The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won't Learn in Business School
By: Selena Rezvani
Publication Date: December 2009
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: October 2009
The business world can be a tough place for women and unfortunately, the percentage of women who manage to climb to the top of the executive ladder is slim. What are the barriers and how can a young woman just entering the job market optimize her chances for a great and satisfying career? Enter Selena Rezvani with her new book, The Next Generation of Women Leaders. This text, geared specifically to young ‘Generation X and Y women,’ breaks down, in simple to understand, highly readable language, exactly what the businesswoman needs to know and do to get to the top of that elusive ladder.
After a short discussion on the barriers that face women entering the professional workforce today, Rezvani takes the reader through the process of applying for a job, handling the much anticipated and stress producing interview, what to do when you land that perfect (or perhaps not-so-perfect) job, and then leveraging yourself within the company so your career is successful. The author covers a lot of material in less than 200 pages, from networking, to negotiating, the relationship with your boss, maternity leave, burnout, and even dating at work!
The 30 women executives interviewed for The Next Generation of Women Leaders is impressive. Women such as Courteney Monroe, Executive Vice President of Consumer Marketing at HBO, DeeDee Wilson, CFO at Aritzia, and Melissa M. Monk, Chief Infrastructure Officer at Capital One, offer their insights into the business world. Billed as including interviews with 30 women executives, the book is not set up as straight interviews with each executive, but rather, their thoughts and advice are injected into topics that Rezvani writes about, to bolster the message. Featured executives also recount experiences they’ve had in the workplace. This use of portions from every interview within the various sections succeeds in driving home each point and livens up the discussions.
Particularly helpful within the pages of The Next Generation of Women Leaders is the use of very specific advice rather than broad generalizations. For example, when discussing interviewing, instead of saying, dress nice and be prompt, Rezvani offers over ten prep questions, things you might be asked, in addition to how to prepare for the interview, act during the interview, and what questions to ask “them.” When covering dating at work, Rezvani doesn’t simply say “don’t” but rather uses one of her 30 executives to add some insight on why it’s a bad idea. “Don’t casual-date people at work. It doesn’t take much for people to look at a woman in her twenties and say ‘that girl has a lot of growing up to do,’” suggests Kelly Picket, a senior manager at a management consulting firm.
Many business texts are so dry that the reader’s eyes are soon glazed over and the book is put away. And although The Next Generation of Women Leaders includes a splattering of statistics and tables, the writing is crisp and easy to follow, with a sense that the author is sitting at a coffee house, giving tips to her best friend. Lines such as “Contrary to the pervading belief of many women, raising a family does not necessarily translate to losing or bruising one’s career,” lighten up the reading and keep pages turning.
Quill say: A perfect book for the young woman gearing up to begin her professional career.