Battling being a woman in a man’s business world

By MADISON SMITH

Lisa Shipley is a woman who has worked her way to the top, and is inspiring and teaching women how to be successful every single day.

Shipley, a mother of three, has re-defined the term “successful business woman.”

Her starting point was as a temporary employee at Nations Bank, and over the years of hard work she is now an executive vice president and managing director of Global Payment Network Solution.

Lisa Shipley poses with her dog at her home. Photo by Madison Smith.
Lisa Shipley poses with her dog at her home. Photo by Madison Smith.

She is a founder and current president of W-net,  an organization that provides world-class national and regional programming, fosters networking and promotes mentoring to help women achieve personal success.

In 2007 Shipley suspected that men with her same job title were getting paid more and receiving better benefits than she was. In addition to that, she was reporting to the CEO of the company who was treating her in a discriminatory fashion.  Shipley decided to leave the company but when her ex-boss refused to pay her money that she had earned, it was the last straw.

Shipley took her ex-boss and the company to court and after a long four-and-a-half year battle was awarded $1.5 million from a jury of eight men and women. Shipley explained that it was never about the money, it was about standing up for what was right and showing women everywhere that you can fight, you can be heard, and you can win.

After the court case was over, Shipley felt compelled to help women all over the world who were going through the same thing. Shipley just published a book titled “Crawling Across Broken Glass.”

Within her book she describes the struggles she has faced in the business world. It goes in depth into the five-day jury trial and all the twists and turns that the trial took.

Since the publication, Shipley is speaking to women around the world and sharing her story to inspire and educate women who face the same battles today. She has sent her book to Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg and others in hopes to receive endorsement to further promote her book.

“The book was another example of how I felt I needed to give back,” she said. “Writing it was difficult because I had to relive the toughest five years of my life. Getting to my day in court was not easy and I wanted to let other women know that you can fight back. I have yet to see how it will change my life as it’s really not out yet but I do hope to speak to bigger audience and to provide support to women who are in similar situations.”

Shawn Taylor Zelman is the executive director at W-net.  She is also a fighting woman in today’s world. She works for a company that supports non-profit organizations and she runs the day-to-day activities of the W.net.

Zelman is a mother of three and wanted to expand her education. She recently received her doctorate in organizational management and behavior.  She did this while working fulltime and supporting her family.

“My advice to all women is never give up or take no for an answer. I solved my challenge by finding an online university to take classes, did my homework sitting at the kitchen table with my children, and will work hard to pay back my student loans,” she said. “This was my personal goal but I encourage all women to never say ”I’m too busy.’ If you want something bad enough as women, we get it DONE!”

Shipley says that working in an executive suit is a balancing act. She explains that you have to be ‘one of the guys’, but at the same time you have to earn respect. Earning respect for a woman takes way more time than a man, because you have to prove you are as good as they are.

“I can’t say I never want to back down,” Shipley said. “Heck, some days I want to run away from at all. Part of what should keep you going at any job is that you should love what you’re doing. Life’s too short if you don’t. Find another company to work with and for people that you enjoy being around. When this happens, part of not running away is the obligation you feel toward those people who have put their support in you. They become your kids in a sense and you work hard to make sure they are successful as well.”

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