On my own and under corporate umbrellas I’ve created a wide array of products and services that help top-tier professionals reach their business and personal career goals. With a strong marketing eye, I’ve launched and grown affinity groups, career coaching and recruiting services, publishing divisions, conference management companies and corporate training initiatives in corporate, finance, non-profit and academic arenas. With good humor, no nonsense delivery and a strong ability to educate and motivate, I’ve been a frequent speaker, seminar leader and inspirational voice for women in all work/life ages and stages.
My introduction to issues women face as they balance work and life began when I was a student at the once single-sex Wheaton College. On campus Gloria Steinem trounced the theory that women had to choose between family and career, and proclaimed instead that it was possible to “have it all.” In my early career years I wondered if this was true–when I was writing and presenting training programs at Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG). There I saw few women with families working the more than full-time schedule.
Through a networking connection made on a Vermont chairlift, I then joined Institutional Investor, a company filled with young high achiever women. As I led and created investment conferences, I watched women marry, have children and leave the workforce. Determined not to follow the same path, I decided to test that “have it all” theory. I launched my own marketing firm and juggled assignments for top investment firms, industry associations and corporations with a husband, two daughters and a busy household.
During a brief hiatus from my consulting firm, I helped an Institutional Investor founder create a company that produced custom books, newsletters and conferences sponsored by Wall Street firms. Here I delved into the topic of personal retirement investing and learned how few women were on the path to retirement security. Working closely with the creator of the 401(k), I produced one of the first widely distributed books on the subject, Building Your Nest Egg with Your 401(k).
After returning to my consulting practice I was still focused on the fact that women need to increase their retirement security and find “work that works” through all life stages. This led to a 10-year entrepreneurial venture–a membership organization, job board, career coaching resource and recruiting firm serving current and returning professional women and employers.
9 Lives for Women continues to build on my interest in helping women navigate the many stages of work and life–and find reasonable and creative ways to “have it all”. –Kathryn Sollmann