Stiletto Network: Inside the Women's Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business

Stiletto Network: Inside the Women's Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business

by Pamela Ryckman


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During the past few years, professional women's groups have been coalescing in every major American city, collaborating to achieve clout and success—calling themselves “Power Bitches,” “Brazen Hussies,” and “S.L.U.T.S.: Successful Ladies Under Tremendous Stress.” This new girls’ network is alive and set to hyperdrive! Stiletto Network is the first book to highlight this groundbreaking movement of these trailblazing women. However, these pages are not only about celebrating these extraordinary women—from captains of industry to aspiring entrepreneurs—who have come together to celebrate, unwind, debate, and compare notes. They’re also about what happens when these women leave the table—how they mine their collective intelligence to realize their dreams or champion a cause, how they lift up their friends and push them forward, how they join forces to ensure each woman gets whatever it is she needs to accomplish her goals. Sharing story after story of extraordinary women banding together to help other extraordinary women, Stiletto Network is both a celebration and a call to action to a better way of doing business.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814432532
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 05/16/2013
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 921,854
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

PAMELA RYCKMAN has written for The New York Times, Financial Times,, International Herald Tribune, The New York Observer, and The New York Sun, among other publications. Prior to becoming a journalist, she performed strategy work for Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.

Read an Excerpt


Who knew Nora Ephron was such a Harpy? Barbara

Walters, that’s who.

Following Ephron’s death in June 2012, the New York Post reported that she and Walters were members of the Harpies a described as “a close-knit cadre of lunching ladies who’ve met to eat and argue over twelve years at Michael’s, the Four Seasons a and ‘21.’”

The Harpies include other media moguls too, and according to my favorite tabloid, the ladies often gossip about Hillary—her whereabouts, her fatigue, her hair—and engage in “intense debate” over the latest headlines. “God forbid you were wrong,” a Harpy insider told the Post, “or you were dismissed and reduced to rubble . . . with great affection.” It seemed that these women were exacting and precise, that they held themselves and each other to high standards, and that they pushed and challenged their friends. But they did it with humor and ultimate kindness. a was approaching my book deadline when I read about the

Harpies at the breakfast table. “See?” I jumped up and cheered.

“All the girls are doing it! It’s sweeping the nation!”

As a cabal of bold-faced names, the Harpies are pretty swank in their own right. They’re movers and shakers, no doubt. But, I won-dered aloud, do they know they’re part of something bigger? Do

they know that their group and others just like it are changing the world?

My three sons rolled their eyes. They raced out the door to their all-boys school. a didn’t plan to write a book at this very moment in my life, but it’s my family’s consensus that with all the testosterone at home, a needed to talk to some girls. And once I started interviewing dynamic, motivated women, I found I couldn’t stop. I didn’t know exactly what was happening, but I knew it was important.

At the beginning, it was a gut feeling, a notion that I had unearthed something meaningful that was shaping women’s lives.

But I didn’t yet realize how important it would be for me personally. a didn’t know I’d end up living this story as I was writing it, that it would be the story that changed my life. But more on that later.

It all started at a women’s conference in California. There, I met one female senior executive who introduced me to another and then another, and each one was fascinating and charismatic, en-gaging and kind, vulnerable and bold. They didn’t carp about

“balance” or lament not “having it all.” They didn’t feel oppressed and under siege, and their days weren’t some dismal, tough slog.

They took evident joy in both work and personal life, adoring jobs and families alike. “Why don’t we ever see anything about women having fun at work?” one woman asked. “Sure, there are battles a but I work so hard and I love it. Can’t we ever accentuate the joys over the battles?”

While it’s not PC to say this, these ladies were also cute. I liked their outfits. They had chic shoes and healthy hair. Here were women comfortable in their own skin, not trying to dress and act and sound like guys. Here were the opposite of hoary archetypes—

those sharp-elbowed, steamrolling, ball-busting bitches. And here was an antidote to the dreary navel-gazing and hairy-legged petu-lance of Women’s Studies 101. These chicks were successful, but still really fun.

So what was their secret? I started listening and learning, observing how they made it all work. And before long, they were gushing about their girlfriends.

Professional women from their twenties to their seventies started recounting hilarious stories, and often they’d begin like this: “Well a in my dinner group. . . .” “Your dinner group?” I’d ask. “Who’s in your dinner group? What do you do when you get together?” Eat a naturally. Drink, copiously. And gossip, naughtily. It all sounded like a blast. a started to discover dinner groups and salons and coworking and networking circles in major cities across the United States. In almost every case, the women thought they were alone in assem-bling clusters of dear, smart girlfriends who met regularly to learn and share. They’d never heard of the other groups, and when I told them they were thrilled. “You’re onto something,” they’d say, and then introduce me to their pals.

At that point, I didn’t have a thesis or a commissioned article or a book contract. All I had was a hunch. Yet accomplished, in-demand women agreed to talk to me. They made themselves avail-able for open-ended interviews that, for all they knew, might go nowhere—just because a friend had asked them to. So many times in the course of reporting, I heard, “I never talk to the press. I’m only talking to you because so-and-so said to.” The ladies were busy, but not too busy to do a favor for a friend.

Table of Contents




1 A Force to Be Reckoned With

2 Ladies Who Lunch

3 Even a Live Wire Needs a Connection

4 “Girlpreneurs” Rising

5 Lady 2.0

6 The Comfort Formula

7 The Stiletto Network Revolution

8 Walk the Talk

9 Big Motor Girls

10 Shake Your Moneymaker

11 Belizean Grove: The World’s Ultimate Old Girls’ Club

Conclusion: Creating Your Own Stiletto Network


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