THE LONG VIEW – A legacy well worth watching, emulating

A few decades ago, women who shared “a word to the wise” with their children could be quickly identified by a single word -– mothers. Today, those same women sharing those same wise words with strangers are part of a growing segment of the American economy – women entrepreneurs. And their climate is thriving.


Opportunities beckon. New connections are being forged. And transportation to work? Forget it. Transportation in much of the country is now a cyber force as close as your fingertips.


A mother who creates a new company advising others about traversing cyberspace can do so without ever lifting her feet from under the desk tucked away in a spare bedroom. Another can take her much-admired flair for entertaining – from choosing and arranging flowers to reviving family recipes for apple crisp or lemon cream pie – and passing those skills along to others. Indeed, some thriving entrepreneurs already are doing it now.


Others stride across a broad and public rainbow – becoming entrepreneurs as successful as Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey. In truth, Oprah’s name really should go first in that pairing. She is widely recognized as the most successful female entrepreneur in the country. Not only can she make a star out of an unknown comedian, she also can boost a book into best-sellerdom on the strength of one woman’s opinion. Her own.


That’s a legacy worth watching and emulating when other women get the chance.


“Women entrepreneurs make excellent leaders,” declare the supportive voices that make up the magazine Ladies Who Lunch, which addresses the promise and priorities of this new segment of American business. “They’re passionate and driven, inspiring others with their enthusiasm, intelligence and determination.”


Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Almost like earlier generations’ summaries of the roles assigned to mothers.


Ladies Who Lunch focuses, too, on traits that tailor women for entrepreneurial jobs. Topping the list is their capability as good listeners.


“Every truly great leader listens more than she talks,” these astute observers declare, noting this attribute makes customers feel “important and comfortable” and also taps into “a terrific source of first-hand feedback.”


Pair that key quality of good listening with other communications skills and a woman entrepreneur is well on her way to success. If you doubt it, just take a few minutes someday to sit down before the television screen and really study what you see and hear from Oprah Winfrey.


Watch her talk. But, even more, watch her listen. And watch her connect authentically with you – the warm tone of voice, the eye contact and the relaxed rhythm of speech. It’s entrepreneurial talent at work.


And it’s a promising new world for working women.


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