A distinguished business diversity expert advises women of color on how to move up the corporate ladder.
In this memoir and guidebook, Gadsden-Williams interweaves the story of her life as a black female executive with research statistics and savvy career tips for minority women also seeking to occupy the “C-Suite.” The author credits much of her success to parents who taught her the importance of “stick-to-itiveness”—in particular, her father, who managed to thrive in corporate management despite discrimination. In her own professional life, the author observed that although black women worked twice as hard to advance, they faced “concrete ceiling[s]” that left them unable to get to the next level. The way Gadsden-Williams managed to get ahead was to become as visible as possible in every organization where she worked. Along a path that took her from product development and marketing to human resources, she realized that her true professional calling was “fighting for the underdog” as a corporate diversity manager. The author’s insight helped her understand that a big part of success had to do with defining “passion and purpose.” Networking both inside and outside the companies where she worked, finding mentors to advise her and sponsors willing to invest in her career advancement, was also crucial. While she counsels strategic behaviors and decision-making throughout, Gadsden-Williams is also very clear that the notion that women can have it all is a “boldface lie.” Drawing on her own experiences living with lupus, she further reminds readers that self-care is essential. Because black women work twice as hard, they suffer “twice as much from certain illnesses than other groups.” Always candid about the realities of corporate life, the author offers sound advice for minority women seeking advancement, recognition, and meaningful lives.
Illuminating and useful.