Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose

by Melanne Verveer, Kim Azzarelli, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In ignited a conversation about women and their careers, and resonated with millions of readers. Fast Forward, by two women leaders with experience and access throughout corporate America and around the world, takes the next step. Through interviews with a network of over fifty trailblazing women, it shows women how to accelerate their growing economic power and combine it with purpose to create success and meaning in their lives while building a better world.

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544527195
  • ISBN-10: 0544527194
  • Pages: 256
  • Publication Date: 10/06/2015
  • Carton Quantity: 12

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About the Book
About the Authors
Excerpts
Reviews
  • About the Book

    Learn how some of the world’s most inspiring women are using their growing economic power to create success and meaning in their lives while building a better world. . . and how you can too. 

     

    Important conversations about leaning in, work/life balance and empowering women and girls around the world have energized a generation of women. Fast Forward, by two women leaders whose experience spans corporate America, public service, and global diplomacy, takes the next step. Through interviews with a network of more than seventy trailblazing women, Fast Forward shows women how to accelerate their growing economic power and combine it with purpose to find both success and meaning in their lives. 

     

    Companies, countries, and organizations the world over are waking up to today’s new reality. Women control the lion’s share of purchasing power and are increasingly essential to competitiveness. The age of women’s transformative economic influence has finally arrived, and women are using their power for purpose, redefining what power and success mean in the process. Through clear, practical advice and personal stories of women around the world — including Hillary Clinton, Geena Davis, Christine Lagarde, and Diane von Furstenberg — Fast Forward shows every woman how to know her power, find her purpose, and connect with others to achieve her life’s goals. 

    www.senecawomen.com

     

    Advance praise for Fast Forward: 

     

    "Fast Forward shows us how leaders at every level can use their power and purpose to help more and more women achieve their dreams for a better life." 

    Hillary Rodham Clinton 

     

     

    "We are all capable of great things, even world-changing things, if we take inspiration from others and join together to get it done. We are witnessing an awakening to the justice of civil rights for women in our time. You can feel it is imminent, and it will change the world when it is accomplished. Here are stories of a few women who have dared to imagine the day, and worked to make it happen. Let them inspire you." 

    —Meryl Streep, actor and activist

     

    “A life filled with purpose is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves - and to others. Fast Forward shows women how to lead lives of purpose and meaning, so that they, and our world, can thrive.” 

    —Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief, Huffington Post 

     

     

    “As I have travelled the world, I've seen the incredible strength and resilience of women everywhere, working at every level. If there was ever a doubt that our moment is now, this book dispels it. Fast Forward shows every woman how she can empower herself and her community, and why all of us will be better for it. Women are the growing force for progress in the 21st century.” 

    —Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State 

     

     

    "What is life without a sense of purpose? Any woman who's asked herself this question must read Fast Forward, filled with inspiring stories of women who've achieved power in their own lives and used it to make a difference for others, especially other women and girls." 

    —Maria Shriver, author and journalist 

     

     

    "The stories in this inspirational book serve as a powerful reminder that, with the right support, women can become an unstoppable force in their communities and economies. It is a rousing call to action for anyone who cares about creating a more equal world. Unleashing the full potential of women is not an option - it is an imperative." 

    —Cherie Blair, founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women 

     

     

    "I love this book. It tells the stories of ingenious women who took the circumstances around them and created successful companies and purpose in their lives, while at the same time recognizing their own power to lift other women up, supporting both economic growth and social progress all over the world. It's an inspiring wake-up call to action, and once you're fired up, longing to find your own power and potential, it gives you a tool kit of information as to how you can begin. Brilliant." 

    Sally Field, actor and activist 

     

     

    "Fast Forward gives all of us hope through the inspiring examples of pioneering women in global leadership, public service, and the corporate world - a path forged by Melanne Verveer since she helped Hillary Clinton transform the concept of women's rights in Beijing in 1995. Verveer and co-author Kim Azzarelli share their practical experience with new insights into how we can all lean even further forward. A must read for women - and men - who believe strong, educated women and girls are the key to advancing societies." 

