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Our Separate Ways by Ella J. Bell Smith, Stella M. Nkomo

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8

CLIMBING OVER THE BARRIERS

THE MOST SUCCESSFUL women in our study, both black and white, were able to attain top-level positions in their organizations. How do these women explain their upward mobility? How did they overcome the barriers we described in the previous chapter? We found that the women were adept at taking lessons from their early lives and developing strategies for navigating the corporate environment. We focus in this chapter on the successful strategies these women developed.

When asked what their companies had done to help them achieve success, only a small percentage of the women we interviewed pointed to instrumental company policies. The women were more likely to identify helpful individuals than helpful organizational ...

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