Saying NO to the Workplace Status Quo: 13 Women Who Are Rewriting the Rules
If readers are not sure what a firebrand is, they’ll find out in Mikaela Kiner’s powerful first book. Women of all generations will nod in recognition at the stories of 13 professional women from diverse backgrounds and industries as they recount the career challenges they've faced and how they have overcome bias, sexism, and the power imbalance.
These women are role models, not just because they’ve been successful in their careers, but because they are mission driven and doing good in the world. They are whole people dealing with work, family, balance, confidence, and the need to stay motivated and strong.
Mikaela Kiner spent 15 years in HR leadership at Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, PopCap Games, and Redfin. In 2015 she founded Reverb, which helps companies create healthy, inclusive culture that engages and inspires employees.
Female Firebrands is an honest, modern, and solutions-oriented guide for dealing with situations working women know all too well: sexual harassment, not being taken seriously, and being talked over, passed over, underpaid, and underappreciated. Mid-career professional women will read this book and know they're not alone. Women earlier in their careers can save years of heartache and frustration by learning what's worked for women who came before them.
Chapter checklists provide invaluable to-do lists for women, men who want to be their advocates, and HR and business leaders as well. Readers will learn how to—
• Develop tools and techniques to stand and speak up on behalf of yourself and others when it’s both difficult and necessary
• Get better at recognizing “little indignities” you don’t have to tolerate
• Understand what it means to be an informed, empowered advocate for women
• Increase awareness of your own blind spots and biases so you can learn from them
• Recognize the role of privilege at work and how it can be used for positive change
A skimpy roundup of female "firebrands" fizzles in this scant offering from consultant and first-time author Kiner. A Microsoft and Amazon veteran, she was called out by her young daughter about the long hours she worked, sending her into a tailspin of guilt but, ultimately, she was inspired to start her own consultancy focused on work-life balance. Here, she interviews 13 women from varied professional backgrounds nonprofit, education, corporate about handling professional challenges, from salary negotiation to avoiding burnout, and overcoming can't-win criticisms typically levied on working women too quiet, too loud, too arrogant, too tenacious. Kiner's expressed hope is that her interviewees' stories will help readers feel empowered and ready to advocate for themselves and for other women. Unfortunately, the subjects touched on, including oft-covered fare such as male privilege, imposter syndrome, #MeToo, mentorship, and the challenges faced by working mothers, receive only superficial treatment. One chapter, titled "Privilege in the Workplace," is written in collaboration with a friend of Kiner's, the head of diversity issues at a cancer research center, adding to the impression that Kiner herself struggled to find things to say about the book's subjects. Between the fresh-from-transcription interviews and scant advice, Kiner brings little new to well-covered ground.