A Gettysburg College prof and alum recently teamed up to offer practical tips for women as they strive for success in the workplace and at home.
In their new book published by Palgrave McMillan, “A Woman’s Framework for a Successful Career and Life,” adjunct assistant professor of management James E. Hamerstone ’64 and Lindsay Musser Hough ’98 tackle topics such as how women communicate, work/life balance, ambition, and negotiation.
The idea for their book, meant to be used as both a practical guide for young women and as a classroom resource, blossomed out of classes taught by Hamerstone on women and organizations.
After Hamerstone retired from a successful career in human resources, he began teaching, and eventually landed back at his alma mater. During his first few years teaching at Gettysburg, Hamerstone noticed that the young women in his classes were not as assertive as their male counterparts, despite often earning higher marks.
These observations combined with his own experiences as a human resources professional and as the father of a young woman, and the suggestion of colleague Prof. Elizabeth Richardson-Viti inspired him to teach both the first year seminar, Women in Organizations, and the upper-level class, Women, Organization, and Society.
When developing his courses, Hamerstone was shocked to find that there were few courses available on the topic of women in organizations. He knew then that there were countless sub-topics to be explored, and that more books, articles, and research were needed to help set young women (and yes, men too) on a path to success.
Hough, a senior manager with Deloitte Consulting, was later recommended to Hamerstone as a guest speaker for his class. Her visit to campus to talk about her own experiences in the management consulting industry proved to be a catalyst for their partnership.
“I said to Lindsay, ‘We should write a book about this together,’” recalled Hamerstone. And that’s just what they did. After crafting a proposal, finding an agent, and securing an offer from a publisher, Hamerstone and Hough wrote their manuscript, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan in early July 2013.
“When I was a student at Gettysburg I served as a co-director of the Women’s Center for two years. It was a very formative experience for me in a number of ways. I have maintained a close friendship with one of my co-directors, Meredith Bove, and we both ended up with pretty intense careers in management consulting. Our shared experience at the Women’s Center meant that when we were tackling an issue in the workplace – whether that it was about balancing our families’ needs with work pressures or figuring out whether to pursue a new client, or how to take credit for our efforts, we would often have these conversations about how gender was a factor in the situation. At the same time, I was increasingly interacting with young women starting their careers and saw an opportunity to help them avoid some of the challenges I had faced. This book has been a way for me to do that,” said Hough.
So, what is the main advice Hamerstone and Hough want readers to take away from their book as they strive for success?
“A lot of what happens is in your control,” said Hamerstone. “You can get more money at work or get your spouse to do something, and all you have to do is ask. It’s also important to constantly manage your life. Do things that’ll help you succeed, and continue learning.”
”We talk in the book about creating options and I think that is so critical for all women. Women in particular are sometimes uncertain about what path their careers will take – will I continue ‘up the ladder’ for their entire career? Slow down in my thirties? Step out of the workforce if I have children? You don’t have to have all the answers today; but you can take steps to create more options for your career,” added Hough. “If you are living in your hometown waiting for your first professional job, join the board of a local nonprofit; connect with Gettysburg alums through a local club. Keep your network strong by staying in touch with former colleagues. Don’t hesitate to take a ‘stretch’ assignment if you think you are up for it right now. All of these things create options for you – they add tools to your toolbox – which means you’ll have more choices and options as you navigate through your career and life.”
About “A Woman’s Framework for a Successful Career and Life”
Targeted specifically at women just entering or re-entering the workforce, “A Woman's Framework for a Successful Career and Life” is a comprehensive resource for any woman navigating her career while seeking balance in her life. The authors lay out the building blocks of a successful lifelong career, focusing on blending skills such as communication, negotiation, leadership, career path navigation, ambition, mentoring, work-life fit, and personal branding, all of which need to be done in a global environment. Each topic includes a summary of key research and offers realistic, concrete suggestions for how any woman can achieve success in both her career and life.
“Hamerstone and Hough's practical tips on building your personal brand and board will resonate with women as they navigate their early career. The book's roadmap for career success and advancement provides meaningful scenarios with clear steps to avoid the common pitfalls of professional life. Young women early in their career will glean advice and insight for their own career, but men and women of all career stages should read this book to understand their role and impact in building the next generation of leaders,” said Elissa Sangster, executive director of the Forté Foundation.
James E. Hamerstone is an adjunct assistant professor of management at Gettysburg College and the creator of the popular Women in Organizations first year seminar. In addition to his work on women in organizations, he teaches international management and human resource management. He frequently speaks on the topic of women and work, and has a Masters degree in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University. Prior to teaching, he was a senior human resource executive at TRW, a space, defense and automotive supply company and senior vice president of human resources at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.
Lindsay Musser Hough has worked in the management consulting industry for over 10 years. Her area of consulting expertise is in assisting government agencies implement large-scale transformations and innovative programs. She has worked with clients ranging from the US Transportation Security Administration to the PA Department of Public Welfare. Throughout her career, Hough has been active in workplace diversity and inclusion efforts and has coached many young men and women on career development topics including networking, work-life fit and personal branding.
Posted: Mon, 19 Aug 2013