Women Progress, But Still Seek Change

By Don Wade 

This post originally appeared on The Daily News.

Amy Howell understands the assumptions. Co-author a book with the title “Women in High Gear” and it is easy, she says, to imagine a book that is “anti-male.”

Attendees of The Daily News’ Women & Business seminar network after the Thursday, Feb. 27, event. The seminar and panel highlighted the present and future of women in business. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

But as Howell delivered the keynote address at The Daily News Publishing Co.’s Women & Business Seminar, she made clear – as did others – that a woman succeeding in business is not about defeating men.

“I’m not a male-basher,” Howell said at the Thursday, Feb. 27, seminar. “I love men. I work with men. A lot of my clients are men.”

Howell is CEO of Howell Marketing Strategies. And she dreams of the day when there are more women CEOs out there. At the Fortune 500 level, only 4 percent of CEOs are women.

“We’ve got to change that,” she said.

After her speech, Howell and her fellow panelists – Robbin Hutton, a senior attorney with Jackson Lewis PC; Leslie Johnson, assistant director of Hutchison Leads at Hutchison School; and Linda Lauer, managing director at CBIZ Memphis – took questions from the audience.

Hutton said the legal field has changed greatly, noting that in the 1970s, it was only about 5 percent female. Now, she said, it is 33 percent female, and almost 50 percent of law school graduates are women. Numbers like that are encouraging at Hutchison.

“We focus on instilling confidence in the girls,” Johnson said.

There also was much discussion about the importance of steering young women into STEM fields – referring to science, technology, engineering and math. It’s in those fields, Howell said, where women’s pay is about 90 percent of men’s pay. Progress is also being made in the legal profession.

“We’re catching up,” Hutton said.

“I’m not a male-basher. I love men. I work with men. A lot of my clients are men.”

–Amy Howell
Co-author, “Women in High Gear”

One audience member asked the panel about a woman one day being president.

“I certainly think our country would be a lot better off if it was run by a woman,” Howell said, generating the loudest applause of the day from the female-majority audience. “Men aren’t doing so well.”

Johnson added, “At Hutchison, we tell (the girls) they can do anything they want to do, be anything they want to be.”

Flex time is becoming more common and acceptable for both men and women as they look to balance career and family, but Hutton said women who take time off from their careers are responsible for catching up with the technology when they return.

Howell’s hope is that more companies will realize the value of flexible schedules, saying she knows some CEOs and managers still aren’t comfortable with it because they don’t want to give up “control” over employees.

“If you’re productive,” Howell said, “what does it matter if you work 8 to 5?”

Lauer said seminars such as this can only further the cause of equal opportunity in the workplace, adding, “The fact it’s being publicized will lead to change.”

The Daily News’ Health Care Reform seminar – the second in the six-part 2014 Seminar Series – will be held April 3.

It’s Time for a Personal Board of Advisors

Building a busineBoardofAdvisorsss from scratch is hard work; and it’s even harder if you’re an On-Ramper—a person who took time off work to raise children, enjoy a sabbatical, or care for aging parents.

At the age of 40 I started my business and one of the first, and smartest, things I did was assemble a personal board of advisors. To succeed in business, it’s important to be self-aware. That includes knowing that you don’t know, as my father always said.

I didn’t have 20 years to figure out the art of doing business, so I needed to surround myself with the most successful people that I could connect with and ask if they would kindly serve as my personal board of advisors. How did I do that? I reached out and asked. Fortunately for me, each one said Yes.

What did I ask of my board? If they would be willing to be accessible, to listen, and to guide me in the best direction for success. They helped me answer the following types of questions:

  • Should I pursue a WBE certification?
  • Should I invest the time to compete for a state contract?
  • Should I volunteer service on another board?
  • How do I approach a client who is 60 days past due?
  • How should I respond to a company who wants to co-brand?
  • How do I navigate the hiring process?
  • Should I negotiate a 3-year or 5-year commercial space lease?

As an entrepreneur, I had to make good decisions the first time, and my board was critical in helping me grow.

I felt it was important to have diverse industries and ages on my board. I wanted people who could help me think of unintended consequences and bring skills that I didn’t have. One advisor is a successful family practice physician who is leading the country in electronic medical records implementation; one is a business owner who founded an institutional bond firm; one is a mother who started her IT firm after leaving IBM and ramped up to crest $5 million in revenue; one is a 30-year veteran in land development and the automotive industry leading a company with $80 million in revenue; and one is a business owner of a commercial mortgage banking firm.

All have deep experiences with growing their companies, making decisions based on the bottom line, navigating workplace challenges, and rebounding from recessions. I soon realized the value of that level of guidance—priceless. In fact, it’s probably worth more than an MBA.

Dr. Robert K. Nielsen jokes that he’s still waiting for our annual board meeting to be at The Greenbrier. That’s an aspirational goal for me, but every day I look at the picture on my desk and am thankful for how much each one has played a role in my high gear journey.