    —Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, NBC News 

     

     

    “The stories of the remarkable women chronicled in Fast Forward are both inspiring and instructive, making it must-read for anyone interested in leading successfully with purpose in the 21st century. Fast Forward is also a reminder that progress and gender parity are inextricably linked and that if we want a society that operates at its best, we have to work for both.” 

    —Ajay Banga, CEO, MasterCard 

     

     

    “In Fast Forward, we are reminded why Melanne Verveer and Kim Azzarelli are two leading 'sheroes' of the global women’s movement. The book is chock-full of wise and clever advice for women and men committed to empowering women to reach their full potential. You will be inspired by their profiles of determined women of resilience, grit and passion to change the world. Brava!” 

    —Darren Walker, president, Ford Foundation 

     

     

    “A durable contribution to the continued efforts to effect change for women.” 

    —Kirkus Reviews 

     

     

    “[An] empowering work about women’s valuable contributions to the global economy…An inspiring foreword by Hillary Clinton bolsters the authors’ message that women, working together, can accomplish anything.” 

    —Publishers Weekly 

     

     

     

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts
    A substantial cohort of women has reached the upper echelons of government, business, and civil society. Leaders like Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde, and Melinda Gates are using their high visibility to draw attention to the importance of women and girls in today’s global economy and development. Women CEOs of DuPont, IBM, Xerox, PepsiCo, Sam’s Club, Campbell Soup, and General Motors, to name a few, oversee global companies collectively worth billions of dollars. Women presidents and prime ministers in countries including Germany, Denmark, South Korea, Chile, and Brazil are modeling female leadership and exercising hard power in the global arena. Media stars like Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, and Tina Brown are shaping the discourse around women and power, using their reach to tell women’s stories. High-profile business leaders like Diane von Furstenberg and Sheryl Sandberg have made women a central focus of their leadership, using their positions to empower other women. At the same time, women have also entered middle management in large numbers, where they are leveraging their influence and expertise to make the case for women and girls. At the base of the pyramid, too, women are creating inclusive networks that are yielding enormous transformation. 

     

    Obstacles to unleashing the potential of women, however, still stand in our way. They range from discrimination to widespread violence against women to the design flaws in the system that make it difficult for women to reconcile today’s economic realities with caregiving and other responsibilities. We must continue to work to eradicate these injustices and secure fundamental human rights for women. 

    But an undeniable momentum is building, as more women ascend to leadership and an increasing number of women and men recognize women’s potential to fast-forward us to a better world. We stand today on the cusp of a global power shift, one that has the potential to redefine the way we work and live. What follows is an explanation of what this unprecedented power shift could mean for each of us, and for our global community. 

     

    Through the stories and wisdom of women and men we know and admire, hailing from diverse industries, nations, and socioeconomic strata, we show how women’s growing economic power is creating social progress. This book lays out the many ways in which women drive the economy — as managers, employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers — and how this is changing the way we do business, define success, and create social impact. You will see how these women are using their power to drive their purpose, building businesses that give back, leveraging resources to empower other women, and engaging in skillsbased volunteerism and philanthropy. This is a reference book for those who want to master and disseminate the data on the business case for women, and a how-to manual for those who want to harness their own power and combine it with purpose. To that end, we have included in the appendices a toolkit with some practical advice as well as selected resources that can help you continue on your personal journey. More advice and resources can be found at www.senecawomen.com. 

     

    Our collective experience spans more than fifty years and one hundred countries. We’ve met thousands of women, from British parliamentarians to Afghan peace activists, from the most glamorous cities in the world to war-torn villages. We have met with American combat veterans and women who serve in UN peacekeeping missions, with Supreme Court justices and survivors of brutal acid attacks. And we have found that while the stories have a thousand faces, in the end it is the same story being told over and over again. It’s the story of women and their aspirations for themselves, for their families, and for their communities. It’s the story of how, when given the opportunity, women can fastforward us to the world we all want to see. This is the story we knew we wanted to share. 

