All of us, from birth onward, learn by emulating others. Yet when it comes to our professional lives, we often forget that what we see, we imitate, and what we imitate, we become. This is obviously a positive thing for those who have found successful, encouraging mentors in their fields, but finding those mentors is still much easier for men than for women. In Be Your Own Mentor
, Sheila Wellington seeks to provide women not only with advice on locating appropriate mentors, but with the tools to mentor themselves and the opinions, advice, and encouragement of women leaders worth emulating.
Wellington speaks from a broad range of experience. Having spent 20 years working in public health and one term as the first female Secretary of Yale University, she now serves as the president of Catalyst, a nonprofit research organization that works to advance women in business. Catalyst has conducted numerous interviews, surveys, and focus groups on the subject of women succeeding and excelling in their professional lives, and the results of much of that research is included here. CEOs from industry and the nonprofit world, law-firm partners, university presidents, and senior consultants all add their two cents' worth (or more like six figures' worth) to Wellington's observations on everything from planning your career and avoiding being boxed in to learning how to network efficiently and successfully integrate your work life with your home life.
Be Your Own Mentor is jam-packed with informative statistics, useful suggestions, and encouraging reminders--almost to the point of overload. With so many "voices" and so many topics covered, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed. Despite this organizational drawback, however, this book is a useful tool for women, especially those just starting out. And for the avid emulator, who better to learn from than the likes of Zoe Baird, respected lawyer and president of the Markle Foundation; Betty Beene, president and CEO of United Way of America; Ellen Hancock, chairman and CEO of Exodus Communications; and Anne Mulcahy, president and COO of Xerox Corporation? On that note, the appendix, which provides career-path profiles of each of the pioneers quoted, is one of the most interesting sections of the book. --S. Ketchum
From Publishers Weekly
Currently president of Catalyst, a research organization on women in the workplace, Wellington was the first woman to hold the position of secretary and vice-president of Yale University. Here, she offers insights from Catalyst surveys and interviews with successful women in a variety of industries. According to the author, having a mentor is the best way to launch a successful career, but since finding and developing the right relationship can be difficult, women must learn key strategies for propelling their own advancement. Among them: develop an "executive presence," gain visibility, become a time-management expert, hire excellent at-home help and network constantly. Key principles are embellished with comments from accomplished women, including Carly Fiorini of Hewlett-Packard, Andrea Jung of Avon, and Judith Rodin, president of the University of Pennsylvania. However, while the quotations are compelling, the book is poorly organized. Chapters addressing different aspects of career success--networking, switching positions, establishing a reputation, balancing work and home life--all meld together, and little of the advice stands out. (Feb.) Forecast: Because of the notable women included here, as well as Catalyst's strong reputation, the book is bound to attract publicity. But in the end, its sales won't rise above those of the average fare in women and business category.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.