Community//

“I want to start a movement to transform the way men and women work together” With Rania H. Anderson

I want to transform the way men and women work together to drive economic prosperity and equality. A straightforward way to do that is to…


I want to transform the way men and women work together to drive economic prosperity and equality. A straightforward way to do that is to constantly ask these four simple questions: Who am I listening to? How similar or different are they to what I think and say? How uncomfortable am i with what I am hearing? What can I do differently? Then, commit to increase the time you openly listen, interact with people who are different from you to at least 50% of the time and take simple actions to encourage the success of people who are not like you.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Rania H. Anderson. Rania is the author of WE: Men, Women, and the Decisive Formula for Winning at Work (Wiley). She is an international speaker, an executive coach, the founder of The Way WoMen Work, the cofounder of a women’s angel investor network, and a committed mentor. Sought after by Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurs and leaders for her practical advice and tangible insights, she transforms the way men and women work, lead and succeed together.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

After I wrote the first career advice book for professional women in emerging economies — Undeterred:The Six Success Habits of Women in Emerging Economies — and began speaking at corporations and conferences around the world, men repeatedly told me how they wanted and needed some guidance on how to work more effectively with women. Their expressed need and my conclusion that women are the most underutilized resource in the the global economy, led me to write WE: Men, Women, and the Decisive Formula for Winning at Work, the first hands-on guide for men and managers who understand that to succeed in the new economy, they will need to recruit, retain and lead more effectively with women.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

I began my career at predecessor banks that became Bank of America. During my tenure I was held a variety of roles many of which I were in areas of the bank with which I had no prior experience. One day, I walked into my manager’s office to tell him about a mistake I had made. As I relayed what had happened, he surprisingly began to smile and his smile got bigger and bigger as I continued to talk. When I finished with a big apology, he responded with “Fantastic! You are making all the right mistakes!” I was completely taken aback and had no idea what he meant. He explained that I had taken action by thinking each step through but somethings happened that I had not anticipated. But that it was ok because I was on the right track and undertook the right course of action; I was thoughtful, decisive and action-oriented and my actions challenged me in the right ways. It wasn’t a problem that it did not work out because the lessons I’d learned were far greater than the “mistake.” We discussed how to get the project back on track and he encouraged me to keep making “the right mistakes.” His guidance and this prevalent mindset at the bank helped me to courageously try new things throughout every phase of my career.


What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I spend most of my time talking to men and managers in corporations about how to be more successful in their careers and businesses by working and leading with women. During an era when so much attention is being placed on men who are sexist or sexually harass women, I share the stories and actions of the many men who don’t see women as competitors in the workplace but rather as equal leaders and collaborators in growing a new, robust, more equal economy.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

I am most inspired by people who remain in history’s shadows — people who come from more difficult circumstances or parts of the world full of strife and limited opportunity who find a path forward, a way to succeed, and a way to make a contribution. For example, women like Marky Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan who were were introduced to me by the movie Hidden Figures. I regularly meet these types of people, especially women, in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

I am an avid reader of thought-provoking business books. I love having paradigms disrupted and seeing the world in a different way than I’d previously thought about it. Malcolm Gladwell is a great example of that type of author. I frequently refer to books like Switch by Chip and Dan Heath by The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander. I am currently reading The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross.

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

I bring to light people and workplace actions that aren’t widely thought about or well-known. In my first book, Undeterred:The Six Success Habits of Women in Emerging Economies I introduced readers to the actions that educated women in emerging economies take to succeed in their careers and businesses. My new book, WE: Men, Women, and the Decisive Formula for Winning at Work is full of examples of men who take the right types of actions with regard to recruiting, retaining and leading with women in the workplace.

My goal is to help people see and learn from what’s going well and from people taking positive action versus perpetuating one-dimensional, inaccurate narratives about the workplace. I believe that spending most of our time analyzing problems gives us a better understanding of the problem, but does not always lead us to solutions. When we study and focus on people succeeding, we succeed.


