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Women Peace Activists Achieve The Impossible: Crossing The DMZ

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


This week I would love to extend my congratulations to Gloria Steinem, as well as Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee, and the group of international women activists who crossed the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea by bus this past weekend.

The group of 30 members, called WomenCrossDMZ, picked up the bus on Sunday Morning that ferried them across the Demilitarized Zone that has been separating the two Koreas for more than 50 years.

Steinem said: "We feel very celebratory and positive that we have created a voyage across the DMZ in peace and reconciliation that was said to be impossible."

She went on to add: "We can learn on paper and on screen, but the ability to understand, not just learn, happens when we are together and able to empathize."

The group promoted involving women in the peace-building process when it comes to negotiations between countries in tension.

This is a great accomplishment for women all over the world. Women are agents of change on an international stage, and have done the impossible by crossing this barrier. Together, women can accomplish feats of peace that we have only dreamed of until today.

An Open Letter to the 2015 College Graduates

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


The following is inspired by Susan’s commencement speech at Cottey College for the class of 2015.


Dear college graduates,


When I was in your seat 50 years ago, I was a young woman aspiring to land a job in a work environment dominated by men. Today, we have two women running for president. We have women leading some of the most important and influential companies in the country. And we have opportunities like we've never had before.

After today, it’s your turn to seize these opportunities. You now have the training. You now have the knowledge.

This next transition you're facing isn't just an opportunity to move from the campus to a corporate office, higher education or more specialized training. This transition is an opportunity for you to start changing the world - not just for yourself but for those who will graduate in the future.

This is an opportunity to make things happen for you rather than leting things happen to you.

When I graduated from college, I was fortunate to be offered a position as the first woman professional at Arthur Andersen, which eventually became Accenture, the $30 billion global management and consulting company.

Times have changed. Today, women comprise over 50 percent of the workforce. Women earn more college degrees than men – not just at the undergraduate level, but right up to the doctorate level.

Yet while women have made great strides, let’s not fool ourselves.

Gender inequality, pay inequality, sexism – it’s all still alive and well in today’s workforce, just as it was 50 years ago. Today, women typically make about 75 cents for every $1 a man makes. Of the Fortune 500 companies, only 25 are run by women. Twenty-three of the Fortune 500 companies have absolutely no women on their corporate boards.

All of these numbers MUST change! So how do we make these changes? These changes will be up to you and others of your generation.

In order to have more women leaders in the top jobs in America, women like you must work your way up and into the CEO’s suite.

In order to improve pay and address gender inequality, we must demand it – from our employers, from our lawmakers, from the companies whose products we buy.

In order to bring more women into management roles, you must bring them up the ladder behind you as you move up. And you must also enlist the help of men, as long as men are still in control of 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies.

Sounds daunting?

You thought graduating college was tough. And now I’m saying it’s up to you to change the world.


So where do you start? Start with you.


Several years ago, I wrote a book called “Become the CEO of You, Inc.” Before you can become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and change the world, you have to become the CEO of you.

How do you do that? In my book, I suggested three easy steps.

Here’s Step One. Define your aspiration. What are you doing in 3 years? In 5 years?

Step Two. Assemble your team. These are your advisors, your mentors, your LinkedIn and Facebook friends who not only know of jobs out there, but can help you with the skills and the connections to get them.

Step Three. Set your course in life. Program your personal GPS for where you want to be in three years. And in three years after that.

Work your plan. If you have to make some unexpected detours along the way, that’s OK. Just like a GPS, make some adjustments and back on – and stay on – course.

And here’s the last thing I’ll mention.

When you DO become the CEO of that major company or start the next Google or Facebook – and I know you will - don’t forget other women. Making true changes for women means we must watch out for other women. We must fill the pipeline with smart women all along the way.

And today, I want to celebrate your success, and the many more successes to come for you. For your fellow graduates across the country, and for all women.

Be the CEO of You, Inc., make things happen for you rather than let things happen to you, and make the world a better place for your having been here.

From your coach,


Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Sarah Thomas

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


It's not every day you hear about a woman making NFL history. This week I want to celebrate a woman doing just that: Sarah Thomas, the first full-time woman official in the NFL.

A 19-year veteran of the organization, Sarah was promoted after eight years with Conference USA. In an interview with after the announcement of her promotion was made, she said: "I don't feel that it's been harder for me because I'm a female. I think that we are just out here working as officials. I think just on our credentials, just as officials, I think that's what moves us along, not because of our gender or our race."

