Summer Reading List 2019
Memoirs, Fiction, Non-Fiction & Self-Help Books for the Hard Working Woman
Which is why I went behind the scenes to dig up 13 thirst-quenching reads recommended by our team at PowerToFly that will keep you busy this summer.
From cyberpunk political thrillers and sci-fi adventures (with female protagonists!), to eye-opening memoirs and self-help books from diverse authors, we proudly present our summer reading list 2019 — in no particular order.
Let us know which book you decide to take on, or if you think we missed one!
"An amazing story, and truly inspiring. The kind of book everyone will enjoy. It's even better than you've heard."—Bill Gates
A PowerToFly top pick because: We were so moved by Tara's rebellious and inventive spirit! A woman with an unconventional family lifestyle, determined to change her perspective and overall world view. Tara's boldness, and drive to take responsibility for her own education, represents a real character we can learn from and develop with as the novel progresses.
"The second I finished The Bucket List, I hugged it. Like, literally. I clutched it to my chest and wailed." - Jenny, Goodreads
A PowerToFly top pick because: We fell in love with Georgia Clark when she sat down and chatted with us last year and shared some of her creative writing tips with our community. Her newest book, The Bucket List, is a fun, quick witted story about a serious topic - genetic predisposition to the BCRA1 gene mutation: the "breast cancer" gene, something more women should be talking about!
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal for "championing the stories of an unsung history."
A PowerToFly top pick because: We recognize that there are so many stories that have been unjustly left out of our history books. These forgotten stories certainly have their effects on modern culture and influence the way tiny conversations are swallowed and transmuted into something else or shared and evolved into a healing dialogue. This lyrical piece of non-fiction brings to light a part of our culture, to spark a new conversation.
"I am grateful to Women Who Run with the Wolves and to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. The work shows the reader how glorious it is to be daring, to be caring, and to be women. Everyone who can read should read this book."—Maya Angelou
A PowerToFly top pick because: This book is an excellent resource for those who feel as if they've lost their voice or are afraid to use it. An overwhelming response from our PowerToFly community comes from those who feel nervous, discouraged, or invisible in their current situation. Clarissa Pinkola Estés uses her medical knowledge and assorted roots to reveal how we can give territory and voice to the wild woman inside each of us.
"[Machado's] use of a vivid experimental lens to show women struggling for agency is startling."―The New Yorker
A PowerToFly top pick because: This is a collection of short stories that beautifully experiments with surreal, fantastical, and at times undeniably palpable narratives which aim to question unique experiences and perspectives of the contemporary and complicated women we know today. An investigation of intellect, identity, sex, gender, and mental health -- these stories may ring true for your neighbor or may be something you identify with on a more personal level.
A PowerToFly top pick because: As a daily quoted resource by the PowerToFly team, 'Becoming' has sparked a new confidence in our leaders who value the challenges Michelle Obama faced during her path to become one of the greatest leaders of all time. She candidly reveals the challenges women of color face, navigating the white-washed waters of the mighty systems that raise us and employ us. As citizens of the world and instigators of positive change, we find her story very insightful and encouraging as she unabashedly brings us to question how we can redesign the system of employment and acknowledge the root of one big challenge our free world is chasing: equal opportunity.
"Moms' family schedules don't always meld with a 9-to-5, in-office, 5-day-a-week job, which is why the advice here is critical, so mothers can keep caring for their children and gain financial stability."―Meredith Bodgas, Editor-in-Chief of Working Mother magazine
A PowerToFly top pick because: The most common questions we are asked at PowerToFly revolve around flexibility at work - we sat down and talked with Kathryn Sollmann about how to ask for a flexible job just a few months ago. This book outlines everything you need to know about asking for more flexibility - whether you're a job seeker, new parent, or someone looking for a little more "you" time.
"Science fiction for election nerds and for media geeks. I highly recommend it." ―BookRiot
A PowerToFly top pick because: While we anxiously await the next seasons of Black Mirror and The OA on Netflix, this book fills the gap with a complex and highly upbeat story that will totally consume you. Chances are, you'll be called to flip back and read again in order to fully understand this very SciFi (almost real) version of humanity. It's no surprise that as a reader, you're left with a very humanitarian outlook on the world - when she isn't writing, Malka Older holds her ground as a Senior Fellow for Technology and Risk at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
"Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand-builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule-breaker and gadget geek."
A PowerToFly top pick because: Nancy Shenker is just like us - a mom of two grown daughters with experiences from blogging to becoming the CEO of her own company. We loved hearing her '20 lessons over 40 years' and while the title may be a little provocative, the content is anything but. Nancy shares some real talk when it comes to dealign with hard topics at work, like building real professional relationships and how to approach finding a mentor.