     

    What we have learned from our research, from our work, and from speaking to these thousands of women, including more than seventy female leaders and some male champions interviewed for this book, is that advancing and investing in women and girls can unlock the potential of countries, companies, and communities. Doing so can also unlock the potential of individual women too, beginning with the recognition of our own power and potential to lift one another up. 

     

    In fact, change always starts with individuals — in this case, people who found their purpose in advancing women and girls. And in speaking to these women and men who share our purpose, we have found that despite the diversity of our experiences, one simple approach holds constant. It’s an approach that can also ignite your own potential, transforming the way you think about your life and work. It can be described in three simple steps: 

     

    • Know your power. 

    • Find your purpose. 

    • Connect with others. 

     

    Whether you work in the nonprofit world, log hours as a corporate lawyer, educate the next generation as a teacher, run a business, or raise children full-time — whatever your calling — this approach results in success. It brings success the way we’re defining it: a success that includes not only personal achievement but also meaning, impact, and fulfillment. 

     

    As you will see, change often begins with a shift in perspective in one individual, which then ripples through her own life, organization, community, and beyond. And just as women are coming to embrace their own power to effect change, men are also expanding their perspectives, to understand that women are true partners in global progress. 

     

    Since 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, where more than three hundred participants gathered for the first women’s rights convention in the United States, women and men have advocated for women’s equal participation. The progress of history, a wealth of new, evidence-based research, and the imperatives of growth have lent stunning velocity to women’s advancement in just the past few years. What follows is what that unprecedented power shift could mean for countries, companies, and communities, and what it can mean for you. 

  • Reviews

    “A durable contribution to the continued efforts to effect change for women.” Kirkus 

     

    “We are all capable of great things, even world-changing things, if we take inspiration from others and join together to get it done. We are witnessing an awakening to the justice of civil rights for women in our time. You can feel it is imminent, and it will change the world when it is accomplished. Here are stories of a few women who have dared to imagine the day, and worked to make it happen. Let them inspire you.” 

    —Meryl Streep 

     

    “A life filled with purpose is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves — and to others. Fast Forward shows women how to lead lives of purpose and meaning, so that they, and our world, can thrive.” 

    —Arianna Huffington 

     

    “As I have travelled the world, I’ve seen incredible strength and resilience of women everywhere, working at every level. If there was ever a doubt that our moment is now, this book dispels it. Fast Forward shows every woman how she can empower herself and her community, and why all of us will be better for it. Women are the growing force for progress in the 21st century.” 

    —Madeleine Albright

    “What is life without a sense of purpose? Any woman who’s asked herself this question must read Fast Forward, filled with inspiring stories of women who’ve achieved power in their own lives and used it to make a difference for others, especially other women and girls.” 

    —Maria Shriver 

     

    “The stories in this inspirational book serve as a powerful reminder that, with the right support, women can become an unstoppable force in their communities and economies. It is a rousing call to action for anyone who cares about creating a more equal world. Unleashing the full potential of women is not an option – it is an imperative.” 

    —Cherie Blair, founder, Cherie Blair for Women 

     

    “I love this book. It tells the stories of ingenious women who took the circumstances around them and created successful companies and purpose in their lives, while at the same time recognizing their own power to lift other women up, supporting both economic growth and social progress all over the world. It’s an inspiring wake-up call to action, and once you’re fired up, longing to find your own power and potential, it gives you a tool kit of information as to how you can begin. Brilliant.” 

    —Sally Field 

     

    Fast Forward gives all of us hope through the inspiring examples of pioneering women in global leadership, public service, and the corporate world — a path forged by Melanne Verveer since she helped Hillary Clinton transform the concept of women's rights in Beijing in 1995. Verveer and co-author Kim Azzarelli share their practical experience with new insights into how we can all lean even further forward. A must read for women — and men — who believe strong, educated women and girls are the key to advancing societies.” 

    —Andrea Mitchell, NBC News

     

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