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What 2015 Holds For Me, And For Women In Business: A Letter From Susan Butler

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


I’ve been writing lately about how we need to change the dynamic for women in the workplace.

If we want to make real change, we need to aim for the stars. We must make a commitment to do it, like we did with the Moon Shot program in the 1960s and like entrepreneurs are doing with commercial space travel today. We must do what it takes to ‘make it happen!’

As women, we need to be more proactive – and confident in our workplaces. We need to start or participate in mentoring and coaching programs. We need to check any natural timidness at the door, and be aggressive and confident in our abilities—in meetings, in our relationships, in our work.

And –if we are going to make corporate America better for women, we need to get the current group of top executivesMEN – on board to help.

With men in the CEO’s office in 475 of the Fortune 500 companies, and men still holding the vast majority of corporate director seats, we simply can’t make change without bringing men along.

To do this, I believe, we need to make sure current corporate leaders understand the well-known value of having more women in top leadership positions. More women in leadership roles means more diversity in decision-making. It makes companies more appealing to a broader population. And as study after study has shown, more women in leadership positions make for better financial returns for companies.

We need to make 2015 a year that men get more involved in gender equality issues.

What does 2015 hold for me?

I will continue writing and speaking about gender equality in the workplace and in society.

I will continue to work with Drexel University‘s Vision 2020 organization and the Thirty Percent Coalition organization to bring about change to equality for women.

I will continue to help younger women plan their futures through coaching and mentoring.


So what does the rest of 2015 hold for you?

Won't you join me in helping change the world for women?


This blog post includes an excerpt from Susan's newsletter. If you're interested in receiving more content like this, you can sign up here.

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8 Ways to make an Impact At Meetings

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


If you want to move ahead in your company or organization, participating in meetings is a part of life.

Women are typically at a disadvantage in meetings, as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton professor Adam Grant point out so accurately in a recent New York Times piece.

Women tend to shy away from speaking up at meetings. When they do, they’re often interrupted, or their ideas are hijacked by men, Sandberg and Grant point out.

The key to changing this dynamic is preparation.

So how do you prepare for a meeting - or do you?

Here are some simple steps:

Before the meeting

Understand the purpose of the meeting and why you are there. What information do you have that will contribute to the discussion and the outcome of the meeting?

Familiarize yourself with who will be at the meeting. Before you sit down with them, have an understanding of their roles. If you don’t know all the participants, try to meet them in advance.

At the meeting

Be sure to “sit at the table.” Make yourself known! Introduce yourself, and be a good listener.

Contribute. You may have a good idea that hasn’t been mentioned. Or your may want to expand on someone else’s comments. If you need to, interrupt –politely – where appropriate.


After the meeting

Brief your team on the meeting, if appropriate. The information may be helpful to the work they are doing. Or it may just be beneficial in conversations they have with others who were at the meeting.

Reflect on what you learned. How will the outcome of this meeting impact your work? What will you do to be better prepared next time?

If you had been running this meeting, what would you have done differently? If significant, share with the meeting’s organizer.

Solidify your next steps. What follow-up do you need to do?

Success for you may be impacted by how you handle yourself in meetings. Remember you were invited for a reason. Your success will be impacted based on how you handle yourself at meetings – ask for feedback or coaching about how you’re doing.

Be prepared. Be confident. Contribute. And succeed.

Read more at my blog on Huffington Post.

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A New Year Message From Susan Butler: Set Your Own GPS For 2015

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Wishing all of you a happy New Year!

This is a new year for each of us, and an opportunity for each of us to begin shaping the year we want for ourselves.

Ask yourself: by December 31, 2015, what do you what to have achieved? As the CEO of You, Inc. what is your strategy?

As I am writing this to each of you, I am sitting here wondering what I want to achieve. As you can tell, I am a bit late in developing my own strategy.

I think about the following goals:

  • To continue to bring about ‘shared-leadership’ into more organizations, which brings more women - at least 30% - into senior leadership roles.
  • To determine how I help younger women (the millennials) to be better prepared for their future.
  • Perhaps there is a new book on the horizon.
  • And, most importantly, to reach out to my family, friends, relatives, and people I don’t even know, to help them achieve who they want to be.
  • To love and be loved.

