“Helping Women Succeed in Business” is a refreshing, personal, and honest book about what it takes for a woman to succeed in the workplace. Author Nina Baldwin has a matter of fact, tell it like it is voice that speaks from the heart about mistakes women make that hold them back and how they can work their way up the corporate ladder rather than be overlooked. Nina herself has been in the restaurant business since she was a teenager, eventually holding almost every position possible from waitress to Chief Operating Officer at various restaurants and franchises. It is not exaggerating to say that she has basically “seen it all” in the restaurant industry and her experience and examples easily translate to any other business and level, from major corporations to entrepreneurship.
The book is divided into two sections. In the first, Nina offers about two dozen lessons she has learned that will help propel women to success. She balances her advice so it extends to women in any and all positions and stages of their careers. From giving women tips on applying for jobs and interviewing-including why women shouldn’t interview the same way they date-to discussing how to behave professionally in the workplace, how to get noticed, and finally, how to treat your employees, mentor them and help them succeed, Nina covers it all in concise chapters with plenty of personal examples and stories to back up her points.
Some of the most important topics, in my opinion, that Nina covers are topics often overlooked, including the value of networking, the importance of mentoring and lifting up other women, the need to know your weaknesses and ask for help rather than trying to fake it, and how to find balance between creating a career and finding time for yourself.
The book’s second section consists of seventeen interviews, all with successful women, with one exception. Patrick Snow, an entrepreneur and best-selling author, offers sixteen strategies to drive revenue to your business. These strategies alone are worth the price of the book. The successful women interviewed include the owner of a gelateria, a woman who heads a nonprofit organization that helps women, several high level executives in various industries from restaurants and beverages to housing management and resorts, and even women who have worked under Nina and been helped by her to succeed. These interviews offer great advice and make the reader feel success is possible no matter who you are or when you start your career.
In the past, I have read about women’s organizations that help to support women and where women support one another. Nina’s book builds on this model bringing together in one volume seventeen different women’s stories, including her own. “Helping Women Succeed in Business” is Nina’s brainchild but also a true sisterhood effort to help other women enjoy meaningful careers. Nina’s desire to write this book to help other women speaks to her true giving and professional nature and why she has been so successful herself. She never male bashes but is fair to both sexes and everyone she encounters without failing to point out when people-male and female-make mistakes that cost them their careers or the opportunity to advance so readers will not make the same mistakes.
I think any woman will benefit from this book. As a former manager of a call center who had predominantly female employees, I know that Nina’s advice and examples are spot on. I think this book would be a terrific gift for any young woman who is graduating from high school or college or starting her first job. It’s a book that employers should give to their female employees, especially in businesses like the restaurant industry where young adults are hired into entry level jobs. Men also will benefit from reading it. As a male manager, I’m sure it would have helped me to understand better the women who worked for me, as well as women I worked with and under. “Helping Women Succeed in Business” is a book that breaks down gender barriers and misunderstandings in the workplace. It’s honest, concise, and practical. It will make young women think about their long-term careers from the beginning of their first day at work, and it will make their lives and careers richer and happier as a result.