My book club’s selection last month was Dear Madame President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the Worldby former Hillary Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri. Usually, I procrastinate reading our book club books (many have been business self-help books, which tend to not be page-turners!) For our last meeting, I was so behind reading the book, I attempted to cheat and downloaded an off-brand cliff notes version of the book which was truly terrible. Lesson learned.
Not the case with Dear Madame President. I couldn’t wait to start reading.
I have a mother who has always told me there are no glass ceilings – no limits – and I could be anything I want to be, as long as I put my mind to it. She has a long career in public service, both in appointments and elected office. Stories related to women in politics are always going to be intriguing to me. She’s won elections and she’s lost elections. The loss for the Republican primary for the second congressional district in WV was particularly frustrating – but she never blamed gender. (Did you know women winning is not the reason for the leadership gap in government?)
Dear Madame President is a quick read, (I read it in two days during our spring break). I think I expected it to be more of a futuristic take on a world that elected a woman president. Instead, Palmieri shares personal stories and her perspective on how women are judged completely differently than men in the public arena and in the workplace. She writes, “We have no idea what beneficial qualities we might be stifling in ourselves as long as we continue to follow an outdated set of behavioral rules that were designed to permit women to play a niche role in a workplace built for men.”
Palmieri has a wealth of experience in communications and campaigns (she was also the Director of Communications for the White House), and her stories as a female leader keep the book engaging and interesting. Whether you’re a Clinton fan or not, her perspective on women in leadership roles, and Clinton running for office, is one to read and understand.
At the book’s core is something we can all agree with: her advice to the women who will rule the world centers on embracing our authentic selves and avoid conforming to what we believe is the norm – whether that is how we dress, concealing emotion, or listening to our heart.
Let’s run our worlds in our own style, ladies. ????