I enjoy exchanging life lessons and experiences with my female peers — who all come from various stages in their careers — at different events in the graphic and packaging arena.
However, it’s not solely personal exchanges that keep me coming back for more. As a member of the Women in Print Alliance, one of my favorite takeaways from these events is the book recommendations that come my way.
These textual lessons seem to stick with me deeply, and they influence the way I conduct and handle business. With that said, formal education may have brought many of us to the printing industry, but that education also has a limited shelf-life. Therefore, you must always keep learning and surround yourself with like-minded people focused on self-improvement.
So, to continue that ideal, here are a couple of books that have inspired and challenged me to consider how to navigate the working world, from one woman in the printing industry to another.
"Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts."
“Only when diverse perspectives are included, respected, and valued can we start to get a full picture of the world.”
Brown’s research and writing showcase how empathy should remain a cornerstone of good leadership. For many women, and even men, they are scorned for showing compassion, especially in the workplace. In many ways, there lingers the perception that a good female leader needs to be fierce, ruthless and distant from her emotions. However, Brown demonstrates how being supportive and empathetic creates better leadership authority.
"Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?"
“The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people deeply care about.”
Godin’s writing might be concise, but it makes for a quick, enjoyable read. This book challenged me to be a better businesswoman and leader in my workplace. Another of Godin’s books, “Purple Cow,” shook me to my core. It illustrated and narrated the harsh reality and revelations surrounding a previous employer's go-to market strategy. His books are always an eye-opener and will leave you astounded.
"The Spy: A Novel of Mata Hari"
“Know what you want and try to go beyond your own expectations...set a very high goal, one that will be difficult to achieve. Because that is an artist's mission: to go beyond one's limits. An artist who desires very little and achieves it has failed in life.”
My final recommendation is one I stumbled upon as a frequent business traveler (a plane ride is a perfect setting for digging into a book to balance out the go-go-go of work life). It was quite fascinating to read about a woman whose only crime was to want to be independent and defy the convention of the era she lived in. It not only humbles you, but it also encourages you to do so much more, notably when you think back to how limiting the world was.
This represents a modest collection of books that have challenged and pushed me to be a better businesswoman and intellectual. The art of becoming a better leader is to keep learning always. Moreover, to invent a better future for the next generations, it’s key to remember the change always starts with you.
So, in addition to wishing you happy reading, I hope you will join the PRINTING United Women in Print Alliance Breakfast, Thursday, October 24, 7:30 AM. It's an opportunity to network with likeminded print professionals committed to equality, diversity and the celebration of women in print. You can also join the Women in Print community on PrinterLink to start a discussion of your own.