Susan's Blog

Blog Home | Blog ArchivesSubscribe to the Full Partner Blog Subscribe

A Thanksgiving Message and Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Sarah Hale

by Susan Butler


History is more than just a collection of names and dates. Today, I would like to take a moment to celebrate a woman who has made an indelible mark on American history, in spite of the fact that her name has been largely forgotten: Sarah Josepha Hale.

I would also like to take this opportunity to give thanks – not just for my wonderful friends and family, but also for all of the opportunities that are rapidly becoming more and more available to women. We still have a long way to go, but every once in awhile, it’s important to stop and take a look at how far we have come.

Wednesday's Woman of the Week: The Sullivan Sisters

by Susan Butler


This week, I spotlight not just one remarkable woman in business, but a whole family of them! Denise Morrison, Maggie Wilderotter, Colleen Bastkowski, and Andrea Doelling (nee Sullivan), who were featured in a 2007 piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Raising Women to be Leaders,” are four sisters from a small town in New Jersey, who all went on to do BIG things.

Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Gloria Steinem (REPOST FROM 11/11/15)

by Susan Butler


Although it was roughly six months ago, it feels like just yesterday that I was honoring Gloria Steinem for the work she was doing to help the women of Korea. A true activist, Steinem has never balked at adversity, but rather met it head-on with courage and resolve. Recently, Steinem conquered what was perhaps one of the more difficult undertakings of her career – chronicling her own journey.

Woman of the Week: Bidhya Devi Bhandari

by Alexandra Kirsch


Over the last months we've been hearing a lot about the 2016 presidential election - about Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina, and what their policies might mean for women. Could we have our first women president? I hope the answer is yes. But until election day comes, I'm happy to place the spotlight on Nepal, and more specifically the first female president they elected: Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

She is Nepal's second president since Nepal became a republic.


As Nepal's first woman president, Bhandari is the deputy leader of the ruling Communist party. She campaigned to secure women's rights under the new Nepalese constitution, which could mean much greater opportunity for women. She was among the politicians in Nepal's parliament who pushed to secure women's rights under their new constitution, which says that one-third of the members of parliament have to be women, and either the president or vice-president must be a woman.

Bhandari is not a new face in Nepal's political arena. She has been a leading political figure since 1993, when her husband, at the time the leader of the party, passed away in a car accident. She led demonstrations against Nepal's monarch, king Gyanendra, which resulted in the ending of his authoritarian rule, restoring democracy to the country.

So this week I would like to congratulate Bidhya, and give a warm salute to Nepal for taking a big step in securing women's rights by law. I applaud women on boards - including political boards - who are doing great things and setting examples for other women to follow. I have no doubt Bidhya will lead Nepal into many successful years ahead!


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!

Thirty Percent Coalition Commends 62 Public Companies Adding Women to their Boards of Directors and Issues a “Call to Action”

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Let's, for a moment, celebrate adding women on Boards of Directors.This is a call to action as our work isn't done. "Adopt a Company" is a program the Thirty Percent Coalition is promoting to add women on boards, praticularly those who have no women on their boards at this time. Won't you help us to increase the number of women on Boards of Directors?


Fort Washington, PA – Oct. 20, 2015 – During its Fourth Annual Summit in New York City on October 12, the Thirty Percent Coalition applauded the >62 companies< that had appointed a woman to their board following the Coalition’s “Adopt a Company” campaign which began in January, 2012. Companies contacted were listed in the S&P 500 and Russell 1000, and had no women on their board at the time the Coalition contacted them. This appointment was a first for the vast majority of these companies.

The Coalition represents an example of powerful collaboration between its Institutional Investor membership and other institutional investors, representing more than $3 trillion in assets under management, along with women’s organizations across the country. The Adopt a Company initiative has included letter-writing campaigns, followed by collaborative discussions wherein the Coalition urged 168 public companies to increase board diversity, improve the process for appointing new directors, and amend nominating committee charters.

“The Thirty Percent Coalition is heartened by these changes and, in particular, the collaborative spirit in which these board appointments have been made. We recognize the effort that has been made by these companies as they listened to their investors and other stakeholders and congratulate them on this progress,” said Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, Executive Director of the Thirty Percent Coalition.

Following the Summit, the Thirty Percent Coalition also issued a “Call to Action” for companies across the US to institute best practice policies, practices, and transparency. Specifically, the Thirty Percent Coalition is asking companies to:
· Commit to best practice corporate governance policies which include explicit recognition of gender and race as considerations in the board nomination process.
· Select from a gender and racially diverse candidate pool when a board opportunity presents itself.
· Periodically report on their progress, as public accountability is an essential component of positive corporate change.
Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Tu Youyou

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


40 years later, the woman who developed a cure for malaria has won a Nobel Prize. Earlier this month, Tu Youyou was one of three scientists who received the 2015 Nobel Prize for medicine. Tu discovered what is now considered to be the standard antimalarial treatment, and until just four years ago the public was unaware of her achievement. I want to recognize Tu this week for her amazing achievement.


Tu, 84, is a Chinese pharmacologist who worked on the "Project 523" secret mission set up by Chairman Mao Zedong in 1967. The purpose of the project: find a cure for malaria.This was an important mission in China as many soldiers were falling ill from malaria as they fought in Vietnam, and the disease was also ravaging southern China. At the time, Tu was a researcher at the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, fluent in both Chinese and Western medicine, and her task was to find an herbal cure. To tackle this painstaking task, Tu embodied the sentiment that there is simply no substitute for hard work.

