I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing someone I have known for over a decade. Bethany Williams has been a powerful force for change in the world of technology and healthcare. She is a consultant, Fortune 500 strategist, best-selling author, professional speaker, and senior IT executive in a field largely dominated by men. She learned the art of business survival as a single working mother. Widowed at a young age, she put herself through college and secured top level positions in some of the nation’s leading organizations (GE, IDX, Perot Systems Corporation, and PwC).
I met Bethany when we both were working with Perot Systems Corporation and dealt with the company’s acquisition by Dell. In our interview and in her article below, Bethany discusses how differently her male colleagues react and are treated in the workplace as opposed to their female counterparts. Bethany is a woman that has taken charge of her own destiny and inspired countless others – myself include – to take command of their careers and demand fair and ethical treatment for all women in business. Get ready to be empowered and inspired.
Bethany, why did you start writing books? You were working as an executive and had 3 kids, surely you had enough to do?
Yes, I did have plenty to do. I was working for a software company that made electronic health records. They announced that they would be selling the company to GE. The women in the company were petrified. The men were not worried. They had a “I was looking for a job when I found this one” attitude. I couldn’t get to all the women in the company that needed advice and coaching, so I wrote the advice down in a Word document that was picked up by a publisher and published.
What is the biggest obstacle that gets in the way of women succeeding from your perspective?
Part of why I’m so passionate about writing books is that I find in the thousands of women I’ve talked to- – – we stand in our own way. Often our faulty belief systems hold us back.
Tell me more about these faulty belief systems.
I’ve documented 6 such faulty belief systems in my next book titled ‘3 days to a raise’ that will launch later this year. Sometimes we believe that if we fail, our career is over. In that case, we don’t take risks and we take the gentle easy path. That path doesn’t lead to success or more pay. That’s just one example, I’ll walk through several in my next book.
You are taking a stand on the pay gap and fighting for equal pay. Why is this a passion of yours?
There are statistics that say women make 22-30 % less than their male counterparts for doing the same job with the same qualifications. I believe the numbers are much higher. Oftentimes I find that women are making 100-300% BELOW their counterparts. I’m passionate about moving the needle and I still believe that I can change the world, one woman at a time.
Wow, 100%-300% below their value? That’s incredible.
Yes, no doubt. I’ve coached numerous women into more than doubling and tripling their pay. It is amazing to watch them on their journey. One woman called me the day she got her first increased paycheck. It was so fulfilling to hear the excitement in her voice.
My Brand YOU book is about branding yourself in a tough market. It sells internationally and hit #1 on Amazon the first week of its release. Since we really don’t brand ourselves well, it has been an eye opener for women and men that don’t know how to sell their capabilities.
Your first book, Winning Strategies for women, appeals to what age group?
It crosses several age groups. It applies to women just starting out in their careers as well as to women that get to a spot in their careers where they feel ‘stuck’. It is a ‘get out of the mud’ and break through the barriers kind of book. It is an easy read, and is intended to get you moving into action- – – answering the age old question of ‘why am I not advancing at work’.
You put out a book called CEO of YOU, what is that book about?
CEO of YOU was a follow up to Brand YOU. Once you have created an amazing brand for yourself, what do you do next? That book aimed to answer that question. We put so much effort and energy into a company that could RIF (reduction in force – layoff) us as any moment. We pour our heart and souls into it, yet put little to no effort into ourselves. CEO of YOU is about putting effort into the product and company of YOU. It is about managing your career and earnings like you were a company. It diverts your focus from 100% on your company to 80% on your company and a part of your focus on YOU. It explains how to build the company of you, create passive revenue streams and create a valuable asset in your capabilities and future.
What advice do you have for women in healthcare?
We get busy. We focus on our companies and our families. We find it is too much to try to focus on our careers or put much effort or energy into a ‘plan’. That is why I wrote Live Your Dreams. It is a work life balance book that explains how to put a plan together that slowly moves you into living your dreams. You are in charge of your life and your future. We sit back and let life happen and we think our life and our careers are going to make themselves, and they do not. Just like you manage a project at work, you must ‘manage’ your life in order to get the results and satisfaction that you want to get out of it.
Some additional words of advice for our readers?
You have more power than you give yourself credit. You can negotiate your salary higher, find a new position, change your life, take that much needed or wanted vacation, and create a different reality. I challenge each listener to find their true north, identify the passions in their heart, and create a new reality.
Her most recent book, CEO of YOU, was released in January 2014. It was written to help employees manage their careers and their earnings. Her newest book is on the hot topic of women and pay. It is titled 3 Days to a Raise and will release before the end of 2014. She writes for her popular motivational blog Winning Strategies, read by thousands for motivation and encouragement and is a featured expert on the Plaid for Women website. She is a listed speaker for That-A-Girl Speakers Bureau. She was named one of the top 25 Women to Watch in Dallas by the Dallas Business Journal in 2010, is named as one of the top 100 branding experts to follow on Twitter, and her book Brand YOU hit #1 in Advertising on Amazon the first week of its release. She was chosen to do a TEDx Talk in December of 2013 and continues to press the limits of possibilities for women around the globe.Today she works as a Healthcare Senior Executive in IT, and spends a significant amount of her waking moments living her passion by helping businesses create women friendly workplaces, speaking on the topic of advancing women at work, creating a personal brand to ensure success, work life balance, and closing the pay gap.
Bethany has a speaking history in front of thousands that includes TEDx, Dell, Hitachi Consulting, JP Morgan Chase, Perot Systems Corporation, American College of Healthcare Executives, Alliance in Technology for Women, Women Healthcare Executive Network, and more. For a complete list of Bethany’s work please download her bio here.