She Conquered the ‘Old Boys’ Club’: From Overlooked Employee to Trailblazing Partner at New Firm

She Conquered The ‘Old Boys’ Club’
Photographer: John DeMato

My client M was senior manager at one of the big Four accounting firms.

She didn’t see a path to growth.

The ‘old boys club’ culture was very much a thing. Every year, she was told, “Wait 6 more years. Then we can consider you making partner.”

She didn’t want to wait 6 years.

When we began work together August 2020, she admitted she had been in ‘mom’ mode. For the last five years, she had poured all of her time and energy into her 5 year old son, letting other things go.

We had to reignite a few things.

Here are the 4 “stories” we worked on:

  • Her professional network: In the last five years, her network had also become moms. She dug into her LinkedIn and started reaching out to old colleagues. She reconnected with a former manager who had recently moved to a competing firm. She told her story about being a technologist at heart and wondered if a more forward-thinking place was in her future instead.
  • Appearance:I asked her to share her observations of another young woman who had already made partner. What was the story SHE was telling in presenting herself at the firm? The young woman showed up, hair done, tailored suits everyday.

         She started dressing for “partner,” and telling a different story           with her outward appearance.

  • Focus. In order to up her reading game, she deleted Instagram from her phone Monday through Friday. In her spare moments, she was on Medium, reading industry trends, and rapidly changing the story she would share in room while networking.
  • Understanding of the business side of business: She was already managing teams and working with junior staff. But what was the story she was telling about her knowledge of the businessside of the firm? How it generates revenue, manages costs, and strategies for growth.

Remember the former manager who had recently moved to a competing firm? She believed in M and asked her to come over for an interview.

June 2021, a mere 10 months later, M joined THAT firm as a Director and remained knee-deep in product and technology—-things she loved the most.

The time she spent reflecting out loud at my peer mentoring calls each week, helped her realize her intense desire for a culture change.

She just announced to me at the end of last year (2023): She had made partner.

I was so proud of her.

Are YOU like M? Did this story resonate with you?

If so, we do this type of work together in my Mastermind. I’m teaching you to tell better stories about yourself and build your brand for that next level of you.

The Mastermind is kicking off this Saturday January 20th, 2024 and we have one spot remaining. Put the word “Interested” in comments if your name is on that last spot. I’ll get back to you with more details.


Now onto this week’s newsletter

One Leadership Tip

Write out a clear vision and plan for your lifestyle.  It helps to have a brief “menu” of options for key actions to take.

Review vision, plan, goals, and key actions + intentions weekly.

One Public Speaking Tip

3 elegant ways to say ‘no’

One Adventure tip

If you know me a little, my obsession is in organizing and in making packing lists for trips.

My next adventure is glamping in Moab, Utah.

Normally, I would read a ton of blogs. Study Pinterest. Watch Youtube videos in order to arrive at “looks” for the trip.

I upgraded to ChatGPT4 and challenged Dall-E to make outfit recommendations.

Holy cow I’m hooked! My results here.

Elisse Glennon Founder/CEO

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