Fast Forward, How Women can Achieve Power and Purpose by Melanne Verveer and Kim K. Azzarelli (’88?). This book records the strides women have made and the work left to do in the struggle to make women coequal economic and political members of the human race. With a forward by Hillary Clinton, the two authors show us just how cracked the glass ceiling has become and just how far it is from disappearing. They set forth three steps for women to set and achieve goals: 1. Know your power, 2. Find your purpose, and 3. Connect with others.
These steps are described through the stories of innovative and successful women. Pam Seagle, for example, began her new path at Bank of America after she and her fellow passengers survived the flight which Captain Sullenberger landed on the Hudson. She asked for and played a meaningful role leading and encouraging women’s initiatives all over the world. The “Find your purpose” section is liberally sprinkled with “first female who. . . “ stories. A surprising example was Regina Gomes who, at the end of her rope in Rio, started collecting garbage and turned it into a recycling business where old bottles became art supplies.
The authors are part of the story. Kim was a lawyer working at Avon. After learning of the acid attacks on women and babies in Cambodia, she found new purpose and convinced Avon that they could help. She went on to work with the female justices of the Supreme Court on a program which will lead to more women judges. Melanne Verveer was Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff when she was first lady. Along with Clinton, she founded Vital Voices which makes investments toward female leadership.
Fast Forward is packed with ideas and links to empowering organizations. The women’s stories range from the most humble to a Who’s Who in female leadership. Among them, I was surprised to learn, was Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother, who was an early advocate of microcredit.