What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

Do a lot of research on similar books that are already published and be very clear on why the book you want to write is different. What void does it fill? How does it add to the conversation?

Start writing. Write regularly. Write any part of the book you want to write. Initially, don’t worry about transitions or how it all ties together. Just get your thoughts down in the order they come to you. As you gain momentum, it will start to come together.

Begin to work on your platform as a writer. Write for publications. Figure out how you want to be active online through your website, online publications and social media. Participate in online conversations on the topic you want to write about. As an author you will have most of the responsibility for promoting and marketing your own book and you’ll need to figure out how to do that before you finish the book

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want to transform the way men and women work together to drive economic prosperity and equality. A straightforward way to do that is to constantly ask these four simple questions: Who am I listening to? How similar or different are they to what I think and say? How uncomfortable am i with what I am hearing? What can I do differently? Then, commit to increase the time you openly listen, interact with people who are different from you to at least 50% of the time and take simple actions to encourage the success of people who are not like you.


What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

My career has been defined by what people did tell me versus what I was not told. I believe that often we are told many important and helpful things, but we don’t recognize the value of the advice until later on in our careers.

High School: Pick yourself and don’t try so hard to fit in. I was a nerdy, heavy teenager who wore thick glasses and although i had some wonderful close friends, I was always trying to hang with the “cooler kids.” I admired them and thought they would be successful later in life because they were the popular kids. I later came to understand that if you pick and believe in yourself and leverage your strengths, you create your own path to success.

Grad School:Don’t ask for permission to talk. I am originally from the Middle East, a region of the world where the voices and contributions of women are not as loud, valued or heard as those of men. Early on I found myself deferring and asking for permission to speak or ask a question. But, in graduate school at Georgetown University, I had the opportunity to study under Madeleine Albright. She later became the first female United States Secretary of State. She asked everyone in our class very pointed questions. She encouraged us — no, urged — no, pushed us to respond quickly. Not to demure. To be prepared and state our position with strength and conviction. In my over 30 years working, I’ve seen countless people hold back and not speak up. The effect of that is that they, their company and all of us miss out. Speak up. What you think is important.

Early Career: You can be right without being righteous. Early in my banking career, my manager overheard me talking very loudly and with a great deal of frustration to someone who had made a mistake. I was really angry and was making sure they knew it. She came into my office and explained that there was no value in taking that type of negative approach and that I would be much more effective if I approached people with more understanding and humility.

Entrepreneur: Don’t underestimate your value. When my husband, son and I moved to Kansas City in the late 1990s I decided to leave Bank of America and start consulting and coaching business leaders. I thought that because I didn’t have a network, one way to initially get clients was to price myself slightly below market. But, when I pitched my services to Lynn HInkle, a successful business woman, and told her my hourly rate, she quickly told me that what my expertise, experience and background was comparable to that of senior consultants in the market who charge 25% more. She explained that charging a lower rate was not helping me but making it seem like I was not as qualified.

Thought Leader: Don’t keep analyzing and studying the problem, look at people who are succeeding. Through my experience as a business coach and in conducting research for both my books, I learned to take the “solutions-based” approach which is based on looking at solutions rather than problems, building on strengths rather than weaknesses and finding the most simple, straightforward positive way forward rather than continuing to examine barriers. As Princess Reema bint Bandar al Saud, of Saudi Arabia once said “if you can’t knock down the wall, widen the doorway.”

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Elizabeth Kelan, PhD. Dr Kelan is a Professor of Leadership at Cranfield School of Management and Director of the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders in the U.K. I admire and rely on Dr.Kelan’s research and insights in my work and would love to sit down and talk deeply with her about innovative ways to achieve gender parity in the workplace.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter @thewaywomenwork LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/rania-anderson/

To learn more, visit: www.TheWayWoMenWork.com.

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!

Originally published at medium.com

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.