Whether you’re just thinking about your business idea or ready to launch a new service, I strongly encourage you to assemble your own personal board of advisors to capture decades of business wisdom and the objectivity to send you to the next level.

Anne Deeter Gallaher Interviewed on KMSP TV Fox 9 Morning News in Minneapolis


Anne Deeter Gallaher, co-author of Women in High Gear, is interviewed on KMSP TV Fox 9 Morning News in Minneapolis with anchors Tom Butler and Alix
Kendall. On September 24, Anne talks about On-Rampers, social media, the importance of mentors, and advocates. She is the keynote for the National Association of Women Business Owners Minnesota.

The Luckiest Intern in the World

Women in High Gear Book SigningAs the current intern working for the Deeter Gallaher Group, I have truly been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Twenty four years old and just recently graduated from my dietetic internship program. I must admit that if you had asked me a year ago, I would never have imagined that I would be working in a PR/marketing/social media firm.

My field, after all, is nutrition and dietetics. However, a desire to someday own my own private practice led me to think outside of the box and reach out to Anne Deeter Gallaher–an idea for which I am now patting myself on the back. I could not have asked for a better place to learn the ins and outs of business, marketing, and the power of social media.

Anne Deeter Gallaher is quite a remarkable woman. Having grown up in the same neighborhood as the Gallaher family, I have been lucky enough to know Anne for years; and until recently, observed from afar as her self-started company, the Deeter Gallaher Group, quickly became more and more successful, attracting the attention of many business advocacy groups, local news outlets, and thousands of social media followers. So, when I realized that I needed some business and marketing experience, I knew who was at the top of my list to ask.

During my time with the Deeter Gallaher Group, I have had the opportunity to help Anne market her new book, Women in High Gear, co-authored with Amy D. Howell. This included accompanying her to a Harrisburg Business Women meeting where she spoke to an incredible group of go-getter women, sharing her own inspiring story. I was able to capture a lot of her speech on video, and have since shared it on the WiHG YouTube channel so that anyone can watch and benefit from her story.

If you want proof of Anne’s social media influence, look no further than the brilliant and creative introduction delivered by Kathy Snavely, entrepreneur and member of Harrisburg Business Women. Kathy introduced Anne “by the numbers” and demonstrated her vast social reach.

Anne shared a story on what began as a Twitter connection soon blossomed into a real-life friendship with her co-author, Amy D. Howell, of Howell Marketing Strategies. Before long, these two brilliant business minds realized that they had a wealth of experience to share with the next generation of business-minded women (and men). Thus, the idea for Women in High Gear began to take root. Watch the evolution of their journey to publication here:

Toward the end of the meeting, Anne spoke directly to my generation, to the twenty somethings and thirty somethings that are just beginning their high gear journeys. She also shares her advice for on-ramping, a term describing re-entering the workforce after off-ramping for professional development, caregiving, or raising children.

To anyone who has big dreams but also big doubts, I encourage you to not only watch these videos, but to read Women in High Gear. Speaking for my own, fresh-out-of-college generation, jumping into the real world is scary, and the prospect of starting your own business is even scarier. However, in the words of a young entrepreneur from the Harrisburg Business Women, What’s the worst that could happen? You fail. So what? You pick yourself back up and you keep going. I have to admit that the prospect of failing still terrifies me, but to borrow some wisdom from Women in High Gear, “If you don’t fail sometimes, you don’t learn.”

This book is filled with tried-and-tested advice from two women who did not let doubts and worries hold them back. Anne and Amy share their triumphs and their setbacks as they persevered to achieve what they have today.
They know you are hesitant. They know you are worried. They know that the very thought of leaving the known, safe, and secure makes you uncomfortable. With ingenuity, honesty, a little humor, and a lot of class, Anne and Amy will guide you forward. They will inspire you to push yourself. After all, “Getting uncomfortable is the best thing you can do to reach your next high gear.”

Women in High Gear available on Amazon.com

Susquehanna Style Reviews Women in High Gear


By Keely Childers Heany
“Women in High Gear: A guide for entrepreneurs, on-rampers and aspiring executives,” co-authored by social media, PR and marketing maven, Anne Deeter Gallaher of the Deeter Gallaher Group in Mechanicsburg, is a quick read full of highlighter-worthy advice for women at any stage in their career. She and co-author, Amy Howell, take nuggets from CEOs of big businesses like FedEx and Ford and turn them into real life examples, principles and words to work by. “Women in high gear don’t keep score, but they do know that helping people reach their goals comes full circle. [It’s about] the ability and knowledge to connect the dots. Women in high gear are committed to self improvement and eager for the next opportunity.” Amy and Anne also divulge nine tips for developing “emotional resilience” whether you’re 20-something and need to learn when to hold your tongue, a 30-something who needs to get over not being liked, or 40-something and ready to coach others into high gear. More advice includes “rebounding from roadblocks” and “10 tips to shift into high gear.”
Join the conversation using the hashtag #WIHG on Twitter and Instagram. Learn more and order a copy at: WomenInHighGear.com