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Quincy native promoting corporate equality through writing – Herald

QUINCY — In her writing, Quincy native Lynn Schmidt tries to help other women thrive in their professional lives.

The four-time published author and conference speaker, who now lives in Boise, Idaho, visited Quincy earlier this week and spent some time working on her next book.

Schmidt is a graduate of Quincy High School and a Quincy College alumna who received her Ph.D.

in human and organizational systems. After having worked at several Fortune 500 or larger companies, Schmidt now focuses on providing leadership strategies to individuals, teams and global organizations as a certified executive coach.

After graduating in the midst of a recession, with jobs in sparse supply, Schmidt left Quincy in 1985. She made her way to Dallas, where she had a few acquaintances but no job lined up.

Her background in the emerging field of computers gave her a leg up, and although she initially started working through a temp agency, she worked her way up the corporate ladder, landing leadership development positions at major companies such as MCI, Nextel and Charter Communications.

“Thriving is an intentional choice,” she said.

“It means you’re going to have to do some things that push you out of your comfort zone.”

Schmidt‘s most-acclaimed work, “Shift Into Thrive: Six Strategies for Women to Unlock the Power of Resiliency,” is an expansion of her doctoral dissertation, which analyzes some of the roadblocks women face in the corporate world.

The book has won many awards and Inc.com named it one of the 60 top books written by women.

“Entry-level jobs are typically 50 percent men and 50 percent women,” Schmidt said, “but the more you work your way up, the more men there are and fewer women. Companies were created by men for men because that is who was in the workforce at the time.

As America undergoes an apparent shift in culture, with issues such as the #MeToo movement gaining national attention, Schmidt sees an apparent pattern developing.

From the suffragettes to women entering the workforce in World War II and the push for equality during the civil rights era, Schmidt said progress is generally followed by a bit of a correction.

That isn’t to say the effects of the progress are diminshed, but the cyclical pattern slows down the push.

Schmidt believes the way to break out of the cycle is to raise awareness on implicit, or unconscious, biases and, when considering gender issues, how those biases can prevent women from rising to the top of the corporate structure.

“You can never get rid of implicit biases,” she said. “You can only be aware of them.

Women can frequently find themselves isolated in higher positions. That isolation, and the lack of proper support, leads women to leave higher-level jobs much more frequently than men, Schmidt said.

It is in the best interest of a company, Schmidt said, to remove biases whenever possible, because research has shown that it leads to more innovation and helps a company tailor its products or services to reach a more complete customer base.

“Many companies are removing names from resumes and conducting panel interviews,” Schmidt said.

“Diversity is good for business.”

Her next book, “Thriving from A to Z: Best Practices to Increase Resiliency, Satisfaction, and Success,” will provide readers of both sexes with practices to help them thrive in the workplace.

The book will go on sale on Amazon in December, with pre-sales beginning next month.