Male Marketers: When The Tsunami Of Female Power Peaks, Most Will Not Know Where The Crack Began


tsu·na·mi – (t)so͞oˈnämē/ –  a series of ocean waves generated by  displacements in the sea floor, landslides, or volcanic activity.  A tsunami wave may come gently ashore or may increase in height to become a fast moving wall of turbulent water several meters high.

Not meaning to sound overly dramatic here, but a tsunami is the visual that came to my mind as I read Pamela Ryckman’s, book, Stiletto Network.

I believe most male decision makers from CEO’s to marketers to owners would benefit from reading this book. Otherwise, they will not even feel the underlying shift now taking place which is certain to disrupt “business as usual.” Women are sharing recipes for success and men would be wise to see exactly what’s cooking.

This book reveals one of the newest trends popping up across America.


While you may argue that female networking has been around for years (and you would be correct) there are dramatic differences in today’s “stiletto” networks.

These networks are popping up across the country, if not the world. Although very grateful for the loud and vocal feminist movement that paved the way, stiletto networks are quietly embarking on the next level of placing women in positions of power. Most of these women feel the fight is not with men and they no longer want to pretend to be men. Instead, they are assembling in small, like-minded communities with a deafening silence. They share stories and recipes, compare fashion and shoes and show-off family photos. They are enjoying being women.

But in the midst of all the fun, they are strategically connecting young and innovative female talent with hard-earned female money as they ink multi-millions deals.


Behind every great woman . . . are other great women.

stiletto_network_covIn numbers never seen before, ambitious women are joining forces in every major American city, forming salons, dinner groups, and networking circles — and collaborating to achieve clout and success. A new girls’ network is alive and set to hyperdrive, and it’s upending all the old rules about how power is allocated and business is practiced.

Women in their fifties, having been the only female in the room for a great deal of their professional lives, are exhausted. (I can relate) They had to act like a man, dress like a man, measure every statement and perform a risk assessment every time they opened their mouth. And acting like a feminist would have ended it all. There was little camaraderie among women trying to make it to the top because there was typically only room for one. So, this pitted women against women in addition to women competing with men. Some women who were at the forefront of feminism staked their careers and dream on big companies and now feel betrayed.

Today, these successful women are fed up with the speed or complete lack of female advancement and now feel the best way to aid subsequent generations is to back female entrepreneurs. Never before has the Women’s Movement felt less like a jaundiced faction and more like a party. And with 70% of all new U.S. businesses being started by women, female entrepreneurs are having a rocking good time.

Sara Holoubek, founder and CEO of Luminary Labs, goes so far as to identify the networks as an “underground railroad” to raise the profile of women leaders.

exerpt from the book ~

Stiletto Network describes groups that make women big, bold and brave:  the “Harpies” and “Power Bitches,” “Babes in Boyland” and “Chicks in Charge.” It’s about what happens when bright, caring women – from their twenties to their seventies – come together to celebrate and unwind, debate and compare notes. But it’s also about what happens when they leave the table, when the talking stops and the action starts. It’s about how they mine their collective intelligence to realize their dreams or to champion a cause, how they lift up their friends and push them forward, how they collaborate to ensure each woman gets what she needs – be  it information, a partnership, or a landmark deal. It’s about women banding together to achieve their destinies and change the world.”


So, what does this mean for men in business?

The last point in the book says “Play With Boys!” So in my interview with Ryckman, I asked:

With all of the incredible women you have interviewed, did any of them suggest what men could do to better prepare themselves for these imminent changes in business? Her response:

“In Stiletto Network, I write about how what began as a negative for women – the search for friends and allies outside of their industries because they couldn’t find them within – has evolved to be a strategic advantage. Going back 10 or 20 years, there just weren’t many women in positions of power in most companies. If there was only room for one token woman, it became very competitive within. Women couldn’t share information and resources with the gal in the office next door because inevitably one of them would be pushed out. So women looked outside of their companies or industries to find friends. They build cross-industry networks for support, and these women constantly compared notes and offered guidance and insight.

Today industries are linked and inter-related in ways that were inconceivable a decade ago. The cross-pollination and idea-sharing these cross-industry networks provide are key in today’s economy.

Men at the very top of industries know each other from gatherings like Davos, but the majority of men haven’t been obliged to look outside of their industries. They needed only to look right and left in their companies to build their networks. But today insularity is a real disadvantage. No one can afford to stay stuck in a particular silo, oblivious to developments in other fields.

So, I would advise men to begin reaching out to people in other fields and to develop a regular dialogue, as well.” ~ Pamela Ryckman

Mentioned in the book, Alexa von Tobel, is founder and CEO of, an independent personal finance website. Von Tobel came up with the idea for LearnVest in 2006 while a student at Harvard Business School when she realized she and other women like her had never had any formal education about how to manage their personal finances.

 “I want to let other women know that we can take risks and recognize it can be very fruitful. I’m grateful for the women who’ve come before me. They made it so I can feel this way. But we are the new guard. We have networks that are both male and female, and we’re going to help our peers.

We’re out there creating meritocracy and we are going to change the world.”


Stiletto Network is a must read for male marketers. Knowing what’s coming could mean the difference in riding the wave of change gently ashore, or being hit with a turbulent force with little to no warning.

I would love to hear about any Stiletto Networks others have started. Please feel free to share!





Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising,Birmingham, AL. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

One Response to “Male Marketers: When The Tsunami Of Female Power Peaks, Most Will Not Know Where The Crack Began”

  1. What if we don’t wear stilettos? I am a strategic advantage. I hope you get in touch with me.

    Thank You in Advance for Your Time,

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