To reach these goals, I know I need to stay on course in the months ahead. This is the time, at the start of a year, to set that course; to program my GPS; to begin the next leg of my journey with the end in mind.

It is important for each of us to be responsible for who we are and who we want to be.

I encourage you to take some time to set your own GPS for 2015. And there’s no better time to do that than in these early days of this new year.


All the best in preparing your GPS and starting your journey into 2015!


Your coach,


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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Roz Brewer

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


She spoke at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit last week, she's the CEO of Sam's Club, and she knows firsthand that women and minorities face a lot of inequity in the workplace - and she's not afraid to talk about it. Roz Brewer's greatest asset is more than just her $57.2 billion (annual) wholesale club business, it's also her voice.

During her speech at the Next Gen Summit, Brewer said that, despite being the CEO of a company that is a unit of WalMart, she still has to describe what she does because they assume that because she is both African American and a woman she couldn't have such a high profile corporate job. They don't know that Sam's Club, viewed on its own even without WalMart, would be the 8th largest retailer in the U.S.

"It's a reality - there are still so many inequities in the workplace," Brewer said, "I see it everyday. They're happening in companies... I get tested every day."

Brewer has held her CEO title since 2012, and spoke out about how women regularly have to face larger hurdles than men in the same position. When asked what the best way for aspiring female executives to make their way up the ladder is, she said "not to act like men." She added, "I've never in my career emulated a man."

And why should she? Brewer found success by striving to oversee a business that is clearly reliable, clearly identifiable, well-known, and has a clear profit and loss statement consistently.

In speaking with CNN correspondent Poppy Harlow, she said: "I want to see more women run a P&L. You're at the decision table."

In addition, Brewer also spoke out in a call to action to other female executives, who she said could do more to mentor up-and-coming women in a company's ranks. She herself was a mentor for Tracey Lloyd, a veteran who took a job at Walmart after a tour in Iraq. The two speak everyday, and Lloyd is now a market manager.

So this week I want to celebrate Roz, not just for her accomplishments, but also for using her voice and compelling other women to mentor each other and become their own inspiration for what kind of career they want others to emulate.


Wednesday's Woman of the Week is a weekly feature. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know on my Facebook page ( or Twitter (@SusanBButler). I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Tory Burch

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Not only is Tory Burch a succesfull business woman and fashion designer, but she's been getting the spotlight recently for her philanthropy as well. She's also the founder of her own foundation, the Tory Burch Foundation, which paired up with Bank of America to create the Elizabeth Street Capital. The initiative aims at helping women entrepreneurs gain access to affordable loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities.

Burch went from one fashion boutique to 125 freestanding stores globally. As an entrepreneur she has strived and succeeded, and I want to recognize her for taking the next big step - mentoring the women entrepreneurs in her wake by mentoring and connecting them, creating a network of women who can work together and help to bring the equality we need in the workforce.

An important part of the Elizabeth Street Capital Initiative is the person to person aspect. There will be special mentoring and networking events hosted by the Tory Burch Foundation and Bank of America that will connect successful entrepreneurs and business leaders with local women who are looking for guidance on their entrepreneurial journey, and to form a community they can rely on.

Building on a spirit of collaboration, which I think we can all applaud and learn from, Tory Burch and Bank of America are also partnering with Community Development Financial Institution to help women entrepreneurs receive equal access to afforable loans to encouarge and enhance economic growth and development.

That's important because most entrepreneurs who are just starting out often don't qualify for traditional bank loans. This is especially true for female entrepreneurs, who have been cited in many studies as more likely to struggle than their male counterparts in accessing capital.

Burch's rise to entrepreneurial stardom sent a message out to banks, said Anne Finucane, global chief strategy and marketing officer at Bank of America, who said that "despite [the bank's] expansive small business program, successful founders like Burch who should be granted loans could still be slipping through the cracks."

I want to celebrate Burch this week for this initiative, which exemplifies partnership, collaboration, equality, and support for a large network of women. Elizabeth Street refers to the location of Burch's first boutique, her launching pad that grew her business into a global brand with stores all around the world. Women who come together and participate in this initiative can help grow their own "Elizabeth Streets," their launching pads that can help them grow and succeed. Thanks, Tory, for helping other women!



