For the remainder of March, Americans will be celebrating and honoring women and their various impactful journeys. With so much media scrutiny regarding what it means to be an empowering woman, celebrities are arming themselves with their opinions and battling it out across social media for our entertainment. International Women’s Day was no different. With Kim Kardashian’s naked proclamation and the grade A-listers speaking out, it had really taken attention away from the true Glam-bitions behind the struggle for women who fight for recognition.
With more than 9 million women who own businesses in the U.S., it is important to understand how the tides are changing for women seeking respect, influence, and authority in the workplace.
Fearless CEO, entrepreneur, and author of the recent release, Surviving is Just the Beginning!, weighs in the change and provides insight for us glamorous, powerhouse leading ladies…
New Theory: Tell us about your book, Unstoppable…Surviving is Just the Beginning!
Gigi Stetler: Unstoppable is a searing memoir detailing a challenging life full of upheavals and emotions. This startling nonfiction expose covers a chilling array of crimes and retribution, from neglect and poverty to violence and victim’s rights, Unstoppable makes the case for happy endings even under the most violent and disturbing scenarios. Regardless of what attacks or assaults you have faced, are facing, or will face and regardless of who directs those attacks at you yourself, your parents, friends, colleagues, professors, lovers, teachers, competition, your own children, your own past, your own present, or your own future. This book is an invitation to make your own, personal commitment to not only survive, but to thrive!
NT: What prompted you to write it?
GS: I wrote Unstoppable: Surviving is Just the Beginning to inspire others. Whenever you think you’ve had a bad day, and you can’t go on, my hope is that reading this book will help you break through any barriers and find your inner strength to move forward.
NT: What is it like to be the only woman in a masculine business, and how do females overcome related obstacles?
GS: Although it is not easy being the only women in the industry, I love it. It is essential for women to truly understand their product and their industry and be prepared to be challenged. Stay focused on your goal and you will achieve it. And remember, if you’re afraid to fail, you are creating a debilitating hurdle that can hinder success.
NT: How can women use gender bias to their advantage?
GS: Women can use gender bias to their advantage by staying above the fray. Therefore, instead of taking offense to gender stereotypes, I try to laugh it off. I’ve discovered that the more I laugh at the sexist comments, the stupider people feel, and I end up charging the right amount (or sometimes more). So this ‘warrior’ mentality ends up lining my pockets, giving the phrase ‘laughing all the way to the bank’ a whole new meaning. It’s important to note that I don’t think sexist behavior is acceptable but it can teach you to keep your eye on the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff. I always keep my game face on and remind myself: it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.
NT: Why will playing the ‘Victim Card’ only slow you down in the long run?
GS: I have always greeted life as a warrior and not a victim because playing the “Victim Card” will only slow you down. Unfortunately, women still need to prove themselves while working in certain industries.
NT: How can women break down more barriers in other male-dominated industries?
GS: To break down more barriers, always fight for what is right, but only fight the battles that you can win, or are worth winning. As women, we may have to work twice as hard for half as much but don’t let that put out your fire. Position yourself in the driver’ seat and everyone else will be getting half as much as you are when you become unstoppable.
NT: Who are some of the women today you feel are great examples of leaders?
GS: One of my great heroes is Nancy Reagan. I really believe she ran the White House and it was her strength that gave Ronald the ambition to run for President. Her determination and courage to fight for causes that were important to her inspired a generation and will continue to inspire America.
NT: How do you feel the country is handing Hilary Clinton as a presidential candidate? Do you feel like she is being treated fairly considering the circumstances?
GS: Hillary has received some harsh criticism from all angles of the country. While some of this criticism is deserved, it’s important to notice that she’s still dominating the race. Clinton has not broken down and she hasn’t given in; that shows America what she’s made of.
NT: Do you feel like women can “have it all”?
GS: Most Women do have it all, but unfortunately, they don’t know it. If you want it all, you should have it and be confident enough to make it happen.
NT: What is your response to women who choose to focus on family and motherhood over a potential prosperous career? Do you feel it set women or presents a bad message as a whole?
GS: I think it is a woman’s choice, whether they want to focus on family and motherhood over a potential prosperous career. I admire all choices, just make sure it is your choice. Don’t sacrifice your life or career for anyone but yourself or you will regret it later in life.
NT: What is your number one piece of advice for all women as they face gender-related obstacles in their careers and beyond?
GS: My best advice is to never give up or give in and always maintain your passion. Passion is a key element when it comes to succeeding in business and in life. Always work to “learn,” don’t work to “earn,” and you will constantly grow and develop throughout your career.
Gigi Stetler is the author of Unstoppable! Surviving is Just the Beginning. As accomplished businesswoman and entrepreneur, she is the owner of RV Sales of Broward in South Florida. Connect with her at www.gigistetler.com.