My name is Susan Wilson and I'm currently serving as Georgetown University's Entrepreneur in Residence. I’m a 41 year old wife, mother and FORTUNE Top Ten Entrepreneur and I’m frustrated women aren't discussing the personal realities that go with professional success.
By examining the demographics, personal choices and realities of Forbes and FORTUNE Top Ranked women, I hope to paint a more realistic and holistic picture of what success looks like for women today. And ideally, I hope to uncover trends and insights we can all learn from and appreciate.
Just as males are hardwired to be competitive hunters, females are communal gatherers. Our complementary genetics are how and why the human species has actually survived - which is an important point to remember btw.
So a woman's natural preference to collaborate and communicate is actually a gender trait not a choice (or character flaw). And before this becomes an all or nothing distracting debate, I'll readily admit this isn't true for every female. So let's continue. As a direct result of our genetic hard-wiring, females see ourselves in relation to others. Whether we're babies, girls, teens or women, our personal happiness is directly (and naturally) based on how we see ourselves in relation (and compared) to others - primarily other women.
I want to create a collection of simple, easy-to-understand infographics about the REAL lives of top-ranked women to shed some light on the personal choices and tradeoffs that come with professional success. The end product will be a printed guide or manual and a poster that tells a visual story of what the data reveals.
I plan to dig into the personal details of top-ranked
professional women so we can understand what works as well as interesting patterns or trends hidden within the data. This isn't about stereotyping, judging or throwing stones. It's simply about aggregating data (i.e., the facts) to get to the truth. For example:
· Why are some women so successful? Are they smarter? Do they work harder?
· How important is WHO you know? Is it exponential compared to WHAT you know?
· How does each woman lead? Manage? Mentor? Do age, status or location matter?
· Is it possible to be happy AND successful at home AND work? If so, for how long?
· Do kids hinder or help a woman succeed? Babies? Teens? What about pets?
· Does it matter if you come from money? Do nannies & housekeepers play a role?
This information has been readily available and in the public domain for years. It simply hasn’t been aggregated & analyzed in this manner for this purpose. With your help, I'll take a deep data dive into popular annual lists of successful women including:
· Forbes 2011 Highest Paid Female Athletes
The research and data will come from public sources including the U.S. Census, voter records, political donors, court records, marriage, divorce, birth & death records along with facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn.
Proceeds will be used to fund dedicated research, drafting text and visuals to create infographics (along with revisions), finalizing, printing and distributing the the end-products which includes color infograpics and guides (PDFs and printed), t-shirts, and posters - which I anticipate will take 3-4 months to complete.
This is not about stereotyping or judging so please don’t misunderstand my purpose. I'm digging into details to establish a truthful baseline we can all measure ourselves against. The media today feeds us ½ the story with one-dimensional pictures of successful women (who look fairly good). But today's technology & transparency make it impossible to distinguish a person's professional persona from their personal life. We simply are who we are - personally and professionally. This isn't news but it is important to understand.
Personal lives were once taboo but the Internet, facebook & twitter have forever changed the world. Professional personas permeate the media and inundate our personal lives. Isn’t it time we understood the truth? It’s out there. Some people know about it. It’s just that nobody’s taken the time to aggregate the data to see what it shows. That’s what I intend to do.
The Role You Can Play in this Groundbreaking & Practical Project
The easiest thing you can do is to simply show your support. Give $5 or $500. Or just spread the word on twitter or facebook. This is about the power of the crowd! And to prove that, I'm going to share my initial findings with key contributors and open it up to the crowd as we discuss obvious and potential trends as well as interesting anomalies.
We ALL have women in our lives. Isn’t this a practical project that easily improves your life? Tell ur friends. Contribute now. Let’s see how fast humanity benefits!