2 Reasons To Read This Book:
- Gain a female perspective into being successful in big business or entrepreneurship
- Read real-life stories of successful women entrepreneurs, not academic prescriptions for success
Two divergent paths. One goal. This book is a combination of the life stories of entrepreneurs & small business owners Anne Deeter Gallaher and Amy D. Howell. Anne is the CEO/Owner of Deeter Gallaher Group LLC, a marketing/PR firm located in Harrisburg, PA. Amy is the CEO of Howell Marketing Strategies, a PR and marketing firm located in Memphis, TN.
What is unique about the book is that the authors write from a female view of the business world as businesspeople, wives, and mothers. They share their life stories through 13 chapters. Each author explains her unique journey to reaching what they call “high gear”. Their overall goal in writing this book was to help the reader shorten her learning curve to reaching their own high gear. The book was written for anyone new to the workforce, currently in the midst of their career, on-ramping, or aspiring to become an executive or an entrepreneur.
What You’ll Gain
All 13 chapters of “Women in High Gear” contain two parts, each in the voice of Ms. Deeter Gallaher or Ms. Howell. This means that readers gain advice from a wider and more diverse breadth of stories and experiences from both authors. This dual author format greatly enhances relatability and supports the authors’ claims that the definition of “high gear” is different for everyone.
Throughout the book, the authors deliver practical advice and don’t beat around the bush in doing so. To achieve your business goals, you have to work for them; high gear typically is not associated with a 40 work week. While this advice seems obvious, I found it reassuring to hear that hard work generally pays off and very few float to the top with little efforts.
The authors also tackle pressures that typically impact women in particular such as work/life balance and gender-specific styles of leadership. In the chapter, “Emotional Resilience,” the authors stress developing a thicker skin. This means that aspiring leaders should place a greater priority on being respected, rather than being liked – a mindset that many of the people, particularly women, I know struggle with in decision making. The authors also ask women to play to their strengths of intuition. One story I enjoyed was when Ms. Howell was stuck in a meeting late in the afternoon that she could see was moving away from resolution. She took it upon herself to order cookies and coffee, which fueled the executives to finish up negotiations and stop picking on the nitty-gritty. Being a mother, she could spot the low blood sugar-induced crankiness and fix the problem.
The book concludes with a top 10 list from Ms. Gallaher, outlining strategies for developing your shift into high gear. While most of these tips discuss networking, work ethic, and the building of your brand, Ms. Gallaher makes sure to include that a successful person must also make time for living a “robust life” – a reminder that is refreshing to see in any career development manuscript.
While the book is written from a woman’s point of view, the shared experiences and advice could be applicable to any driven business person aspiring to move to the next step of their career. I’m sure that both men and women have similar insecurities or uncertainties when first starting off and could benefit from the wisdom shared this book.
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