Dear Fortune Magazine, you’re following and reporting on the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business again this year – women of importance who reflect the rise of the female executive. My response to your report: Been there. Done that. Threw the T-shirt away.
Dear Online Business Site, you’re following and reporting on the female influencers on Facebook and Twitter; women who ‘get it’ when it comes to the new tools of business success. While more relevant to today’s business climate, I find your report outdated before it hits my inbox. Why? Because you’re just mimicking the stories in major print publications – more chatter on how to “break through the glass ceiling.”
The problem with reporting on the 50 Most Powerful Woman or showcasing women in social media is that these women too often trace their experiences to the last century, and offer advice to match. Me, I’m a 21st century woman, focused on tomorrow, not yesterday. Reading those stories just frustrate me.
The Women of the Fortune 500 are women of worth. There is no disputing that. They deserve our appreciation. They’ve proven that the glass ceiling is a window into tomorrow, not a limiting factor to success. Their hard work is worth congratulating, and yet… I can’t help but wonder what the average woman business owner has in common with them? I skim articles about these women and sometimes catch their TV interviews and other than the fact that they represent an ideal to work towards, I do not find their experiences or their advice helpful. They are as far removed from me and my needs as a college professor is from a kindergarten teacher. Both are educators, but in vastly different classrooms.
What about social media influencers?I have been cited as a social media influencer from time to time. The people who honor me with this recognition are people like me – women and men who are working hard to make a go of building a business in an economy that rewards innovation when no one really knows what innovation is anymore. My honor is in learning as much from them as they seem to learn from me. On the flip side, I’ve found many social media influencers are mainly out to sell a book, fill seats in a webinar, and otherwise engage us to sell to us. Their advice may be relevant, but it’s limited, unless you buy their books or attend their webinar.
Fortune Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful” anything doesn’t provide the answers we need to be successful. Read it, contemplate it, and learn what you can from the folks featured there.
Social media influencers may offer small bits of advice, and do, but, too often their focus is them, not us.
What’s a woman to do? If she can’t apply the teachings of the Fortune 500 females because they grew up in a long dead century and, like the rest of us, are still trying to understand this one. And if we can’t tap into the collective knowledge of experts in Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools, because they seem focused on selling instead of relationship building, who can we turn to? How does the average gal with a dream in her heart and a plan scribbled on a post-it note, take the next step with confidence?
She does it by tapping into her sisters; the women who are doing it now, who are blogging their success, warts and all. By tapping into those women, today’s entrepreneurial small business owner can create her own fireworks.
For real help, for advice that will guide you to creating products and services you can make a profit with, turn to the women in your blog roll or your Twitter feed. Those women are at the forefront of innovation, today. They’re women of invention, many of them revolutionizing the way business is done in the 21st century. They’re women of distinction, building on untested ground. Those women have been in your shoes – they’ll answer your burning questions in the stories they tell on blogs and Twitter. They have no choice but to innovate. It’s not about how things were done last year. It’s not about how to blog or how to use Facebook, as much as it’s about a collective mindset that believes real change requires real innovation - something that’s as often found in the trenches, as in the boardroom.
Be the change. Spark the fire. Lead the charge. Show the world you’re serious and passionate about what you do. Make your own Top 10 to Watch list, and then, share it. Your sisters are listening.
Yvonne DiVita, President of Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC: Books, Blogs and Beyond, is focused on consulting with businesses on how to effectively use new media tools. She blogs at LipSticking, with a focus on the women’s market.