Published: January 2007
WOMEN ON TOP: Redefining power and the nature of success for the 21st century.
"I've long called the saga of American women-owned businesses our most underreported business news story. Margaret Heffernan goes a long way to filling this empty canyon. Women on Top is a great piece of reporting, a great piece of writing -- and, simply, one of the most important books, business or otherwise, to come along in many a year."
~ Tom Peters
The numbers are staggering. Between 1997 and 2007, privately held businesses owned by women grew at three times the rate of all American privately held firms. Women's companies are creating jobs and growing profits at twice the rate of all firms and are responsible for more payroll than all of the Fortune 500 combined. Clearly the model for business excellence is changing. What's going on?
Five-time CEO and contributor to Fast Company and Real Business Margaret Heffernan decided to find out. After interviewing hundreds of women entrepreneurs - including Eileen Fisher and Geraldine Laybourne - who run businesses of all sizes and in all markets, Heffernan found they had strengths uniquely suited to the new economy.
Women have a tremendous need to achieve - and do so even without a safety net: Doreen Marks, the world's leading manufacturer of gun-cleaning equipment is a thirty-five year old single mother who started her business in her parents' kitchen. They've very good at creating value by investing in staff and customers: Carol Latham, divorced and broke, hired her inner-city neighbors, many of whom spoke little English, gave them schooling and built a hugely profitable high tech business. Women place values at the heart of their businesses and take culture seriously: Eileen Fisher refuses to measure commitment by hours and nobody blinks when her employees leave to pick up their kids from school. These women are turning traditional concepts of hard and soft skills on their head, redefining power and the nature of success for our time