These Boots are Meant for Working


These Boots are Meant for Working

 Joan: “I don’t expect you to understand. You have never experienced it before. Have you, Peggy?” 
Peggy: “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t dress the way you do and …” 
Joan: “How do I dress?” 
Peggy: “Look, they didn’t take me seriously either.” 
Joan: “So what you’re saying is I don’t dress the way you do, because I don’t look like you, and that’s very, very true!”
Peggy: “You know what? You’re filthy rich! You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do!”
– “Mad Men,” Season 7, Part 2: “The End of an Era,” Episode 1 (04/05/2015) 
As I write this, it’s been more than a week since PIE 2015 in Chicago ended. Every day since I’ve arrived back in Los Angeles, I have been reflecting on the lessons learned and changes I must make inside me: to continue on my path of being happy from within, of creating value and living my life based on wisdom, courage and compassion. 
Maya Angelou, who has been my role model as to what it means to be a woman ever since I was a newly arrived immigrant, said: “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” 
Those words are on my refrigerator doors, and indelible in my heart. I strive to practice them every day, using them as my mantra, and living them with my walk regardless what boots I wear. 
It isn’t the environment or others that must change. When I change, the people around me are transformed, also. In others words, as Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” 
The Joan-Peggy conversation above, from Part 2 of the current and last season of “Mad Men,” takes place in 1970. I would think that we as people, and especially as women, have come a long way in the last 45 years. Nevertheless, based on what I saw at this year’s PIE, what I have heard at TED talks and read in the media, the attitude of cattiness in the workplace – where women lack confidence and show an over-all lack of empathy and kindness to other women – still is as pervasive today as it was 45 years ago. 
During the second annual Women In Parking (WIP) Conference, held April 2, immediately after the Parking Industry Exhibition 2015, Tonya Tiggett, Founder and Owner of Speak Our Language, conducted a seminar titled “Promoting U, Your Personal Brand.” One highlight of her keynote speech talked about the “Queen Bee Syndrome.” 
“The term was first defined in the early 1970s,” Peggy Drexler wrote in a March 16, 2013, Wall Street Journal essay, “following a study led by researchers at the University of Michigan – G.L. Staines, T.E. Jayaratne and C. Tavris – who examined promotion rates and the impact of the women’s movement on the workplace. 
“In a 1974 article in Psychology Today,” Drexler noted, “[the researchers] presented their findings, based on more than 20,000 responses to reader surveys in that magazine and Redbook. They found that women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women. 
“This occurred, they argued, largely because the patriarchal culture of work encouraged the few women who rose to the top to become obsessed with maintaining their authority,” wrote Drexler, an assistant professor of psychology
in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. 
(Her WSJ essay was titled “The Tyranny of the Queen Bee,” with the subhead: “Women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who followed – but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood.”)
The Queen Bee Syndrome applies not only to women in management and in authority positions, but also to women interacting with one another at all levels of the workplace. 
People came to PIE 2015 from all over the world to exhibit their products, to showcase their companies, to learn about emergent technologies, and to network with other people in the industry, which is male-dominated, a 5-1 ratio of men to women. 
At this year’s Parking Industry Exhibition and the second annual WIP Conference, I met many amazing, kind, supportive women. These women showed me, with their very lives and not just talk, what it means to be successful professionals. 
They were joyful, brilliant, engaged, sincere, inventive and fearless. Two of these incredible women took time to give me objective guidance and input on how I can make adjustments in my image to fit the parking industry. 
I pray that the Joan-Peggy “Mad Men” dialogue quoted above is from a bygone era. That it also is the last season of any Queen Bee Syndrome episode. 
We as women have an opportunity right now to bring daring ideas to the parking industry and to life overall. Branding ourselves starts with compassion for each of us individually and the other. 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” 
I know that attendees of the Women in Parking Conference will take their keynote speaker’s message to heart, and we will all grow because of it.
Astrid Ambroziak is Editor of, an aggregator website dedicated to parking news, world-wide, and powered by Parking Today magazine. Contact her at 
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