Co-Authors, Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America
Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America (HarperCollins, 2008) features over 850 women from U.S. history who demonstrate passion, determination and persistence. The book itself is a testimony to the passion of two women and the power of networking. Charlotte and Jill were introduced by a business colleague of Charlotte’s who, when she met Jill, knew that we should be introduced. Our passion and our independent chronicling and collecting of historical women were so evident to her.
Charlotte had been collecting stories of influential women who had made a difference, as she taught leadership classes. Jill had been collecting stories of important historical women for a series of books she had published, and, specifically scientific and technical women, for an essay contest for young people and for her submittal of award nominations.
At our first lunch in 2003 (a true testament to the value of networking), we found that we were both determined to celebrate historical women – ensuring they were not forgotten, that their accomplishments were not minimized and that they received recognition for their amazing and quite varied contributions. At the end of lunch, Charlotte said to Jill, “We are going to write a book together.” The rest, as we like to say, is “Her Story.”
At our first meeting, we set the criteria for selection of the women who would be profiled in the book and started our selection process. Over five years of writing, we went through hundreds of books together, cross-checking information from other sources as we went.
Our complementary knowledge base (Charlotte comes from the fine arts and Jill is an engineer) actually helped us in every phase of book preparation. Each of us took turns offering ideas, concepts, plans and people with whom to connect. Our networks continued to play an important role as we went through the book writing and publishing process.
One of Charlotte’s teaching aids for her leadership classes was a paper timeline of over 300 women in U.S. history. After looking at these hundreds of sheets of paper scotchtaped together, a colleague of Charlotte’s, and the graphic design department at her company, voluntarily put together 52 beautiful panels that in total stretched 130 feet long. This was an amazing pictorial display of women’s historical and current accomplishments. At an event where the display was shown, it so intrigued one of the viewers that she led us to the woman who became our book agent.
Other networking successes included our securing Madeleine Albright to write the foreword (through one of Charlotte’s business colleagues who went to high school with Madeleine) and procuring the two endorsements on the back cover.
We have now collaborated for so many years, we finish each other’s sentences! Starting with a common passion, having a shared vision, and putting our networks to use made our book, “Her Story”, into the success it is currently experiencing