In that same interview, Sarah called the promotion a "dream" come true.

She was also the first woman official to work a major collegiate bowl game, and she joins eight other referees granted first-time employment for league games. She did sideline work for the Browns, Saints, and Colts, as well as other minicamp practices. However, the NFL credits her work at the NCAA level that added so much strength to her resume.

On her dedication to her role, an annonymous official told ESPN: "She's doing this because she loves college football and she loves refereeing college football... One thing she and I discussed is taht she didn't want her gender to be an issue. She just wanted to go out and work football games."

In learning from Sarah, we can all follow her lead in following our passion to shatter glass ceilings, and to carry a gender neutral attitude when entering a new space, allowing a strong resume and commitment to the job to do the talking.


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 on Twitter. I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Carly Fiorina

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Nearly a month ago I celebrated Hillary Clinton in my Wednesday spotlight after she announced her presidential campaign. For the sake of being fair and balanced, and to celebrate having two women from opposing parties on the campaign trail, I would also like to congratulate Carly Fiorina on her presidentail run.

Carly is a former business executive, in fact she was considered to be one of the most powerful women in business during her time at Lucent and Hewlett-Packard, and I look forward to hearing more about her unique perspectives and stances on the important issues as the campaign progresses.

In following the media reports after her campaign announcement, it was a great thing to see her former CEO status as the "only woman in a sea of suited men" mentioned as a positive. This is an opportunity for the country to start viewing women in business, at any level, as national agents of change, capable of great things even beyond the board room.

In an interview with Fox News, Carly said: "I think leadership is not about position. It is not about power. It is not about title. Leadership is about character." Later, she added: "It is only in the United States of America that a young woman can start as a secretary and go on to become the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world."

From leading a company to leading a country, Carly's thoughts on leadership are being thrust center stage as Americans seek out more information about her new campaign. On leadership, Carly makes the distinction that "leadership is not the same as management." She said that when a change needs to occur, "leadership is about changing the status quo," and went on to say that she believes that that is what is needed in Washington right now.

It is also what is needed when it comes to gender inequality. It is my hope that both campaigns, from Hillary and Carly, will further open up the discussion of what we can do to make a change for women everywhere.


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 on Twitter. I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Loretta Lynch

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman and the second woman overall to hold this office, has been officially on the job for two days, having been sworn in on April 27. I want to not only congratulate her for that, but also for rising to the occasion in facing a challenge she couldn't have anticipated when she was first given the job.

Instead of focusing on settling into her new position, she was faced with delivering her first presidential briefing as attorney general to the White House yesterday, after riots broke out in Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray's funeral.

Lynch's appointment as the first African-American woman U.S. Attorney General stands in stark contrast with the racial tension and issues playing out in Baltimore right now, which center around Freddie's mysterious and tragic death while in law enforcement custody. She has said that her civil-rights division, like it did in Ferguson, Missouri, and the FBI are both investigating his death.

In her briefing, the White House said that Lynch: "Assured the president that she would continue to monitor events in Baltimore and that the Department of Justice stands ready to provide any assistance that might be helpful there."

While many in her position would prefer to focus on her goals, messaging, and strategies for her future as the U.S. Attorney General, Lynch has had to deal with the media and making the decision to dispatch the Justice Department's top civil rights official and the director of its community policing program to Baltimore after riots broke out - all within 24-28 hours of officially being in office.

Lynch has condemned the "senseless acts of violence by some individuals in Baltimore that have resulted in harm to law enforcement officers," and added,"We will continue our careful and deliberate examination of the facts in the coming days and weeks."

Many times in our careers we'll have to face the unexpected - most likely when we feel the least prepared to handle a crisis. Only hours on the job, Lynch has proven to be unshakable and in control, and we can all applaud and learn something from her decisive leadership under adverse circumstances.


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 on Twitter. I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Lynne Doughtie

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


This week I want to spotlight Lynne Doughtie, who took the reins as chairman and chief at KPMG, becoming their first woman CEO. With Doughtie's new title, two of the Big Four accounting and professional-services firms in the U.S have women CEOs. Cathy Engelbert, who I wrote about here, was the first woman CEO of one of the Big Four firms.


Doughtie has been with KPMG for 30 years, and her five-year term as CEO and chairman will begin on July 1. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last Tuesday, Doughtie said: "It is an honor to have the chance to lead KPMG at such a pivotal moment, when ensuring quality and confidence in the work we do have never been more important."