"Better Allies demystifies the work of allyship in an actionable, approachable, and blame-free way. The book introduces key concepts necessary to effective allyship with concrete examples and case studies, and offers a myriad of positive actions we can all take on our journey to be better allies in our workplace and our personal lives." —Caroline Simard, PhD, Managing Director, Stanford VMWare Women's Leadership Innovation Lab
A PowerToFly top pick because: We can all become better allies. Karen Catlin gave us some really great tips (and one-liners!) for how you can respond to uncomfortable situations at work, and become a better ally to your peers and coworkers. We got a high level overview during our chat with Karen, but this book dives way deeper into how you can create a more inclusive environment at your company!
"Alexander is absolutely right to fight for what she describes as a "much-needed conversation" about the wide-ranging social costs and divisive racial impact of ourcriminal-justice policies."—Newsweek
A PowerToFly top pick because: We loved this quote from Michelle Alexander, civil-rights-lawyer-turned-legal-scholar "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." Michelle gives sight to the bigger discrimination issues our country is facing as we strike towards a new social movement.
[Babel-17] winner of the Nebula Award for best novel of the year, is a fascinating sci-fi thriller taking place in space and centering a woman leader protagonist.
PowerToFly picked because: Growing up burdened and bullied with questions about his bi-racial family and sexual identity, this powerfully written book by the self-proclamed black and gay Samuel R. Delany, is just what the literature world needs in a time of such strong discrimination. Written from an unexpected perspective, Samuel pushes the diversity meter up and empowers more authors to share their stories with confidence and flavor!
"A troubling testament to grit and mother love...While the story of her own achievement under grim, often violent circumstances is extraordinary, the reader is left feeling particularly grateful for [Chambers's] compassion." —The New Yorker
PowerToFly picked because: In this memoir with great lyricism, Veronica Chambers shares her story of the bond she had with her immigrant mother growing up an Afro-Latina woman from Brooklyn, New York. This novel touches on the hardship and triumph many women still face today - raising families or growing up with low income, and rising to the top. Now added to the required reading list for both colleges and high schools around the US - it's time for us to back-read!
Whether you're embarking on your first summer internship or taking your first vacation in over a year after founding your startup, these books are sure to keep your mind stimulated this summer.
Branwyn Baughman, recruiter at Lockheed Martin, shares an exclusive take on the most important tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.
Take a look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as some top-notch tips that Branwyn outlines on how you can make your application stand out.
To learn more about Lockheed Martin and their open roles, click here.
6 Tips for Companies & 5 Tips for Individuals from Indeed's Group VP of ESG, LaFawn Davis
Earlier this month, LaFawn Davis, Indeed's Group Vice President of Environmental, Social, & Governance, joined us as part of our Diversity Reboot Summit to talk about the 'shecession' experienced by many women, and especially women of color, as a result of COVID-19.
LaFawn shared some great tips for companies and individuals looking to be part of "the great rehiring." If you're looking to find a new role, or to ensure that you help bring back diverse talent displaced by COVID, check out her advice below, and catch her complete talk here or by clicking the video above!
Q: What would your advice be to companies that are looking to step up their diverse hiring in 2021?
My advice: Good intentions are no longer good enough. Nobody wants to hear what you meant to do, wish you could have do, intended to do. Nobody wants to hear that you can't find Black Women or any other dimension of diversity. We're obviously out here.
My squad and I have a saying "Impact over intentions." So, if 2020 was the year of good diversity and inclusion intentions, let's make 2021 the year of actions and impact.
So, now that we got that out of the way. If you're looking to step up your diverse hiring. Stop and get your house in order. Because you shouldn't just want to hire a diverse workforce, you should want to grow and keep them too. So there are 5 things, ready?
1. Focus on long-term systemic change.
There's a lot of momentum — and need — for change right now. It's not just about a message of support or donating to a cause one time. Take a look at your own systems. How do you hire and grow employees? Do your succession planning, talent reviews, recruiting and other processes have built-in biases? Is equality part of your core values? Are you actively working toward change? Recognize that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Above all, hold yourself accountable for the way things are, then work to improve.
2. Take a close look at your data.
Share it internally to be transparent with employees of where you are now. When possible, share it externally to be visible and accountable (I'm happy to announce that Indeed will be releasing its own diversity data this summer). Use it as a baseline for comparison against what you hope to achieve.
3. Change behavior.
Focus on behavioral changes throughout the company with an emphasis on coaching, training, and having crucial conversations with managers. Leaders and managers set an example for the entire workforce. If employees see the behavior of managers or leaders in a negative light, a true sense of belonging is difficult to achieve.
