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Time for Women to Embrace Success: Kim Shepherd to AMA Seminars Catalog

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Decision Toolbox Chairwoman Kim Shepherd’s article for AMA Quarterly earlier this year was used for an excerpt in AMA Seminars Catalog.  A PDF of the article can be downloaded here and a copy of the article appears below.


Time for Women to Embrace Success


How great is it to be a CEO?

Not only do I get to nurture the culture of a great company, but I’m
also invited to speak to organizations for women in business. These
groups usually expect to hear stories about women’s struggles and
words of motivation for fighting the good fight.

Here’s the catch: I don’t think focusing on the struggle is such
a good thing. I’m deeply grateful to all those who have struggled
through the years to help women be where we are now. But women
today should take a new approach. Every time we say, “We’re not
equal,” we’re helping to create that reality in the world and in our
own minds.

Besides, there are many factors behind the low numbers of
women in management roles and the gender pay gap—and
discrimination is just one of them. For example, women continue
to pursue careers in areas in which management paths are fewer
and pay is lower, such as education, healthcare, and social work.

Behind that fact, however, is the observation that societal dynamics
compel women to choose such paths; Jessica Schieder and Elise
Gould provide much more detail in a July 20, 2016, report from the
Economic Policy Institute.

Focus on the positive

It’s one of the most important things women leaders can do: help
other women focus on the power they already have, not on the
obstacles. Women may not be aware of it, but marketing professionals
have known for years that women make the spending decisions,
and almost all marketing is targeted toward women.

Women have the characteristics that companies want today.
More companies are seeing a correlation between success and the
qualities that we often associate with women, such as emotional

Women leaders can help other women stop focusing on the
struggle and start building on their strengths. Be strong, be brave,
be yourself. It may be the most radically effective strategy a woman
leader can execute.

Kim Shepherd is Chairwoman at Decision Toolbox, an Engage2Excel

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