KPMG's U.S. consulting practice is KPMG's fastest-growing business. Last year's fiscal revenue was $2.65 billion. Doughtie began her career as an auditor in 1985, and then went to the advisory side in the 1990s.

Let's take a look at the numbers: 18 of the 100 "best companies to work for" list from Working Mother magazine are accounting or cunsulting firms, and all of the Big Four are included. 44.5 percent of KPMG's American workforce are women, about 27,000 women total. 19 percent of KPMG's partners are women, which has increased by six percent in the last 12 years.

The accounting and professional services field is one of the more welcoming to women, though there is still progress to be made, and Doughtie's new title will hopefully help to make strides in that area. Accounting firms still need to grow when it comes to retaining women. A 2013 study by the American Institute of CPAs said that women make up 40 percent of certified public accountants, but only 19 percent of the partners at CPA firms, and only 17 percent at larger firms.

Federal Reserve data shows that none of the top 30 federally regulated lenders in the U.S. by assets have a woman CEO. It is my hope that Lynne Doughtie and Cathy Engelbert will help change this number, and start a new trend with women earning more CEO and leadership positions.

For the first time, women lead half of the Big Four accounting firms in the country. The Washington Post quoted Doughtie as saying that though she and Engelbert have not met yet, their organizations "have already been in conversation about best practices on the gender and diversity front." Let's do our part to start this conversation as well, and let's congratulate Doughtie on her monumental achievement.


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 on Twitter. I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

Jane Goodall Talks Women in Science in The Huffington Post

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


I celebrated Jane Goodall’s 80th birthday here on my blog back in February of last year, when I reflected on meeting her when she was being honored at an event in Philadelphia. I have loved hearing stories from other women who have been inspired by her from a young age, how they aspire to give a voice to the voiceless as she does.

Yesterday Jane had an interview with The Huffington Post along with Steve Druker, a friend who recently wrote a book on genetically engineered (GE) foods, called Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, that came out earlier this year. Jane wrote the foreword of the book, declaring it “one of the most important books of the last 50 years.”

In the interview, the two of them discussed GMO foods – Druker discussing the illegalities of the subject and Jane discussing how animals she has worked with have reacted to genetically modified foods.

A publicist I work with, Emily Labes, was at the interview, and said the following about Jane:

“From the moment that Dame Jane Goodall entered the room, affably declaring that she just realized that she had forgotten to comb her hair today, she commanded the attention of everyone present. As soft-spoken as she is passionate, anyone who has had the privilege of hearing her speak will inevitably wind up as transfixed as a Kindergartener during story time. It’s almost impossible not to pay attention when she speaks. Yesterday, during an interview with The Huffington Post, her messages were twofold and equally important: it’s time to ban GMOs from the global market, and it’s time to put the heart back in science.”

Emily added that these days Goodall spends about 300 days on the road, championing her cause: “Goodall is incredibly generous with what little free time she does have, particularly when it’s to promote a cause about which she cares deeply. So when she graciously volunteered to donate the only free hour she had during her New York City trip to do a media appearance with Druker, we all knew how lucky we were. As soon as they embraced, it became evident how much they genuinely enjoy each other’s company and respect one another. Although Goodall is the first to admit that she is not necessarily an authority on GMOs, she offered anecdotal evidence regarding animals’ reaction to natural vs. GE feed that bolstered the argument in a whole new way, and Druker was always ready to fill in any blanks.”

Of great interest to me was the last part of the interview, when Jane was asked about the gender disparity in STEM careers.

“Goodall gave an answer that – I have to admit – almost made me want to consider a drastic career change," Emily said, “She said that the issue isn’t just that science isn’t appealing to women; it’s that we are taught to think about science in a manner that is contrary to human instinct.”

She that during the interview Jane recalled being taught to remain cold and objective when she first started studying. Jane also went further to say that young scientists must be trained to stray from this mentality, adding that to study science is to passionately endeavor to discover all the mysteries of our world, and to take joy that there will always be new unknowns to explore.

Let’s follow Jane's lead and start changing the conversation about women in science. What do women need to do to improve this field, and to start making a change?


Connect with me and continue this discussion on my Facebook page or on Twitter. I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Hillary Clinton

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


This week I am honoring Hillary Clinton for her declaration of candidacy for the 2016 presidential election. Clinton announced her bid for the presidency this past Sunday, ending nearly two years of speculation, citing that she wants to be the champion of everyday Americans. I wish her every success in her campaign, because it's time for a woman president, and it's time we show the rest of the world that women count in America.


