Smart Women I Know

January 15, 2017

The Smart women are succeeding wildly in business. But peel back the layers and they’re so much more inspiring than a title tells you. Learn how.

5 minute read

It’s blown my mind over time how many women I speak with charge me with an energy that nothing, and I mean nothing, can compare to. I keep wanting more.

This wasn’t always the case. I don’t consider myself a girl’s girl and frankly I don’t think anyone would call me that even still. It may be that that’s what joins these women and I together, though I’ve never asked. I just know they’re all the products of their own, very different journeys – paths to careers or places in the world in which they’re changing their lives and changing the world.

Lots of them are raising kids too, but not all of them. And none of these women are the same age; fact is, I have no idea how old they are, though many, I suspect, are younger than me. [Full disclosure: I think I’m either 52, 53, or 54 and I can’t ever be bothered to do the math. I consider myself better for the age, though my face and breasts would disagree] One thing I know we all have in common: we don’t whinge. These are not women who, on their precious evening out that has nothing to do with networking, work-related events, family night, school night, or late at the office night [majority] choose not to tell the other female adult next to them a story of anger or a litany of s—t they have to put up with, though they could. How do I know? Because we are bonded by one thing. We simply don’t need to put on a show. We’re honest, and honestly, endlessly curious and ready, no, hungry to learn something else, right now, everyday, any time, from anyone.

Even as these women are successful by any standards, they don’t really care about the title. Their jobs are hard, but they rise to the occasion and more. Most, maybe all, doubt that they’re any good. Many, if not all, have lived through work worlds primarily dominated by men. They’re all well schooled in personal failures, fears, and stepping into futures they can’t quite figure out.

But mostly, they’re simply more interesting, relevant, accomplished, funny, and smart than I will ever be. And that’s why I want to talk to them. And share their stories with you. Because we all hear a lot from the Sheryl Sandbergs and Melissa Mayers, the women who have superseded the ceiling and are at the tops of their fields with public stories that become best selling biographies.

That’s great stuff, and in a way that gives me permission for me to write this – and create the podcast that’s going to accompany my interviews with women like these. Those big names though are not where the action is in my view, and they don’t live in my world. These women do. Their journeys help me get inspired to work past my own career failures, my insecurities. They inspire, make me laugh, and give me insight into how to move forward in life and in my career.

That’s why I know they’re going to be interesting to you. Wherever you are in your life, getting a sense of what ordinary women are doing and getting to places where they can do remarkable things – maybe world changing things in their own way – who doesn’t want to know more?

We are now 51% and still considered lesser enough to make 7 % back on our paychecks. We earn more than our partners and husbands but would never bring that up in a fight. We raise kids, keep the social schedule, do the laundry and cleaning without making it seem heroic. We listen a lot, and don’t even think about how many layers we’re seeing in any one picture, and how much we balance as we’re doing it.

Who’ll be worth listening to? Everyone in my opinion.

Here’s the plan. To start, the first series will focus on homebase, because here in Boston we’ve got way too many of these unbelievable women to count, and I’ve got to get my sea legs on the podcast front.

So, 10 women, at different ages (yes! Millenials too! Can you believe it?) over a 2.5 month interview series that focuses on the stories that answer the questions ‘how did they’, from where they began, what they got past, who helped them do it, where they want to go, and how they’re making their impact. They’re women I know would like each other – and probably you – and maybe I’ll be able to pass their emails on should you need a bit more inspiration delivered.

The series will culminate in a face to face, en masse meeting of these minds, taking questions, connecting with each other, talking about stuff that matters to me, you, and pretty much anyone we ourselves are interested in.

It’s going to be a bit of a ride, but I promise it will be worthy of checking in, reading and listening. If you’re thinking I’m veering off course or things aren’t plugging you in to that unseen power chord, then I want you to tell me. That’s the point. This is for us. Because women are driving things now and it’s time we get to know them.


Ps: I won’t always finish with a poem. It’s not everybody’s thing. But this is a particularly good one, written by a cool woman, and passed on by an even-cooler one, in fact one of the women you’ll be hearing from. So here goes. Read it, I promise it’s worth it.


By Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,

which knew it would inherit the earth

before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds

watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom

is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,

more famous than the dress shoe,

which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it

and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men

who smile while crossing streets,

sticky children in grocery lines,

famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,

or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,

but because it never forgot what it could do