Kathryn Sollmann’s message is to keep women working toward financial security in a flexible way—alongside child and aging parent caregiving roles—and to redefine our definitions of ‘ambition’.
Despite the tendency in our current business culture to urge women to “lean-in” and strive for the Executive Suite, the reality is that under any circumstances, relatively few smart, capable women have the desire or family bandwidth to break the glass ceiling. This is a bold, contrarian statement that may sound counter-feminist. But, this reality directly challenges a culture that shames women who aren’t interested in going after the highest positions on the career ladder. It’s time to acknowledge that most women want and need less life- consuming, flexible work to accommodate the roles of caring for children and aging parents. More importantly, it’s time to acknowledge that women who choose to pursue professional fulfillment and financial security in less lofty, highly-visible ways are not weak, lacking in ambition, or letting down the “sisterhood.”
It’s ok to not want the C-Suite! “Up is not the only way to move women forward,” argues Sollmann. “The best career advice is not ‘get to the top,’ it is ’stay at it.’ Always find work that fits your life. Plan for life’s surprises. Make sure you earn, save, and invest toward a long and comfortable retirement. This perspective allows work not to be perceived as a selfish pursuit of money, status, or power, but instead a means to a very necessary end, thus ending the debates, moral judgments, angst, and guilt surrounding working mothers trying to ‘have it all’.”
In AMBITION REDEFINED: Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work For Every Woman and What to Do Instead (Nicholas Brealey Publishing; October 9, 2018), author Kathryn Sollmann encourages women to always work in a flexible way that fits their lives, and finally puts to rest the persistent “can women have it all?” debate. Kathryn Sollmann is a recognized leader in helping women navigate the many stages of work and life. Through her blog and coaching firm, 9 Lives for Women, she is one of few voices strongly encouraging women to always work—at every age and life stage—to achieve long-term financial security. Her emphasis on women’s financial independence has generated event-sponsorship funding from corporate wealth-management giants, including AXA Advisors, Fidelity, Raymond James, Cigna and Wells Fargo.
In AMBITION REDEFINED, Sollmann debunks common assumptions such as:
- It’s Not “Worth It” Unless the Salary is High— Women forfeit up to 4X their salaries every year out of the workforce to care for children and/or elderly parents, and it does not take a six-figure salary to achieve long- term financial security.
- It Won’t Happen to Me— Divorce, death of a spouse, or unexpected financial support for aging parents are some of the life “you never knows” that all women could experience and that Sollmann encourages women to anticipate.
- Work Ends at Age 65–Women who leave the workforce and want to return in their 40s, 50s, or 60s will be good company as the ranks of older workers continue to rise.
With good humor, no-nonsense delivery and the ability to educate and motivate, Kathryn is a frequent speaker, and an inspirational voice for women in college to retirement years. A frequent media resource, her expertise has been called upon by The Today Show, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Money, CNBC & more.
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