Breaking the Glass Ceiling Without Reaching the Breaking Point is the topic of an essay by Samantha Herold, a junior majoring in supply chain management and international business at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, that earned the 2014 Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarship (AAGS) grand prize. The prize was awarded by Womenetics(women + kinetics), an organization whose goal is to help business prosper by advancing women in the workplace.
Samantha’s essay addresses the fact that so many women “lose the emotional investment (at work) by the time they reach 30.” One explanation she offers (and supports by referencing studies) is that “women have far less downtime than men to take care of their personal needs.” Another reason is that interactions in the modern working world “have been reduced to texts, emails, and social networking.”
One way to increase engagement, Samantha proposes, is developing a “community of practice” which she defines as “a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” These are similar to “affinity groups” which have been described before in this site’s Leadership Development section.
Samantha writes, “If women’s strengths seem to lie within being team players and being intuitive to different perspectives, then encouraging an environment wherein people in all levels of the organization can share their thoughts and ideas freely absolutely allows an avenue for women to flourish and utilize their natural strengths.”
Read her essay and those by the four finalists, students with other majors from University of Texas at Austin, Georgia Institute of Technology, Wesleyan University, and Florida State University. All five essays focused on topics relevant to women’s leadership.