The following is an excerpt of You Buy the Peanut Butter, I’ll Get the Bread: The Absolutely True Adventures of Best Friends in Business.
Chapter 7: Being Women in Business
The roles that men and women occupy in business are incessantly evolving. And so are the opinions about which roles women should play and how they should handle business situations. The roles women play around the world and throughout the country are so different. A “true southern” woman seems quite different from a northern woman but in many ways we are all the same. Kirsten and I have been friends for nearly two decades and oftentimes the more differences we appear to have the more similarities we actually have.
I know that sounds so to the contrary, but it is so true. I think many of our core values from our parents are the same. And today we still believe in the same philosophy—work hard, trust in family and keep God in your life. We have always sought to be professional, which is a characteristic for both men and women—but the one thing that Kirsten and I truly were always on the same page about was that we weren’t trying to be men in business, but good businesswomen. We embraced our sensitive, compassionate and feminine sides. We always tried to mix good sound business practices with our woman’s intuition.
In fact, when we haven’t listened to our intuition or that inner voice, we’ve fallen short and inevitably something has gone awry.
Many times when we meet prospective clients, we have an initial gut reaction about whether they’ll be difficult to work with or not. Initially, when we started our company, we took a few too many jobs because we felt we needed the business. We should have said no more often, but I was thinking of the bottom line. Kirsten “always” knew when a client would not suit us well. Today, we can somewhat pick and choose. There is not a situation when we don’t see the writing on the wall. One example is a nonprofit we were working with for several years—from the first moment I met their new director, I knew that this would be our last year. After the initial meeting, I came back to the office and told Kirsten: “She doesn’t like me, us—Noelle-Elaine—and we will not be working on this account much longer.”