Raising Women to be Leaders


Denise Sullivan

Carol Hymowitz, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, had an amazing article titled, “Raising Women to Be Leaders – The Four Sullivan Sisters Learned to Work Early, Aim High and Try Again.” The article focuses on how four sisters (Denise, Maggie, Colleen, and Andrea) were raised to be leaders by their parents. In the article, Hymowitz highlights, “It is rare for four brothers to achieve such levels of success. The fact that they are sisters is striking. Half of all managers in the U.S. are female, but most are stuck in midlevel staff jobs. In senior posts, men outnumber women by almost six to one.” The four sisters are:

  • Denise Sullivan Morrison, 52 years old, is president of Campbell USA at Campbell Soup Co., having advanced through a variety of high-octane jobs at Nestlé SA, Nabisco, Kraft Foods Inc. and other food giants. Denise is featured in the image above right.
  • Maggie Sullivan Wilderotter, 51, is chairman and CEO of Citizens Communications Co., a $2 billion telecommunications company.
  • Colleen Bastkowski, 45, is a regional vice president of sales at Expedia Inc.’s Expedia Corporate Travel.
  • Andrea Doelling, 42, a champion horse jumper now devoting time to equestrian competition, most recently was senior vice president of sales at AT&T Wireless.

If you don’t have a WSJ subscrptions, you can check out Hymowitz’s video, “Advice for Women in Business.” In the video, Denise Sullivan discusses how her parents raised her and her sisters to be successful. In addition, Sullivan offers five tips for women in business:

  1. Be clear about your goals.
  2. Merchandise your accomplishments and don’t see it as arrogant; share what you’re working on, but not in an arrogant way, one that shares best practices.
  3. Networking is working; network with subject-matter experts.
  4. Use your support system for coaching, mentoring, advice, and feedback in a constructive way.
  5. Lead an integrated life, a work-life integration where you bring your whole person to work and you think about your career in terms of your life so that you ultimately end up a happy person.

I can’t say enough good things about this article and the video. It demonstrates how parents, who are committed business manager and leaders, can raise their children to be highly effective managers and leaders too. The sisters learned to be results oriented and view their report cards as “scorecards.” I hope Hymowitz’s article eventually cycles into her “In the Lead” column at CareerJournal.com so you’ll be able to read “Raising Women to Be Leaders – The Four Sullivan Sisters Learned to Work Early, Aim High and Try Again.”