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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

3.0 2
by Pamela Ryckman

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More women are running major companies than ever before. While still far too few in number, these female heads of industry are the forerunners of a radical shift in power now underway. During the past few years, women’s groups have been coalescing in every major American city. Formidable ladies across professions are convening at unprecedented rates, forming


More women are running major companies than ever before. While still far too few in number, these female heads of industry are the forerunners of a radical shift in power now underway. During the past few years, women’s groups have been coalescing in every major American city. Formidable ladies across professions are convening at unprecedented rates, forming salons, dinner groups, and networking circles—and collaborating to achieve clout and success. A new girls’ network is alive and set to hyperdrive.

Stiletto Network is about those groups: the “Power Bitches,” “Brazen Hussies” and “S.L.U.T.S.: Successful Ladies Under Tremendous Stress.” It’s about what happens when bright, extraordinary women—from captains of industry to aspiring entrepreneurs—come together to celebrate and unwind, debate and compare notes. But it’s also about what happens when they leave the table, when the talking stops and the action starts. It’s about 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 what she needs—be it information, an introduction, a partnership, or a landmark deal.

This is the first book to shed light on this groundbreaking movement. Sharing story after story of women banding together to help other women, Stiletto Network is both a call to action and an inside look at a better way of doing business.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For some time, the “old-boy network” has been an acknowledged way for men to get things done in business, and the doors to many men’s clubs were long closed to women trying to make it in the working world. Things have changed. Not only are women making strides in business, they are forging their own exclusive support systems, which journalist Ryckman calls “stiletto networks.” In this engaging debut, Ryckman goes behind the scenes with some of today’s most powerful female movers and shakers, sharing how they are forming all-girl salons, throwing dinners at their homes, and mingling outside board rooms to advance their careers, raise capital, and support each other personally and professionally. Among others, the author profiles notable business veterans like Silicon Valley venture capitalist Heidi Roizen, leadership coach Carol Hyatt, Oxygen Media’s Geraldine Layborne, and dynamos like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Gilt Group founder Susan Lynde. In an upbeat tone and energetic style, we learn how these successful women are coming together in intimate groups, where they embrace fashion, capital structures, and deals. Emboldening, encouraging, and entertaining, this book is essential reading for any woman who wishes to further her career while remaining true to herself. Agent: Jillian Manus, the Manus & Associates Literary Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
“…inspiration to any woman who, not only wants to be the ultimate entrepreneur, but is seeking to be a forerunner in the female power shift.” —Dare Magazine

“Have courage, give courage. Stiletto Networks push members to pursue their passions.” —Joyce Lain Kennedy, nationally syndicated career columnist

"Stiletto Networks: these clubs are blazing the business world" LearnVest

"…Ryckman recognizes a new power trend in business: women banding together to bust through those barriers that continue to impede an individual woman’s progress.” —The Daily Blog, 800-CEO-Read

"...roadmap of how [women] can form their own "Stiletto Networks" and help others as well as themselves succeed in business and indeed in life." —Kay Koplovitz,The Huffington Post

“…filled with witty names and acronyms—and, most important, with real-life stories of women helping other women...Inspiring and insightful.” —ALA Booklist

“…provides the essential tools and guidance, for enriching the careers of successful women that go beyond the boardroom, and form lifelong friendships as well." —Blog Business World

"Women from every walk of life will be able to relate to this book…Stiletto Network is a movement that will have you hooked." —Examiner.com

"A book for women working in any industry looking to build a professional support network, also for men curious about this latest phenomena." —LJ Xpress Reviews

"Whether she's an aspiring teenager or fifty-something, Stiletto Network is a great book to gift a woman.” —The Well-Heeled Society

"…alternative type of network that's not only effective but fun, where women come together to share ideas, exchange advice and even invest in new companies." —Community Manager, Professional Women at LinkedIn

Library Journal
Journalist Ryckman’s debut showcases the world of informal women’s business support groups termed “Stiletto Networks.” The groups cross a variety of industries such as finance, technology, media, and politics. However, common threads do emerge. No matter the industry or age, women establish these groups for the purposes of professional networking, support, friendship, and mentoring. Ryckman’s descriptive profiles of the various networks make for an enjoyable read, as each chapter highlights a different group e.g., ChIPs (Chiefs in IP) and 4C2B (Force To Be). Some networks keep their membership lists anonymous, some are for older women, while others cater to younger women; copious quotes give readers the feeling they are in the room with these women. The author further explores what differentiates these networks from more traditional business networking groups and notes the variety of learning styles in women and their more collaborative nature (than men). She concludes with tips for women to start their own groups.

Verdict A book for women working in any industry looking to build a professional support network, also for men curious about this latest phenomena.—Leigh Mihlrad, FDIC Lib., Washington, DC
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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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.

Meet the Author

PAMELA RYCKMAN has written for The New York Times, Financial Times, Fortune.com/CNNMoney, 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.

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Stiletto Network: Inside the Women's Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
STILETTO NETWORK, an exciting new work by first-time author, Pamela Ryckman is outstanding. She writes in an up-beat and motivational tone. STILETTO NETWORK is not a publication you'll want to put down. It stands alone among business books which have been bought, read and shelved as dust collectors. It should interest both sexes as the playing fields have leveled in all sectors of business to where men and women must work together as teams to succeed. Ms. Ryckman reveals how and why (STILETTO) networks formed over the years. It's a wonderful primer and might well become a favorite reference tool.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haven't read it but this looks incredibly stupid.  The fact that you have to associate powerful women with stilettos means I won't be buying. Sorry buddy, count on the next most gullible consumer to buy your pre-packaged BS. Most of my co-workers have made their ways into the world of business without depending on cliches about crippling footwear.