Wednesday's Woman of the Week is a weekly feature. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know on my Facebook page ( or Twitter (@SusanBButler). I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Caterina Fake

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Handfuls of studies and online articles from prominent thoughtleaders and influencers have been echoing the lack of women in technology and the sciences. One woman who is challenging this dilemma, and working toward change, is Caterina Fake. She's an entrepreneur hiring women engineers and showing Silicon Valley, and the world, that women can make a difference.

Fake is the co-founder of Flickr, a photo sharing site that is now owned by Yahoo, and online recommendation technology Hunch. In 2011 she launched Findery, a social discovery app that attracted many prospective female employees. The app has raised nearly $10 million in funding, and includes seven women employees out of 13 total full-time staffers. Men only outnumber women by one on the software engineering side, specifically.

This past May, Google released the demographic makeup of its workforce, prompting other companies like Yahoo, Twitter, and Facebook to do the same. The results revealed that women made up no more than 17 percent of each company's workforce.

But that doesn't deter Fake: "It's all about women knowing women, and deliberately recruiting women," Fake told Fortune, "Any women that you can bring on at the get-go almost guarantees that you'll have more women at your company. At Findery, we have the good fortune of starting with a lot of women, having a woman founder, having a very women-friendly culture - and a general natural outcome of those things is that you have an inordinate number of women applying for jobs both in engineering and other areas."

She also told Fortune that the network effect is critical in hiring women. When it comes to maintaining a healthy gender balance at her company, she credited two principles only: make workforce diversity a priority, and give minority employees the opportunity to meet leaders at tech companies that they have not met before.

As I discuss in both Women Count and Become The CEO of You, Inc, women supporting and mentoring other women is one step we can take to gain equality for women in the workforce today - and, as Fake has shown, if we make it a priority we can start to increase the numbers and make a change. Thank you, Catherina, for being a shining example of what we can do to help women succeed!


Wednesday's Woman of the Week is a weekly feature. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know on my Facebook page ( or Twitter (@SusanBButler). I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Ellyn Shook

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


It was announced this past week that Accenture has teamed up Girls Who Code to support technology careers for young women. A great friend of mine, Ellyn Shook, chief human resources officer, played a major role in this initiative. I would like to celebrate Ellyn this week, and the effort she put into advancing women in girls in the tech industry, a realm sorely in need of more women.

"Every day we provide more than 100,000 women working at Accenture with the tools and resources they need to develop their careers and be successful," Ellyn told Yahoo! Finance last week, "By bringing these capabilities to Girls Who Code, we hope to inspire and guide more young women to become technology leaders."

According to the same Yahoo! Finance article, Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization with a goal to close the gender gap in the techshnology field. Through its Summer Immersion Program and Girls Who Code Clubs, the organization is leading a movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.

Just 25 percent of women in the U.S. workforce hold jobs in the technical or computing fields. Accenture, with Ellyn and her team's help, is looking to increase this number. Ellyn is currently responsible for Accenture's talent strategies program, and in this role she leads a global team of human resource professionals responsible for recruiting, learning and development, compensation, benefits, equity programs, engagement and retention, and employee relations. She's a member of Accenture's Global Management Committee.

Thank you, Ellyn, for all of the work you do at Accenture. Thank you for inspiring girls to pursue their dreams. It's programs and partnerships like these that will help get women on boards in the future, and that can help close the gender gap for good.


Wednesday's Woman of the Week is a weekly feature. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know on my Facebook page ( or Twitter (@SusanBButler). I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Brownie Wise

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Brownie Wise doesn't just have a name you won't forget, but she created a business empire that has seamlessly integrated its way into American homes since the 1940s: Tupperware. While on the surface Wise fit the profile of the sterotypical proper housewife, she took her business to a multi-million dollar comapny with her keen sense of networking, drive, and her ability to work as a team with the women she employed.

Wise, a single mother and former sales representative for Stanley Home Products, founded both Tupperware and the "party plan" system of marketing that she used to take it from a startup business to a multi-million dollar company. She was the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week, and Sandra Bullock will star as her in an upcoming movie based on her life.

