How Women Executives Succeed: Lessons and Experiences from the Federal Government

How Women Executives Succeed: Lessons and Experiences from the Federal Government

How Women Executives Succeed: Lessons and Experiences from the Federal Government

How Women Executives Succeed: Lessons and Experiences from the Federal Government


The significance of this study on women executives is twofold: one, the book is about women in the public sector, and two, it is written by a woman in the executive service of the government itself. The treatise is a well-documented study of seventy-eight women executives who advanced into the upper reaches of the government executive service. The work analyzes the significant experiences, individuals, developmental stages, and barriers that these women encountered. It provides constructive information for women employees, women managers, and managers of women and minorities. The introductory chapters review learning theories and models, literature, and data collected. The book then proceeds to its main theme, the experiences and lessons of SES women. Various supervisory experiences in task forces, projects, and turning around an organization are analyzed. Role models, bosses, and mentors and their impact is detailed. Successful handling of an executive job, balancing life and work, and dealing with invisible barriers are also addressed. The book concludes with "100 Steps to the Top". The original survey questionnaire, key charts, and graphs are included. This book will be beneficial to human resource professionals and for inclusion in courses in human resource management, women's studies, and a worthwhile addition to college and university collections.


If you can dream it, you can do it.

Walt Disney

Through generations, women have dreamed, suffered, worked, planned, waited, struggled, sacrificed, and survived to contribute to the grand design of having an equal part in our society--our democracy. Today a revolution is underway. Women are taking a journey through the ranks of government. Some are making it to their final destination--a journey to the top ranks of management in the public service--the Senior Executive Service (SES). What has made the difference for them in their career progress?

This book, based on a study of 78 federal senior executive women, examines that question. It is the first systematically researched and documented study of women who have broken the "glass ceiling" in the federal government. These women--at some risk to their own careers--have shared their experiences and the lessons learned that made the ceiling open up to them. Great care has been taken to ensure their own words were used to describe their lessons, experiences, and challenges. From their stories--and their stories needed to be told-- every woman who aspires to make it to the top can learn and understand what it takes to be an executive leader.

I hope that any woman in the work force, now and in the future, will be able to use this research to make it to the top. From this research, I know each woman will be able to learn what is happening in her own career and to identify where she is in the journey. She will be able to learn the lessons that are required for her to keep moving and to take action to bring her to her destination: the top.

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