Prepare to change the way you see your colleagues-and yourself
In Our Separate Ways, authors Ella Bell and Stella Nkomo take an unflinching look at the surprising differences between black and white women's trials and triumphs on their way up the executive ladder. Based on groundbreaking research that spanned eight years, Our Separate Ways compares and contrasts the experiences of 120 black and white female managers in the American business arena. In-depth histories bring to life the women's powerful and often difficult journeys from childhood to professional success, highlighting the roles that gender, race, and class played in their development.
Although successful professional women come from widely diverse family backgrounds, educational experiences, and community values, they share a common assumption upon entering the workforce: "I have a chance." Along the way, however, they discover that people question their authority, challenge their intelligence, and discount their ideas. And while gender is a common denominator among these women, race and class are often wedges between them.
In Our Separate Ways, you will find candid discussions about stereotypes, learn how black women's early experiences affect their attitudes in the business world, become aware of how white women have-perhaps unwittingly-aligned themselves more often with white men than with black women, and see ways that our country continues to come to terms with diversity in all of its dimensions.
Whether you are a human resources director wondering why you're having trouble retaining black women, a white female manager considering the role of race in your office, or a black female manager searching for perspective, you will find fresh insights about how black and white women's struggles differ and encounter provocative ideas for creating a better workplace environment for everyone.
Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell is the Leon E. Williams Visiting Professor of Business Administration at the Tuck School of Business. Stella M. Nkomo is a Professor of Business Leadership at the University of South Africa Graduate School of Business Leadership.