As a former United States Senator, Secretary of State and First Lady, she has undeniable political experience. This could be the first time a woman captures a major party's nomination. I am looking forward to hearing about her positions on the big issues, and to see how she presents herself throughout the campaign. I hope to see some great men coming forward to speak for her and her capabilities as well.
It is said that Clinton plans to lay out a central theme of her candidacy, which includes an emphasis on reducing income inequality. It's a topic that has been on the minds of many, since yesterday, April 14, marked national Equal Pay Day, which symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned the previous year.
I believe that equal pay for women is a good way for women to help other women! Research what other women are receiving, and compare that research to that based on your male peers. It is my hope that Clinton's emphasis on this issue will launch an earnest conversation and incite change.
Other important issues like paid family and medical leave, higher minimum wage and affordable access to child care will also be an area of focus for her campaign.
No matter what the outcome of her campaign is, Clinton's 2016 campaign opens a new political chapter for one of the most powerful women in Washington, and for women everywhere as we anticipate our first chance to elect a woman president and commander-in-chief.
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 on Twitter. I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Gloria Steinem

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


I have grown to believe in what Gloria Steinem is doing.

During her first "bra-burning" experience, I came to understand that she does what is necessary to bring equality for women. I didn't understand this in the early 1960's. I was soon to understand that I owed a big "thanks," and haven't be able to tell her personally.

I was brought up to understand that I could do anything that I set my mind to do. Little did I know, until later, that what Gloria and her team did did a lot to make my progress easier. Now she is doing something similar 50 years later to help the women of Korea, and to bring attention to the issue to the world. What a lady.

Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the division between North and South Korea, Gloria, as well as 29 other women, two of which are Nobel Laureates, will walk the 2-mile wide De-Militarized Zone (DMZ). Maired Maguire of Northern Ireland and Lymah Gbowee of Libera are the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in the group.

According to the the group's website, the hope is to hold international peace symposiums in the capitals of both countries in the effort of hearing Korean women's experiences and exchanging ideas about mobilizing women to bring an end to violent conflict.

In an interview with The Guardian, Steinem said: “It’s hard to imagine any more physical symbol of the insanity of dividing human beings. To me, to walk across it has huge, huge, huge importance.”

Steinem also said she was inspired to join the group of women through her own experiences traveling to South Korea, where she witnessed the divide between the two countries, and also between families.

As a longtime women's rights advocate, this is understandable, and she won't do it alone.

"Our hope is to cross the 2-mile wide De-Militarized Zone that separates millions of Korean families as a symbol of peace," a statement reads on the website, "The unresolved Korean conflict gives all governments in the region justification to further militarize and prepate for war, depriving funds for schools, hospitals, and the welfare of the people and the environment. That’s why women are walking for peace, to reunite families, and end the state of war in Korea."

Together, the women will walk toward equality. I celebrate Gloria this week, and the initiative and drive of these wonderful women, as they strive to make global change.


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 on Twitter. I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

Woman of the Week: Frances Hesselbein

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


I would like to introduce you to a fantastic woman who has been honored by Fortune and included in their list of World’s Greatest Leaders, where she ranked as number 37.

She is known for being CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, which she reformed through the 1960s and ‘70s, earning her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is also the Founding President of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management. She is in her late 90s now, and is focusing on training the new millennial generation to lead through her institute, and her new book. I want to congratulate her for all she has done, and continues to do, for women and future leaders of America.

One of the best places I learned about setting strategy and achieving goals was while serving on the national board of directors of the Girls Scouts of the USA (GUSA), where I was very fortunate to serve on the board for seven years while Frances was at the helm. She was always about changing lives, helping everyone, including those of us on her board, to achieve the best from others as well as for ourselves. As a result of my time with Frances I learned to be very mission-driven and very caring, as she was in everything she did. Congratulations to Frances – she is one amazing leader.

Frances is one of the most organized people I have ever met, but her real secret weapons were always thinking of the individual Girl Scout and putting the girl’s interests at the heart of every decision she made. Frances was convinced that doing so on every occasion was the best way of enhancing the Girl Scout “brand,” and would allow the organization to accomplish its strategic objective of interesting even more girls in joining.

“We don’t strive for superior or excellent management,” she said. “We strive to manage for the mission: We never lose sight of the fact that we are in this business to help girls grow. Having such a strong mission increases our managerial productivity – people ‘but into’ what we do and thus motivation increases. We work very hard, all of us, to remember why we are working.”


Read more after the jump.

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

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