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Over the course of a year, Selena Rezvani interviewed women executives in various industries, roles, and job functions, including Jamie McCourt, president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Denise Incandela, president of Saks Direct at Saks Fifth Avenue, Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Naomi Earp, chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The result is The Next Generation of Women Leaders, a penetrating, eye-opening, and ultimately empowering narrative, filled with stories of remarkable women who navigated the leadership maze and triumphed.
While the leadership landscape may be shifting in women's favor, women are nowhere near an equal presence in leadership roles when compared to men. Rezvani's achievement was to engage some extraordinarily accomplished women as mentors, each of whom provided tools and information that young women can use to shape their own careers. The Next Generation of Women Leaders encourages younger women to be their own advocates when it comes to professional growth and advancement, and it provides tangible how-tos on negotiating the workplace as a woman.
I purchased my first business at age 22 (1969) and I can certainly attest that what I needed to know I didn't learn in business school. It took me years to "figure" things out and 40+ years later I'm still learning. I do recall the struggles and chaos that came with owing that first business and it certainly would have been much easier if I had acquired some prior knowledge through academia. But, then I wonder if I would have learned the "nuts and bolts" of running a business from a professor that has never owned or managed a business. Many professors have never walked the talk.
Although I didn't notice any social barriers because I was female, I was astonished to read the studies that women face. As well it was interesting to read about economic parity, especially around pay equity. Fortunately, due to many laws and wider acceptance of women in management positions the upcoming generations will not have to face these obstacles.
"The Next Generation of Women Leaders" is not just about understanding the past, but it also gives information on how to position oneself to lead, as well as how to succeed on and off the job, networking, negotiating, maneuvering through the office politics, and successfully attaining goals. Intended to give better understanding to generation X and Y on how to position oneself in the business society, I found the information in this book very useful for my generation (baby boomer) as well.
I commend Selena Rezvani on bringing to the forefront such important information. Her understanding of being a female in the business community shows through her knowledge and experience. The interviews she conducted with high-positioned female executives present hope to future generations. She also establishes, that yes, as women, we can hold high executive positions and still serve well in roles of wives, partners, friends, and mothers.
I highly recommend this book to any young woman entering a career or has aspirations of becoming a leader. I also believe this book should be a "must read" in all business curriculum, not only for females but males as well.