Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beyond the Label - Maureen Chiquet

Beyond the Label
Title: Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership, and Success on Our Own Terms
Author: Maureen Chiquet
Publication Date: 4/18/17 (That's today!)
Pages: 288
Genre: Memoir / Self-Help / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I'm on the TLC Book Tour
Date Completed: 4/9/17

Summary: Chiquet takes readers through her professional life, starting as a high school exchange student and through her years as global CEO of Chanel. Along the way, she weaves in some advice for women who looking to forge their own leadership path. 

What I Thought: I was very excited to join the tour for this book. I had not heard of Maureen Chiquet before, although I have certainly heard of Chanel. You may remember another TLC Book Tour I did a while back for a biography of the brand's founder, Coco Chanel. I looked forward to reading Chiquet's book for very different reasons. A book about women and leadership? It was no question for me.

I've been wrestling a lot more lately with my own professional goals and where I want my career to go. I thought I had it all figured out, but as my 30th birthday approaches, I'm rethinking some things and wondering if a reconfiguration may be ahead for me professionally. That being said, this book and the one I'm reviewing later in the month, Killing Wonder Woman, both came at a timely point for me. 

I'll be honest; I expected a bit more professional meat from Chiquet. The book is really more of a memoir, a "leadership memoir," as I saw it described somewhere, to be sure. But the content of the book is really more of her own story than it is any detailed professional advice for others. She explains at the start of the book that there is no magic formula, that each woman's path will look different. So, she shares her story as a way of leading by example.

In each chapter, she do weave in some advice. She shares the lessons she learned from various stages of her professional career and poses some questions to readers about how those lessons may apply to them. It's nothing particularly groundbreaking, but her thoughts to be good reminders to check in with my own strengths and weaknesses. 

Maureen Chiquet
I saw a lot of myself in Chiquet. Though I'm not in the fashion industry, nor do I have any desire to be, I think we share a lot of personality traits. That helped me to connect with her and for her story to have more impact for me than it may have for others. Throughout the book, I was continually impressed by her determination and drive. I could use more of that in my own life. I also really applaud her and her husband's decision to have him raise their children because it was more practical from a professional standpoint for them both. It was not a common or popular decision at that time and Chiquet is up front about the tensions that caused in her own life and in her relationships with her family. Still, I think their willingness to be different and do what worked best for their family is laudable. 

Though this book did not turn out to be exactly what I expected, I enjoyed reading it. Chiquet story is very interesting and I did some Googling after I finished the book to learn more details of her career and personal life. It's worth a read for any woman who could use some professional encouragement and a look into how one woman climbed the corporate ladder.

*To read other bloggers' thoughts on Beyond the Label, check out the full tour schedule.*

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Maybe

A Reduced Review: An enjoyable read with the bonus of some professional advice thrown as well. 

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