I’m Too Sexy For My Book Cover

Some have hemmed and hawed over my book cover, debating whether a classic Louboutin would have done the trick (trademark, shmademark). Still others winced at my hope of luring male readers with a shapely turn of ankle. (But sexy is better than dowdy, no? And them’s some sweet sticks).

I’ve been chided countless times in the nicest of ways by women who remind me that… this networking thing? It’s really not about the shoes and clothes. And ladies, I hear you.

As a journalist and former businessperson, it took me a while to get comfortable with this. But I ended up stuffing Stiletto Network with lifestyle details because these are the things women notice. These are things I notice.

So hear me out. Before I could figure what was happening, I had a gut feeling that the world was changing in important ways. Why? Because I walked into a conference room of 50 hard-core, successful women who actually looked like women. Women with chic shoes and healthy hair. Women for whom the requisite intro was: “I love your shoes!” or “What a fabulous dress! Is that this season or last?”

Stiletto Networks emerge because ladies find fast affinities. Sure, businesswomen talk about transactions, but they also do girly things like hosting baby showers and swapping Manolos. Where men might fall back on sports, women use clothes and shoes as an icebreaker, the initial step to a more substantive relationship.

“It’s okay to compliment another woman on her dress or shoes,” Heidi Roizen says in Stiletto Network. “Just because you admire what’s happening on the outside doesn’t mean you’re not interested in what’s going on inside her head.”

Stilettos might just grease the wheels…

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I was always the first woman in anything I did. It would have been nice to have some mentors, so we created a network to make it easier. When you see there’s a problem out there, you think of ways to solve it. You have to go out and create what you want for yourself and your community. You create a path, but leave markers for others to follow.”

Susan Stautberg, CEO of PartnerCom and co-founder of WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) and Belizean Grove

Stiletto Network (Page 229)