The first full year of Wise's CEO duties was 1952. Wholesale orders exceeded $2 million. During the last half of that year, that number tripled. Wise earned nearly $21,000 that year, which was the largest salary she had ever made. But Wise pushed further, traveling the country recruiting, leading sales conferences, and announcing prize incentives. She even gave away her own clothes, at times, for prize incentives.

Wise's business tactics reflect the sentiment that women need to work smarter by leveraging their networking skills, and that we can mentor each other and help one another move forward in our careers. Wise held Tupperware parties and invited women to not only buy the product, but to become Tupperware salespeople themselves. By late 1949 she had recruited 19 saleswomen, which was enough to grow her business from her home to a large warehouse. Growing her business organically, and by teaming up with other women, Wise attracted the attention of the founder of the Tupperware Corporation, Earl Silas Tupper.

Elsie Mortland, who was recruited at a Tupperware party and rose to become Tupperware's Home Kitchen Demonstrator, said in an interview: "No woman got praised for scrubbing floors. But when they got praised for selling Tupperware, they had something to be proud of."

Looking back at her career, Wise embodied the true spirit of a female entrepreneur. Her skills at incentivizing sales, networking and recruiting other women, publishing training materials like newsletters and infomercials, and becoming the face of her company solidified her as one of the greatest businesswomen and entrepreneurs of the 20th century.

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Elise Stefanik

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Last night was a night of firsts. For starters, congress now has 100 women for the first time in U.S. history. Second, Elise Stefanik is one of those women, and she is the youngest woman ever elected to congress.

At age 30 Elise Stefanik won her race last night against Aaron Woolf in New York's 21st open district 56-32. She is the first Republican to win the district, which was previously held by Democratic Representative Bill Owens since 1993.

Stefanik has already received a lot of attention, and is quickly becoming the new face and image for the GOP. Her youth, energy and vitality is the GOP's ticket to appeal to younger demographics, and she is backed by supporters like House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevn McCartney, who campaigned for her on her trail.

But this is far from Stefanki's first forway into Washington politics. Previously she worked for the President George W. Bush administration on the Domestic Policy Council, where she oversaw both economic and domestic policty in the cheif of staff's office for Josh Bolten. She was also director of debate preparation during Paul Ryan's vice presidential campaign. In 2012 she helped write the Republican National COmmittee's platform.

Before Stefanik's win, the youngest elected Congresswoman was also a New Yorker: Elizabeth Holtzman, a Democrat, was elected to Congress in 1973 at age 31.

Regardless of your politics, who you voted for, or what your overall takeaway from the midterm elections were, there was a forward movement for women looking to pursue politics last night. Ironically enough, the message: yes we can.



Wednesday's Woman of the Week is a weekly feature. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know on my Facebook page ( or Twitter (@SusanBButler). I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

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Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Sara Blakely

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Oprah hailed Spanx as one of her favorite products of the year in 2000. You might have a pair in your closet right now. But who do we have to thank for this revolutionary shapewear, and what can we learn from her as a successful woman in business? Sara Blakely is the world's youngest self-made female billionaire, and her future is looking brighter than ever.

Blakely's road to Spanx began in 1998, after being a door-to-door fax-machine salesman left her feeling frustrated with traditional women's fashions she felt confined by, like bunching pantyhose. In response she designed a slimming version that would lie in a more fitted way under pants, and Spanx was born.

Her product is for every woman - professionals, hollywood starlets, and housewives all covet her brand. She now leads a company valued at more than a billion dollars, with products sold in 60 countries, yet still sees herself mostly as an inventor. She said that she does most of her thinking in the car, even thinking up the name "Spanx" at a red light. She said she purposely extends her driving commute by an hour to think and get inspired.

But Blakely is not only inspiring herself. She is also helping to inspire millions of female entrepreneurs looking to break through the glass ceiling. She created the Sara Blakely Foundation, which has donated $24 million to support education and female entrepreneurship.

So in addition to Blakely's many business accomplishments, it becomes clear to see that one of her biggest accomplishments yet is what she is doing for countless women and girls who follow in her footsteps. In the same way that her product is designed with every woman in mind, she is also tailoring her actions to support women looking to make a difference.


Wednesday's Woman of the Week is a weekly feature. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know on my Facebook page ( or Twitter (@SusanBButler). I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

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Women Count White Border
$24.95, Hardcover
256 Pages
September 2010
Purdue University Press

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