"The work was the top priority, so I was certainly willing to sacrifice my personal life," Tu recently said in a magazine interview.

Finally, Tu found that an ether solvent (artemisinin), when boiled, proved 100% effective in killing malaria bacteria in the blood. The results were incredible - participants were cleared of the disease in just over 24 hours.The Nobel Committee said: "Tu was the first to show that this component, later called artemisinin, was highly effective against the malaria paraside, both in infected animals and humans."

Because the mission was initially a secret held by the Chinese government, Tu's accomplishment was not recognized until she won the Lasker prize for medical research in 2011, which prompted the Chinese Communist Party to preserve her childhood home.

This week I want to congratulate Tu not only on her Nobel Prize win, but on her dedication to her work and self-sacrifice. We can all learn from Tu that dedication and focus can help us make discoveries and produce work that will change the world.


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: Lindsey Kase

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


"Don't always be intimidated by the things you don't know. Those things will come later. Your diversity of thought and experiences is often the strength that you bring to the table," says Lindsey Kase, a consultant at Deloitte who was promoted from Business Technology Analyst. "That's how you add value to the team." Kase certinaly adds value to Deloitte, and I'm happy to honor her as this week's Woman of the Week as she shows us all the value of diversity in strengthening a team.

Whether it was her internship experience in the public service industry, studying abroad, or engaging in anthropological studies, Kase's diverse career experience stands to show how a colorful background can strengthen a team. At Deloitte she carries that initiative of diversity in her internal role: recruiting at Notre Dame, advising new hires, and serving as a member of the national Business Technology Analyst Advisory Council.
I would also like to give Kase the spotlight because of her endeavors to keep Deloitte a diverse environment for women, to help the company face today's challenege with a strong team.
"That is where Deloitte finds its value," Kase said, "They look for candidates that will bring a diversity of thought and experience to the table when addressing our client's challenges."
Congratulations, Lindsey, for pursuing your dream and sharing with us the strength in diversity that every company can help cultivate to find success. We can all learn something from her will to explore, learn and 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 on Twitter. I'd love to hear about the inspiring women in your life!

Woman of the Week: Viola Davis

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Wednesday's Woman of the Week: Mary Barra

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


Fortune just published her as #1 in their Most Powerful Women list, and this week I want to give the spotlight to a woman who is not just making lists, but making history: Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors.

This year, Fortune's list included 27 female CEOs who control over 1 trillion dollars worth of stocks, including 24 additional women. 51 women total made the list, which you can see here. Barra, who is in her second year as CEO of the nation's largest auto-maker, which has $156 billion in sales, weathered the 2014 storm of ignition-switch recall at GM. Despite the profits falling 26%, in recent months sales of expensive trucks and SUVs have soared, even in the face of weak international markets. With Barra at the helm, we can be assured that more good news is on the horizon.
Many may say that Barra's rise has happened fast, but it's important to not overlook years of hard work. She joined GM in 1980 at age 18, becoming Executive Vice President of Global Product Development in 2011, and finally CEO in 2013.
But I want to also celebrate Barra for using her position to help other women. She was one of the few female CEO participants in the #ilooklikeanengineer campaign on Twitter that promoted women in tech. When women leaders support women rising in the ranks, we challenge the inequality we face today.
On leading the push for gender equality, Barra said on Twitter: "GM has a diverse array of talented engineers around the world and I'm honored to lead them."
Congratulations, Mary, not only for reaching #1 on Fortune's list, and not only for holding the title for the first female CEO of a major automaker, but for helping other women engineers rise in the ranks to make equality more within reach - while there is no doubt that we have a long way to go, Mary is a great example of how we can lead to get there.

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: Kim Chambers

by Susan Bulkeley Butler


As summer is coming to a close, many of us are eager to shed our fear of swimming with sharks. But this week's Woman of the Week swam with them for 30 miles, from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge. I want to celebrate Kim Chambers this week as she recently became the first woman to complete this historical swim.


Until now, the swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge has only been done by men. Chambers' swim lasted 17 hours, completed on August 8, last month. She is only the third person to complete the swim since 1967, and the only woman to finish.
On her historical victory, Chambers said in an interview: "There's nothing more gratifying than pushing yourself and discovering really what you're made of and what you can do with your body and your mind if you let it. This swim is scary, but it's also so exciting."
Swimming without a wetsuit in 60-degree water, Chambers needed calories to prevent hypothermia. Between the water temperature and the threat of sharks, Chambers faced the difficulties head on to accomplish her goal, hugging her mom at the finish line.
A man that Chambers trained with, Simon Dominguez, had attemped the swim a week before, but had to cut it short because of a great white shark just shortly after reaching the 18-hour mark, just three miles from completing the swim.
Chambers took just over 17 hours to complete the swim, and remembered seeing the thumbs-up sign from her crew as the Golden Gate bridge started coming into view. "I could see the bridge. When you can see it, you know you have to finish. I had to dig really deep. It's going to take me a long time to process."
As the only woman out of a total of three swimmers to complete this historical swim, Chambers said: "I hope I can just inspire young women to dream big." I have no doubt that she will. We can all take away from Chambers' story that with determination, training, strength, and a great support team, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to - making history, and reminding one another that we can swim with the sharks.
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!

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

Sign Up For Susan's Newsletter!
Keep up with Susan's best advice for becoming a leader and making change happen in your life. Each issue contains recommended reading, along with Susan's latest tips for developing leadership skills. Archive »



copyright © 2011 Susan Butler

Powered by FullPartner