4. Representation matters.
If leadership roles are perceived as exclusive to many members of the workforce, then a broader sense of belonging will continue to elude many employees. People in leadership roles should reflect the diversity of a company's workforce. Observing someone "like me" in a leadership role helps attract and retain talent and motivates workers to pursue roles with greater responsibility.
5. Create Policies And Procedures Reflective Of The Entire Workforce.
As you work through new or existing policies and procedures, be aware of barriers experienced by different populations. Take, for example, the case of caregivers. More scheduling flexibility for calls can go a long way for employees who share their home workspace with others and must tend to family responsibilities while working remotely.
Q: Do you have advice for individuals that are looking for new career opportunities, especially women of color who might have lost their previous jobs during the pandemic?
Adaptability has always been an important part of an individual's career progression - even before COVID-19, it is especially important now.
It is important to show a potential new employer how your abilities adapt to a new role or a new industry. Focus on skills more than just experiences because skills can be applied in so many different ways. So… I'll give you 6 things for this one.
1. Perform a professional audit. Taking some time to understand your qualities, qualifications and values can help focus your career transition and narrow down your career path options if you haven't already. Doing so can also help you understand how you might position yourself during the job search.
2. Identify your hard and soft skills. Soft skills are often the most transferable, so identifying them early can help you understand the ways you might bring value to a new role or industry. Taking inventory of your hard skills will help you identify if there are certain industries that might be easier to transition into.
3. Highlight your biggest career wins. Communicating the impact you've made throughout your career can help employers quickly understand the value you'll bring to their organization, even if you come from another role or industry.
4. Utilize online job search to your advantage. Pay close attention to the requirements and duties of jobs so you can evaluate whether the career would align with your skills, interests and values.
5. You just need to meet "most" of the qualifications. Try to focus on positions for which you meet at least 60% of the qualifications with your transferable skills. Meeting 60% of the qualifications isn't a hard rule, but it's a good general guideline to help you determine whether it's worth applying for.
6. Get a sense of the company. Before interviews, do some research to learn how inclusive a company is. Peruse the organization's core values, its social media accounts, and any recent statements in support of marginalized groups. Pay attention to the interviewers themselves. Is the panel diverse or are you likely to be an early "diversity hire"? If the interviewers seem to be emphasizing "cultural fit," ask what that means. Basically, be an active participant in the hiring process. You are also interviewing the company, as much as they are interviewing you.
Stephanie Acker, director of inside sales at Commvault, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the company's application process, culture, and values, as well as her own career journey.
To kick things off, Stephanie mentioned the three things that make a great inside sales professional: an independent work ethic, the ability to learn and execute on their own, and an awareness of what keeps them motivated.
Over her 12-year career at Commvault, Stephanie's greatest motivation has been helping customers to find solutions and catapult them to success. In both her past role as a sales representative and her current director position, Stephanie remains committed to ensuring her team understands what motivates them to sell and setting them up for success.
The biggest surprise during her career at Commvault was becoming the director of inside sales. Stephanie shared that she loves working for a company that listens to new ideas, thinks outside of the box, and tries new things.
Don't miss her take on what moves a candidate forward in the interview process! For example, Stephanie loves when the interviewee gets into "the zone"—showing their selling technique. She also shares her favorite interview questions.
As Stephanie says, stop thinking and apply today!
To learn more about Commvault and their open roles, click here.
When you think about strong female leadership, what comes to mind? For Tatiana L., a global client partner in Miami, it's about more than having an executive seat, being a mother, or making dreams come true. "Good leadership is about being open, flexible, and able to understand different perspectives," she says. "It's about fostering collaboration, bringing people together, and empowering them to connect."
Tatiana L. is a global client partner based in Miami.
Tatiana is part of the Women@ Facebook Resource Group and helped plan Women's Leadership Day, an annual global community summit. While the highly-anticipated event takes place over just one day, its massive impact is felt over the course of the entire year.
Amy W. is an operations lead based in London.
"Women's Leadership Day is more than an event. It's energy, and it's a movement," Amy W., an operations lead in London, says. "Moments like this can completely change the perception of women in technology."
From choosing the content and programming for the event to making it accessible for women around the globe, we went behind the scenes with seven members of the Women@ Facebook Resource Group to learn more about how women are empowered—and are empowering one another— in their career journeys at the Facebook company.
Behind the scenes with Women@
Amanda M., an internal recruiting manager based in Singapore, speaking onstage at 2019 Women@ Leadership Day in APAC.
"I've always been passionate about empowering women, but I didn't know how I could do it at work. My first Women@ experience changed how I felt at Facebook," Amanda M., an internal recruiting manager in Singapore, remembers. "From then on, I wanted to help other women feel heard, valued, and confident."
