The Women of Berkshire HathawayLessons from Warren Buffett's Female CEOs and Directors
A fascinating look at the top women at Berkshire Hathaway and how they got there Although proportionally women continue to lag far behind men as CEOs and board members at major institutions, there has been a marked uptick in the number of female business leaders in recent years. Looking at the changes that have happened at Berkshire Hathaway—Warren Buffett's holding company, The Women of Berkshire Hathaway: Lessons from Warren Buffett's Female CEOs and Directors provides a unique look at the gradual shattering of the glass ceiling at one of America's top firms. An influx of female leadership over the past few years—today there are four female CEOs, up from just one a decade ago—has invigorated Berkshire Hathaway with energy and unique female insight. Profiling these remarkable women, the book provides motivational and management information for a wide range of readers, from business students to Buffett fans. Looks closely at the female board members of Berkshire Hathaway and the female managers who run Berkshire Hathaway companies Follows the paths that brought these women to their current positions Explores their working relationship with their employees and Warren Buffett, and how they balance work and their private lives The only book focusing on eight of the most powerful women at Berkshire Hathaway, The Women of Berkshire Hathaway is an inspirational read about the triumph of a group of remarkable women within a company once dominated by men.
Foreword ix Acknowledgments xiii Introduction xv Chapter 1 Rose Blumkin—Magic Carpet Ride 1 Chapter 2 Susan Jacques—Puttin’ On the Glitz 27 Chapter 3 Doris Christopher—Kitchen Counter Culture 65 Chapter 4 Cathy Baron Tamraz—Distribution Evolution 97 Chapter 5 Marla Gottschalk—Consuming Passion 121 Chapter 6 Beryl Raff—Precious Mettle 145 Chapter 7 Charlotte Guyman—Impact Creator 167 Chapter 8 Susan Decker—Desire to Inspire 193 Chapter 9 Katharine Graham—Capital Publisher 213 Chapter 10 Women at the Top and at the Table 235 Notes 253 About the Author 277 Index 279
Karen Linder is the founder and CEO of Linspiration, a corporation that supports entrepreneurship, creativity, and education. She is a sponsor of the annual technology conference Big Omaha, an experienced author and editor, and a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder. Linder is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, and a member of the Board of Directors of two nonprofits, the Museum of Nebraska Art and KANEKO, and SkyVu Entertainment, a for-profit company.
Although women continue to make up only a small minority of CEOs and board members at major companies, there has been a marked increase in the number of female business leaders in recent years. Nowhere is that more evident than among Berkshire Hathaway's holdings, and The Women of Berkshire Hathaway: Lessons from Warren Buffett's Female CEOs and Directors presents an in-depth look at the women who have risen to the top in a decidedly male-centric industry. An influx of female leadership over the past few years has invigorated Berkshire Hathaway with new energy and refreshing insights. The Women of Berkshire Hathaway offers a unique look into the lives of these remarkable individuals, as well as a valuable overview of the changing role of women in big business today. Bringing together the trials and successes of Berkshire's four female CEOs—up from just one a decade ago—and five other incredible women who have profoundly shaped the company's success through their hard work and business savvy, this collection of stories spans generations, nations, and industries. From Rose Blumkin, who left Eastern Europe for America in 1917 and later founded the legendary Nebraska Furniture Mart, to Susan Decker, the youngest member of Berkshire's board of directors in the company's history, the book tells the tales of some of the business world's greatest pioneers. Following the diverse, difficult paths these women took to become pillars of the business community, the book is a truly inspirational read. Exploring how they worked with Buffett himself, how they balanced their personal and professional lives, and how slowly but surely they worked to shatter the glass ceiling, The Women of Berkshire Hathaway is an amazing insight into the wisdom and bravery of nine women who refused to let the status quo get in the way of their success.
Praise for The Women of Berkshire Hathaway "It's never easy to be a woman in a male-dominated profession, but the women of Berkshire provide valuable guidance for ambitious women at every stage of their careers. This is a perfect book for your daughter, your friend, your colleague, or your protégé." —Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Founding President, Center for Talent Innovation, and author of Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women Are the Solution "A uniquely compelling look at the lives of the successful women who work with Warren Buffett. The Women of Berkshire Hathaway is a must-read for all future leaders in this new era of business—both men and women! This book inspired me to start my own business!" —Amanda Kimball, author of 2011 UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders "This book is a collection of stories about the 'women of Berkshire.' All are women that my father respects and admires—because they are good managers and good people. I've had the great privilege of knowing all of the women in this book. These are stories for anyone interested in business, management, entrepreneurship, or just plain human drama."—From the Foreword by Susie Buffett, Chair of the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and the Sherwood Foundation
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