Title: REFLECTIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE GLASS CEILING: FINDING MY TRUE SELF IN CORPORATE AMERICA
Author: Stephanie Battaglino
Publisher: L’Oste Vineyard Press
For Stephanie Battaglino, her lifelong journey of self-discovery closely paralleled her daily grind of trudging up the corporate ladder. Amidst the successes and failures of working as a male in the corporate world, Stephanie finally realized that the only path to career fulfillment was to embrace her true self once and for all. That it resulted in her becoming the first officer in the history of New York Life to come out on the job as transgender is not surprising. What was surprising was her abrupt introduction to that generations-old nemesis of working women everywhere, the Glass Ceiling. What she quickly realized was that her embrace of her authentic self came with a price: the loss of male privilege.
Reflections from Both Sides of the Glass Ceiling: Finding My Authentic Self in Corporate America is part memoir, part cautionary tale of what it is like to experience a career on both sides of the gender divide. Stephanie’s unique and very personal experience provides a powerful trailblazing story of inspiration, self-discovery, and triumph – for ALL women.
KEARNY, NEW JERSEY LIES EIGHT MILES DUE WEST OF New York City. I had a clear view of the city’s skyline, across the Meadowlands,from my high school. I like to say that I grew up in the shadow of the city, and in many respects, I did—both literally and figuratively. It was a place where I found out that feeling different from everybody else meant hiding in the shadows at a very young age. For me, hiding wasn’t an option. I was a natural extrovert. On the playground, in school, and at family gatherings, I was always the center of attention—and I enjoyed the spotlight. So, instead of retreating to the shadows, I hid in plain sight.
God, I wanted to get out of that town as fast as I could. By the time I attended high school, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my future—whatever it was going to look like—was most definitely not going to take place in Kearny. I feared that if I didn’t go away to college, I would be resigned to a life of pumping gas and on the weekends hanging in some dive bar. But that only sounded good in conversation with friends. I was going for the laugh—and I usually got it. The real reason that I was running away was that I was running from myself. Wearing a mask every day was exhausting.
Leaving home meant that maybe I could finally leave behind the dirty little secret I held onto for so long. In my most private and intimate moments, when no one was around, and I could retreat from being the center of attention, I felt like a girl inside, not a boy. I realize now that it was the first of many attempts to eradicate this “sickness” inside me. It was a pseudo-sickness that I would battle in a series of epic failures both in the workplace and my personal life for the next twenty-seven years.
My socialization process as an overachieving male in the workplace and society was well on its way. My acquired machismo gave me a sense of competitiveness that fueled my successes and failures as a manager, executive, and a male in corporate life. My desire to compete and win has been a part of my personality my entire life, even after I transitioned. It is a trait that ultimately chaffed my male colleagues who were convinced that women should not act that way.
During that first part of my life, I had no one and nowhere to turn to with my feelings. There was no outlet for me to share my deepest feelings. No support group. No internet. So I just lowered my head and so journeyed on, thinking that if I worked hard enough and did all the things that “manly men” did, I could destroy all traces of this horrible sickness.
L’Oste Vineyard Press → https://bit.ly/3c5svsA
As the founder and owner of Follow Your Heart, LLC (www.StephanieBattaglino.com) Stephanie is an internationally recognized speaker, workshop presenter, trainer, author and workplace diversity & inclusion consultant. She currently sits on the Board of PFLAG National and is the Chair of their Business Advisory Council.
Here’s what critics are saying about Stephanie Battaglino:
“From all of us – for your brilliant words and thoughts . . . And heart.”
-Diane Sawyer, ABC News
“You were just outstanding . . . with your presentation and guidance during our learning and discussion. Thank you for providing such important and current information. We appreciate you and what you do.”
May Snowden, Senior Fellow & Program Director, Human Capital Practice, The Conference Board
“Thank you Stephanie for joining us today during FMC Corporation Pride Month celebration. Your personal story was educational, informative and inspiring.”
-Subarna Malakar, Director and Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer, FMC Corporation
“I have had the pleasure of working with Stephanie on an enrichment event at our company and got to know her further at the following Out & Equal Workplace Summit. I’ve found her honesty and heartfelt way she tells her story to be very meaningful to me. She played a large role in introducing me t – and our entire company – to transgender issues and what I believe is the next frontier in creating diverse and accepting workplaces. I now proudly count myself among the allies for the transgender community.”
-Heather Gill, Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Land O’Lakes
“I would like to extend a most sincere thank you for your inspiration, and for joining our company’s’ diversity efforts in support of the LGBTQ community. I have received several messages from executives who were present and had great feedback to share!
-Juan Camilo Romero, Manager, Diversity & Inclusion Strategies, Macy’s, Inc.
“It is with great pride that Deena and I announce the formal launch of the Trans Toolkit project that you so generously collaborated on with us this past Spring. We truly would not have been able to do this project without each and every one of your thoughtful contributions. We thank you for your time, your passion and your contribution to this project.”
-Beck Bailey, Director of Employee Engagement, Workplace Equality Program, Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
“The feedback from the Commissioner and the entire Executive staff has been overwhelmingly positive! Everyone here is excited about the possibilities of doing more to develop the Agency’s Transgender Rights and Inclusion competence. There is no doubt that the Executives would love to have Stephanie back to train the entire 5,400 person workforce if it were possible and practical. I would not be surprised if they started a petition for Stephanie to present full-time, but I digress.”
-James L. Hallman, Chief Diversity & EEO Officer, New York City Department of transportation
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