This year, as the seasons change and we enjoy fall, I’ve launched my FALL BACK TO READING SERIES. The series will feature two dozen leadership and marketing experts, who will share their inspiration in both fiction and nonfiction, and hopefully, provide the impetus to read more. To quote New York Times Bestselling author Kristin Harmel, “If you give a person a book, you give him the world.” For today’s post, I’d like to introduce Leanne M. Dzubinski.
Leanne M. Dzubinski is professor of leadership and director of the Beeson International Center at Asbury Theological Seminary. She has published many scholarly articles on women in leadership along with practitioner articles in Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. Her books include Women in the Mission of the Church: Their Opportunities and Obstacles throughout Christian History; Playing by the Rules: How Women Lead in Evangelical Mission Organizations; and most recently Glass Walls: Shattering the Six Gender Bias Barriers Still Holding Women Back at Work.
QUESTION: Which three business books have made the biggest impact on your career?
LEANNE M. DZUBINSKI: Here are my three:
One would be Ann Crittenden’s If You’ve Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything. For many women who juggle paid work and childrearing, whether simultaneously or sequentially, it can feel like the energy we invest at home detracts from progress at work. Crittenden flips that message on its head and says that all the skills women develop at home make them stronger leaders at work.
Next is Sex and the Office by Kim Elsesser. She tackles head-on the worries about romance and sex in the workplace. Setting up a "glass partition" to keep men and women separate may seem logical, but really, it just limits women’s opportunities because they’re excluded from networks, mentoring, and access to crucial organizational information.
Last, I just stumbled across Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. It’s old but offers good basic principles about how to bring change. In my work on gender bias, the big question that people always ask is “"How do we change things?" The authors lay out a simple three-pronged approach that is memorable and actionable for any type of change we want to create at work.
QUESTION: Who is your favorite author, and why?
LEANNE M. DZUBINSKI: At the risk of sounding snarky, it’s the one I'm reading when asked that question! Seriously, though, there are so many good authors and good books I wouldn’t know how to pick a favorite. If the author I’m reading is addressing a topic I’m interested in and writes well, then they’re my current favorite. That happens over and over as I read.
QUESTION: What book did you read in high school or college that, to this day, you still remember vividly, and why?
LEANNE M. DZUBINSKI: In tenth grade, my English teacher had me read Native Son by Richard Wright. It wasn’t a class assignment, just something she gave me to do. The writing was compelling, the story was riveting, and the events horrifying. It gave me a clear exposure to racial injustice in American society. Looking back, I’m so grateful that she had the courage to assign me a challenging book to expand my understanding and imagination.
QUESTION: Do you intersperse fiction with your business reading? If yes, what was the last work of fiction that you read, and what caught your attention about it?
LEANNE M. DZUBINSKI: Absolutely! I love reading fiction. It expands my horizon and my imagination; it helps me develop empathy for others who are not like me; and a good story can lift me out of any kind of emotional distress. I just finished Steeltown Magnolia by Melissa Miller. Miller is prolific, and most of her books have a strong female lead who deals with tangled, difficult situations at work as well as whatever is happening in her personal life.
SHARE THIS: Fiction expands my horizon and my imagination - and helps me develop empathy for others who are not like me. ~Leanne M. Dzubinski #Reading #DebbieLaskeysBlog
QUESTION: If you created a nonprofit organization to promote reading to children and young adults, what would you name it, and why?
LEANNE M. DZUBINSKI: Read for Life.
Reading is life-giving and a wonderful lifelong practice. Reading helps kids succeed in every other subject at school. Reading develops imagination and empathy. Reading transports the reader to other worlds and other times. Reading provides an escape when stress mounts up. Reading is perhaps the most fundamental skill people need to succeed in life. If we can get young people to love reading, we’ll do them a lifelong favor!
SHARE THIS: Reading is a wonderful lifelong practice...it is perhaps the most fundamental skill people need to succeed in life. ~Leanne M. Dzubinski #Reading #DebbieLaskeysBlog
My gratitude to Leanne for participating in this year’s fall back to reading series and for sharing her inspiring recommendations!
A quick note, I was introduced to Leanne by Amy Diehl, a gender equity researcher, speaker, and consultant who has appeared several times here on my blog. Amy and Leanne co-wrote a book published in June 2023, and I highly recommend you check it out. The book is entitled, "Glass Walls: Shattering the Six Gender Bias Barriers Still Holding Women Back at Work."
Image Credit: George Pagan III via Unsplash.
Connect with Leanne at these links:
To learn more from Leanne and Amy on workforce gender bias, check out this joint interview: