Sunday 31 January 2016

Book ~ "Our Turn" (2015) Kirstine Stewart

From Goodreads ~ In her inspiring, deeply intelligent and intensely practical "Our Turn", Kirstine Stewart draws on her own extensive leadership experience to take the conversation about women and work to a whole new level. Simply put: the time is now for new styles of leadership, and women are best-suited to set the pace. 

Kirstine Stewart got her first job when she applied for a position as a "girl Friday" at a film distribution house. Having worked her way up from the bottom - under women and men, leaders good and bad - she believes it's time we leaped past the question of how women might create change in the working world and exploit the fact that profound change is already under way. The digital revolution and the wave of millennials who are entering the work force with very different expectations than the generations who preceded them, have created a new reality that demands a new style of leader with attributes and perspectives that make women the natural front-runners. The opportunity is there. The question Stewart tackles in "Our Turn" is how do we seize it. 

Stewart's own track in the world has been exceptional, and littered with firsts, including being the first woman and the youngest person ever to head the CBC. Not only does she illuminate the broad strokes of the way forward for women, and her own principles of leadership, she digs down into the nitty-gritty of how she has managed to excel and to lead while staying true to who she is as a person. Whether you're the CEO or the administrative assistant, there is something for you in "Our Turn". 

I like reading books about "girl power" and I thought one written by a Canadian would be interesting.

The author started as a "girl Friday" with a television company and today is oversees Twitter's North American media partnerships.  Along the way, she has been senior VP of programming for Alliance Atlantice, executive VP of CBC's English language services and managing director for Twitter Canada.  Needless to say, she's come a long way from her beginnings of as a "girl Friday".  In addition, she married twice (and divorced once) and had a couple children.

I found the book was written at a high level and not overly helpful to women who want to advance and achieve.   There are many many surveys and studies quoted which are interpreted by the author.  I found the writing style cold and the author doesn't seem like a warm fuzzy person.

She is obviously very career-driven who no doubt has worked very hard to get to where she is today.  But most of us aren't lucky enough to have the opportunities the author had like an encouraging boss who took her under her wing when she was starting out.  What do we do then if we don't?  Most of us can't afford nannies or have a stay-at-home husband so we can work the crazy hours it takes to get ahead, once one has those opportunities.  It seems like the author has forgotten her humble beginnings and for most of us, it's a struggle.  It would have been nice to get more into nitty gritty details on what to do in various situations, including the author's experience when things didn't always work out.

We have access to cell phones, computers, etc. and the author advises that we take advantage of technology.  But should you, as the author was, be sitting at your child's skating practice and be on a conference call and then get called out about it by your daughter during the practice?

What I got from this book is to speak up with your ideas and that women should work together to get ahead rather than watching out for our own backs ... this is not new advice.

No comments: