June 3, 2015
CONTACT: Blair Fjeseth, (406) 444-2807
Secretary McCulloch Talks Leadership in New Book
HELENA, MT – “Real Women, Real Leaders” a collaborative effort among 24 women features an in-the-trenches perspective from women in various industries on how to make it to the top in a male-dominated business world. One of the books authors is Montana’s very own Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.
With the renewed push for gender equality in the workplace, “Real Women, Real Leaders,” offers inspirational stories and practical advice on professional advancement for women. Studies have shown that companies with three or more women board members dramatically outperform the competition in returns on equity, sales and invested capital—yet women only claim a tiny percentage of boardroom seats and top executive positions. The book explores this paradigm and empowers women and men to forge a cultural shift.
In the middle of the book a story about an eager 7th grader comes to life. The little girl through a strenuous candidate interview decided to work her first campaign, she caught what she calls “the bug” and the rest is history. That little girl who came from nothing grew up to run and be elected to several different offices. In the book, McCulloch talks about her initial struggles to throw her name into the hat for office. “Have you ever secretly wanted something but were afraid if you said it out loud, it would sound foolish? That’s how I felt about becoming an elected official. I had volunteered on a number of campaigns, and I knew what it took to be successful, but I was afraid to become a candidate.”
McCulloch goes on to talk about her passion for the election process. “After I won my first race by only 46 votes, I became convinced that every vote mattered. Women are a major force at the ballot box. Nationally, the number of female voters has exceeded the number of male voters in every presidential election since 1964. Yet women account for less than 24 percent of elected federal and statewide officeholders. Women are an unstoppable force on election day, but we can’t vote for a woman unless she’s a candidate!”
McCulloch has spent the past six years in the Secretary of State’s office trying to encourage every eligible Montana voter to vote. In her time as Secretary of State, McCulloch has introduced the “18 & Ready” program, which targets its efforts at registering 18-year-olds to vote, implemented an electronic absentee system for military and oversees voters and has been integral to ensuring election day voter registration for eligible Montanans.
The book’s other contributors also discuss their experiences and offer advice on topics such as balancing family and career, building alliances, mentoring and being mentored, and overcoming obstacles to achieving senior management positions. The book’s editors, and renowned business leaders themselves, Kathy Hurley and Priscilla Shumway, have curated diverse, insightful stories that every ambitious woman, and the men who wish to support them, needs to know.
One of the books editorial reviews comes from former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer who said that “Montana was built by hardworking and fearless mothers, wives and daughters, Indian and immigrant both and Real Women, Real Leaders profiles those who carry on the tradition and continue to blaze new trails.”
In the book, McCulloch ends her story with a pretty profound statement. “I believe that being a woman in politics is a strength, not a weakness,” McCulloch said, “Keeping silent about my youthful aspirations to run for office was foolish. I’m embarrassed now to admit that I ever believed I wasn’t smart enough. I hope that by sharing some of my story, more women will be convinced to run for office and know that they can win. My life changed for the better the moment I stopped trying to convince others to believe in me and started believing in myself.