Planning the global event, which brings together women from more than 20 countries, calls for close collaboration across multiple teams, regions, and timezones. Members of Women@ also partner with other Facebook Resource Groups, such as the Pride@ Resource Group, Latin@ Facebook Resource Group, Desis@ Facebook Resource Group and Black@ Resource Group, to ensure all women at Facebook are represented and feel included.
Vivian V. is a program manager based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Across regions and communities, we each bring unique differences and powerful stories. When one of us moves forward, we have the opportunity to bring all of us forward," Vivian V., a program manager in the San Francisco Bay Area explains. "While planning the summit, we meet weekly to talk about what women in different regions are experiencing. From the event theme and content to planning speaker sessions and fine-tuning details, we each have items to own. Two months before the summit, we meet daily to share updates and make sure nothing slips through the cracks."
"Just like me, women in APAC look forward to Women's Leadership Day all year long," Amanda says. Planning something that's deeply meaningful to so many people can feel like a lot of pressure, but at the same time, it's uplifting. I appreciate that we have the opportunity to talk about our individual and shared challenges, and we map out ways we can build community while empowering leadership for women across the globe."
Empowering confidence, equality, and leadership through storytelling
Paris Z., a vertical strategy lead in Singapore, and Amanda M. collaborate with women across the globe to plan Women@ programming and events.
Women's Leadership Day encourages women to talk about challenges like experiencing imposter syndrome, breaking through barriers, and how to manage work/life flexibility. "Storytelling is a huge part of the event," Paris Z., a vertical strategy lead in Singapore, explains.
Vivian says, "I've been at Facebook for nearly two years and help plan these events, and honestly, I never really understood imposter syndrome before I got here. Working with the Women@ community and hearing from our speakers—who are talented, brilliant superstars—I've seen firsthand how it affects them too."
Michelle C. is a client partner based in London.
Michelle C., a client partner in London, says that the summit's speaker sessions, which feature people from inside and outside of Facebook, are a highlight of every event. "We had a speaker from Tel Aviv who talked about the importance of balance in her personal life and how she co-parents with her husband. She shared specific things she's done, like adding her husband to the WhatsApp chat groups for mothers she's in and reminding her daughter's school that her husband is also available when their child feels sick. Her message was that we'll never be equal in the workplace until we're equal at home, and it really struck a chord."
Paris says that in APAC, Eva Chen's talk about facing challenges amidst the coronavirus pandemic and how she's raising her daughter was a top-rated session because it was so relatable. "From talking about her daughter's love for dinosaurs—a "boy" thing—and raising kids to fully be themselves to opening up about what it was like to grow up with immigrant parents from China and Vietnam, Eva inspired us with her authenticity and openness. Her struggle to feel supported while working in fashion and tech, rather than medicine, is something a lot of people in APAC understand."
"Every woman has a unique story," Michelle says. "Hearing from others is inspiring, validating, and truly eye-opening. It reminds us that we're not alone."
A memorable and lasting impact
It's no surprise that with the tremendous amount of planning and careful consideration that goes into the summit, its full impact is impossible to measure.
"It meant so much to me when people shared such positive feedback about Women's Leadership Day," Paris says. "We heard that some attendees felt inspired for days and weeks."
Kira G. is an agency partner based in Berlin.
Kira G., an agency partner in Berlin, has witnessed how the summit's programming can inspire action, even helping people push past a career plateau. "We might reach a point in our careers when we think, "I can't do this anymore, I'm not moving forward'," she says. "Women's Leadership Day gives us fresh perspectives, shows us new approaches, and starts important conversations. This can unlock new paths for growth and help us move forward."
Impact is felt in other Facebook groups, communities, and across teams too, inspiring interest and allyship. Amanda explains, "I felt so proud when a male VP from the Sales team came to us after hearing about what people talked about at Women's Leadership Day. He told us he wanted to learn more because it's everyone's responsibility to be an ally."
Empowering the community throughout the year
While Amanda describes Women's Leadership Day as a "bump in energy and inspiration" and "an injection of adrenaline", Vivian says that the real magic is what happens afterwards—and takes place all year long.
"When we think about Women's Leadership Day, our focus is on making sure that the powerful messages we hear and experience serve us throughout the entire year. We ask ourselves questions like, "How can we sprinkle these themes into our programming throughout the month or quarter? How do these ideas fit with our Women@ initiatives?" Going through something awesome together is just the beginning. Our work takes place year-round and we're constantly building on it to do more."
Paris agrees: "There's no shortage of amazing stories from our Women@ community throughout the year. Women's Leadership Day is just one channel for those stories, and I love how it stays top of mind with people and empowers them to do more good. When we come together, we can do anything we dream of."
"We're building a sisterhood and a community," Tatiana beams. "It feels so good to know there's always someone there to support you."
Learn more about Facebook's Employee Resource Groups, including Women@ here.