Solving for X in the Y Domain

Increasingly, albeit in small numbers, women are overcoming the forces that have prevented qualified women from entering the executive suites of organizations. However, very little is known about the strategies for overcoming gendered obstacles and reaching senior executive roles, particularly in male-dominated fields.

In Solving for X in the Y Domain, sixteen women who are leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) describe their experiences with overcoming gender-based barriers to reaching senior-level leadership positions, and they share these strategies and skills with other aspiring women. This study adds a new dimension to the body of knowledge by describing women’s strategies, behaviors, and skills for overcoming gender bias and backlash, with the differentiating aspect of this study being a focus on women who have empowered themselves to seek and to find strategies and behaviors that enabled them to surmount the specific obstacles they encountered. Their detailed accounts incorporate extensive layers of situational facts as well as their feelings, impressions, perceptions, thoughts, and reactions. Women leaders’ experiences in the use of buffering behaviors—self-management, impression management, political skill, and performance—provide a template of behaviors to successfully mitigate the effects of gender-based barriers.

These inspiring professional women did not give up, they did not quit, and they were tenacious in the face of disheartening and demoralizing situations. On occasion they become discouraged, angry, incensed, and frustrated. However, they continued to direct their energies and their intellects toward solving for X in the Y domain.

To purchase Gae's book, please click here.

Executive Coaching: Practices and Perspectives

Mark and Paul, recently promoted to senior executive positions, sit alone in their respective offices a continent apart, similarly troubled, frustrated, and isolated. Both produced impressive results for their organizations and were promoted to lead major divisions with significantly broader spans of control and increased fiscal responsibilities. However, they—like countless other executives—are struggling with a growing sense of isolation that seems to parallel their upward movement in the organization. To these isolated executives, people appear more reluctant to share information, staff members seem less forthcoming about emerging issues, department heads don’t engage as openly in dialogue, and colleagues have distanced themselves.

During my seven years as vice president of organizational development for an international luxury hotel company, I was asked by executives all over the world to explain this shared experience of executive isolation. These executives reported that it really is lonely at the top, and they often struggled to make sense of their loneliness.

Click to read more.


"An ability to embrace new ideas . routinely challenge old ones, and live with paradox are the premier traits of effective leaders." Tom Peters