Many have asked why I offer so many of my professional women resources for free. “Aren’t you in the business of making money?” they ask. “Yes,” I agree, “but I’m really more interested in seeing other women succeed. That, to me, is just as valuable and even more satisfying than any paycheck.”
We have all found ourselves at a crossroad in our career; a place where we don’t feel valued and yet are afraid to make a major change. It is a vulnerable place and one in which I have faced on more than one occasion. When you are at that crossroad, you feel very much alone. It was the isolating feeling that led me to begin talking to other professional women about their experiences and how they were navigating through the tough times.
The Working Woman’s GPS
My first book, The Working Woman’s GPS: When the Plan to Have it All Leads You Astray, was first conceived during one of those vulnerable moments in my career. I looked in the mirror and thought… I have a great job, great husband, great family, great home… Why do I feel like something is missing?
As I started talking to other women, I discovered that so many either felt that way or had felt that way in the past. I found strength and encouragement in that sisterhood of feelings which led me to start Tech Savvy Women on LinkedIn. A group of like-minded women struggling to carve out their best life.
As I began meeting with more and more women across the country, several themes of concern, question and/or curiosity became evident. Women longed for the tools necessary to help them make a change; to navigate that crossroad.
Tech Savvy Women TV
The first professional women resource that I compiled was a collection/playlist of videos in which I interview women who are successful in their career. I have the opportunity to ask them the questions:
- What struggles have you faced?
- What/who helped you through the process?
- What is your advice?
You can check out these interviews, podcasts, and advice on our YouTube channel, Tech-Savvy Women TV. These videos are free.
Professional Women Resources
There are a lot of resources for business people interested in advancing, so many of which have been written by men, for men. However, there are significantly different challenges that women face when seeking to advance in their career.
I found a lot of information but not all of it applied to what I had experienced, especially as a female executive in the tech industry. There just aren’t enough women in tech who have advanced to positions of leadership to look to for examples. And when a woman does rise to the top, they are scrutinized, criticized and often discarded.
Therefore, as I have traveled my own path, I have tried to share what I have learned with other women along the way. This led, in part, to my second book Accelerate Your Impact as well as three of the professional women resources that I offer for free on my website.
My second book offers action-based strategies because I found that women were looking for the recipe, the instruction guide, the step-by-step to-do list that would help them face and navigate the crossroad.
While my book is for sale, I do offer three free chapters so that readers can gain a sense of what is included and whether the content is right for their situation.
Writing the book, and subsequently winning several book awards, opened me up to greater audiences through speaking engagements and corporate workshops and the learning continues.
As I travel around the country, there are several common themes that women express a struggle with:
- Learning how to say no
- Positioning themselves for a specific opportunity
- Learning how other women network
The Power of No
There is something fearful about saying no in business. You find yourself afraid that if you say no today, the opportunity to say yes will never happen. If you say no today, you will be less respected. If you say no today, people will think you just can’t handle the work.
Yet, if you are always saying yes, how productive can you be without pulling out your hair? The professional women resource called The Power of No bundle is designed to help readers understand the importance of weighing each opportunity and measuring it against how it will help your career. It offers worksheets and guidelines for helping readers consider each request as well as evaluating everything currently on your task list. I once heard a great quote: “Delegate everything but your genius.” This resource is free because we all need to know how and when to say no.
Do you have a professional brand? Unless you have already heard the term, read a book about it or attended a seminar on the subject, chances are when you think of a brand you think product, not person.
I talked with a woman once who had the title of Director of Store Operations but her boss treated her like a secretary. She had allowed her brand to be a demotion of her abilities.
We have control over how people view us and our contribution but it needs to be managed purposefully. This need helped to create the free eCourse, How to Build Your Brand for the Job You Want.
How Professional Women Network
Before I started speaking to women’s groups around the country, I would often fall back on one of two networking strategies:
- Find people I knew
- Collect as many business cards as possible
To call these strategies is really a misnomer, and yet it is what so many of us do. Once we have exchanged names and titles, we are a loss for what to say next. Even our elevator speech sounds hallow, rehearsed and of no particular value.
I started observing what others did, those that seemed to be the most successful in their career. Those whose name would come up frequently when talking about networking. What were they doing differently? How could I adopt their behavior to meet my professional goals?
I compiled what I learned into the self-paced online course, How Successful Women Network for Professional Growth, which includes videos, worksheets, and a private discussion group.
It’s All About Sharing Knowledge
Women especially need to find ways to help each other in business. We still make less than men. There are still fewer women in C-suite positions. There are still more men in tech than women. The only way we are going to make significant strides toward equality is to work together by helping each other.
So spread the word – looking for free professional women resources? Check out Tech Savvy Women. Read. Learn, Share, Plan, Discuss, Mentor…let’s help each of us become our most successful self.
- How to Deal with the Negative Attitudes that Threaten Your Career
- Career Advancement: Branding For Your Future
- Are You Still Seeking Learning Opportunities in Your Career?
JJ DiGeronimo — the president of Tech Savvy Women — is a speaker, author, and thought leader for women in tech and girls and STEM. Through her work, JJ empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract women in technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
Don’t miss our online resources library for eCourses, online discussions, downloads, retreats and tools for professional women. Learn more here.