When Women Lead…..

When Women Lead…..

Photo credit: Janet Donovan

“I wrote this book mostly during the pandemic and my husband was very engaged. He would read chapters at dinner every night. I actually think writing this book during the pandemic was an amazing gift because the world was a dark and scary place. I got to interview these amazing women  every afternoon after I got off TV and that was just really inspiring. And then I got to go and talk to my kids about it, so I got to tell them I’ve interviewed this amazing woman.” Julia Boorstin, author of When Women Lead.

Hollywood on the Potomac sat down with Julia prior to a book launch at the home of Juleanna Glover and Christopher Reiter.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Julia Boorstin

About the author:

Julia Boorstin is CNBC’s Senior Media & Tech Correspondent and has been an on-air reporter for the network since 2006. She also plays a central role on CNBC’s bicoastal tech-focused program “TechCheck” delivering reporting, analysis, and CEO interviews with a focus on social media and the intersection of media and technology. In 2013, Boorstin created and launched the CNBC Disruptor 50, an annual list she oversees, highlighting private companies transforming the economy and challenging companies in established industries. She also helped launch the network’s ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative covering the people and companies closing gender and diversity gaps. A graduate of Princeton University, she has been a reporter for Fortune magazine, as well as a contributor to CNN and CNN Headline News. She also interned for Vice President Gore’s domestic policy office. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

“The fact that we’re here in Washington DC is very relevant to me. I grew up in Los Angeles, but I spent every summer visiting my grandparents. I would come for several weeks at a time and my grandfather Daniel Boorstin (former Librarian of Congress) and grandmother Ruth who edited his books and he wrote dozens of books.  I think I very much was inspired to major in history at Princeton because of that. I sort of grew up with this model of every morning when I came down for breakfast in their house, he would be coming up the stairs from his office and every morning before breakfast he would write for at least two hours. So he would wake up very early and write, then we would have breakfast, and then he’d drive off to the Library of Congress. He thought it was very important to document things and from his perspective, history was all not just about the famous leaders, but also about social and cultural trends. So that was very much an inspiration for me and it very much ties into my interest in writing. I always felt like I had to write a book. Everyone in my family has written books. My parents are both writers as well and so  I always knew I wanted to write a book. And then when I found this topic, I thought, this is the story I want to write. And I think it’s particularly important to memorialize these female leaders because there is an entirely new model of leadership.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Julia Boorstin

“As a reporter at CNBC, I was meeting and interviewing these amazing women who were so inspiring to me. They look like women of all ages of all backgrounds, races, ethnicity, sexual orientations. They look nothing like those stereotypes. There’s the woman who immigrated from India to go to grad school in the United States and like narrowly escaped dying in an avalanche. And she used that as inspiration to create a water safety company here in the United States. Or the woman who was in the Air Force. She was an Air Force pilot and had gone to the US Air Force Academy and faced all sorts of discrimination and used that to navigate Silicon Valley where she found that the ratios and discrimination was even worse. So I was just seeing these amazing women and just the wide variety, not only of stories, but of ways in which they were leading. And I thought that this is important to document these other approaches and to try to change those archetypes so everyone can understand that we all have these leadership characteristics in ourselves that are valuable, but also that that men should also be emulating these women.”

“People are always searching for patterns. One reason I’m optimistic is because I think the leadership characteristics that women are more likely to demonstrate, whether it’s leading with empathy or showing vulnerability or practicing gratitude, are all things that are particularly valuable right now. Post pandemic, managing people who are working from home, connecting with younger workers who might be burnt out and feel frustrated, there are so many challenges right now that the old fashioned way of leading is just not gonna work,”

While we were interviewing Julia, guests dined on Sushi, dumplings and pizza while gearing up for their own questions for the Q and A which was to follow. Guests covered the spectrum from college friends to reporters from a wide swarth of Washington media.

“My first job out of college I was a reporter at Fortune magazine and that was rough. They were all men. The entry level people is equal men and women. But the higher and higher up you got up the totem pole, the more it was dominated by men and that was just a real wake up call. My mother was wrong. The world is incredibly male dominated. And furthermore, all the people we were interviewing the CEOs at Fortune 500 companies – males. We are not living in equitable world.”

“I have two boys who are eight and 11. I’m trying to imprint on them these images of powerful, successful women.”