organization, works to advance women in business. Called groundbreaking, by The Wall Street Journal
, Catalyst is the leading source of information on women in business, and for the past four decades has had the knowledge and tools to help women and companies maximize their potential.
Betty Spence, Ph.D., is a freelance writer and journalist and former vice president of communications at Catalyst.
Reading Group Guide
This discussion guide will assist readers in exploring The Be Your Own Mentor
. We hope it will help create a bond not only between the book and the reader, but also between the members of the reading group. In your support of this book, please feel free to copy and distribute this guide to best facilitate your reading program.
1. In Chapter one, Wise Up, Sheila Wellington discusses many of the misconceptions we have about the work place, like being a woman does not make things different for you or that things will get better over time. Do you agree with her assessment of the current environment for women on the job? Have you ever suffered in your own career because of any of these common misconceptions? Now that you are aware of these misconceptions, what are some ways you can work to change things in your own career or office environment?
2. In Chapter two, You Can if You Plan, you are asked to "consider your career in the larger perspective of your life." Where do you see yourself in 2, 5, 10, and 20 years? Are the decisions you are making today in both your personal and professional life putting you on the course to achieving these goals? If not, is your career plan realistic for you and your lifestyle? If so, what are five changes you can make today that will put you in a better position to be where you want to be in 2, 5, 10, and 20 years. If you are having trouble designing a career path for yourself or you know where you want to be in 20 years but have no idea how to get there, try answering the questions in chapter 2 in the section titled "How to Create a Self-Developed Career Plan." Read over the Pioneer Profiles at the end of the book and try to identify several women whom you would like to emulate in your own career. Can their profiles help you in designing your own path?
3. The importance of developing your own career plan cannot be stressed enough, but your plan does not need to be so rigid as to not allow for the possibility of change and the ability to take advantage of unforeseeable opportunities. Are you locked into a single vision of your future? If so, how can you work make yourself more flexible and responsive to opportunities? Are you prepared with the necessary skills that would allow you to take advantage of alternate career paths?
4. Many women understandably believe that "talent and hard work bring success." These are definitely necessary ingredients, but they are not the only ones. What are some of the other necessary components to a successful career? Have you developed these assets in your own life, and what are a few that you don't yet possess?
5. Personal style and how others perceive us in the workplace is something many women never consider, but is a key factor in getting ahead and should be consciously developed just like any other asset. Evaluate your style and whether or not it is appropriate for your work environment. Is it a look and attitude with which coworkers, both male and female, can be comfortable? Does your look fit in with what most people in your office are wearing, or does it deviate greatly?
6. Evaluate your own organization by taking "The Women-Friendly Test" in chapter two. Is it women-friendly? What are some ways in which it could be more so? Are there steps you could personally take to improve the environment for not only yourself but other women as well? If you are just starting out in your career or changing jobs, remember to evaluate the organization you are looking to become a part of for its treatment of women and the opportunities for advancement currently available to women.
7. Wellington's third axiom is "If you don't blow your horn, nobody else will." Many women feel that bragging or making others aware of their personal achievements and contributions is offensive and they should keep quiet. In fact the opposite is true, like most men women should not feel that walking in to their bosses office or a meeting and taking credit for hard work is in any way inappropriate. You cannot wait for people to notice your contributions or brag on you, you need to learn to do it for yourself. Are you making your boss aware of all you do? Are you taking credit for your work on projects in meetings? What are several ways in which you can help get people talking about you and your achievements? Try to think of five projects or tasks you have accomplished that you think people should be aware of and tell your boss and your mentor.
8. In chapter six, "Your Number One Success Strategy: Networking," Wellington discusses the importance of networking, making connections at your office, in your industry, and in the community, in order to increase your ability to take advantage of opportunities for career advancement. In fact, she list networking as the number one strategy for getting ahead. Try to identify the informal networks in your office. Do you feel excluded from these because you are a woman? What are some ways in which you can create your own informal network, ones that are woman-friendly? What organizations could you join in your own community to help you network?
9. Many of the women in this book have achieved high levels of success in the corporate environment, and as a result have had to become experts in balancing their office and home lives. What are some of the specific challenges you face in trying to balance these two components of your own life? How can you incorporate the advice and strategies of the female pioneers in this book into your own life? Have you explored the possibility of a flexible work arrangement?
10. Think about your own experiences in life and at work and determine who your own mentors have been. What have you learned from them that would make them a mentor? What areas of your career right now do you feel could benefit from the advice of a mentor? Try to identify several people in your office or network that could fulfill this role and approach them directly as a possible mentor or just try to make a time to meet with them to discuss your career.