At our Hats Off to Women in Business Festival we celebrated the launch of the 25th anniversary of the print edition of the Women's Yellow Pages. How exciting it was to honor all local women in business while indulging in a smorgasbord of networking and great food.
In keeping with the celebration, I thought it would be fun to answer some of the questions we typically pose to our Women of Accomplishment. (See the right margin for links to the inspiring, motivating, and informative profiles of this year's Women.) Here are my answers from the point of view of the Women's Yellow Pages office. I hope you enjoy this peek into the inner workings of 25 years of promoting women in business.
What do you do for balance or stress relief at the WYP office? Over the years we have dipped our arms in hot wax, put heated rocks on our shoulders, applied facial masks, and practiced foot reflexology...all while making phone calls!
Share a guilty pleasure. Elaborate lunches. We start talking about lunch before 11 am and by the time we set the table at 1 pm, the menu has grown to epic proportions. My gourmet leftovers are often the centerpiece.
Who/what inspires you? We have funny quotes on the office walls as well as photos of some famous feminists. It's easy to keep your eyes on the prize when Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan are staring down at you.
Where was WYP started? In a 2-story walk-up above a framing store (now Avenue Art & Framing, a 25-year advertiser) in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia. I still use the same desk I created from a door.
What are you most proud of? Raising 2 wonderful children (now adults) while running the business from the attic room of my home. And that my employees are like family. In the old days they often drove my kids to after-school activities.
Share a little known fact about Women's Yellow Pages. We have a tabletop fountain in our supply closet to remedy a Feng Shui faux pas.
Describe a defining moment at WYP. It used to take 3 days to manually compile the index for the print directory. When we got our first computer it took 4 hours. At that moment I vowed to always stay ahead of the technology curve. By the way, it now takes about 1 minute.
What do you do for a good laugh? Most days you can count on at least one good belly laugh. Often it's from trying out Bonnie's (our eZine editor) game inventions. I will never forget the day we played something based on Jacks. On my turn, little cubes went flying all over the office; some are still MIA.
What about Women's Yellow Pages is most rewarding? Every single day we assist, talk with, and promote the most fascinating, influential, and accomplished sector of the business world - women. It's a dream-come-true job.
I'd like to close with a huge, virtual hug of thanks to everyone who has been a part of the Women's Yellow Pages over its first 25 editions along with a million actual hugs to Bonnie Neubauer, without whom WYP would not have been nearly as fun or successful.
I may be the face (and hat) that are recognized, but it's your smiling, hard-working, accomplished smiles that motivate me every day. I tip my hat to all of you.
Ellen Fisher, Founder and Publisher who was hard to find at the Festival because almost everyone wore a hat!