Pearl Girls Post 5

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series – a week long
celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of
today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St.
John, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on
Mother’s Day.

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Stepping Out on Faith by Bonnie St. John

“Darcy . . .”

“Yeah, Mom?”

I momentarily held the undivided attention of my teenage daughter. Her thumbs,
free of their ubiquitous texting keypad, quietly dangled by her side. Her computer
and its omnipresent Facebook page were completely out of sight. I had almost
forgotten what she looked like without all these adolescent accoutrements. As we
sat down together on the burgundy leather sofa in our living room, I realized this
fleeting state of electronic dislocation was my chance to hatch a plan I had been
formu- lating for the past several weeks. Carpe diem.

“How would you like to write a book together?”

“About what?” I asked my mom. Write a book? This was a real surprise. I felt a bit
suspicious, but still curious.  I love to write, and Mom kept telling me I was
really good at it. I like writing poetry, fantasy, and sci-fi, though.  The books
Mom wrote were all nonfiction.  I wondered what we could possibly do

“Well . . .” I hesitated. If I wanted her to commit to any extra work out- side her busy
schedule at school—not to mention work alongside her mother—I had to make this
really great. “It would be about women as leaders,” I continued, “a mother-
daughter investigation into leadership styles and structures.”

Leadership?” I blurted. It came out as if I had a bad taste in my mouth—which I did.
I couldn’t imagine a more boring topic to write about. What is there to say
about leadership anyway? When you’re in charge, you just get things done, right?
Who wants to talk about that?

Her furrowed brow told me I was losing her fast. “Um . . . we could find women
leaders all around the world!” I said impulsively, frantically casting the ultimate

“Really? Would we get to travel a lot?”  I hadn’t thought about that. Heck, I’d
write about the mating habits of tsetse flies  if I got to go to Africa to do it!

But this project wasn’t just about the influence it would have on Darcy. I wanted
to do something that could have a potent impact on an alarming trend I had
witnessed in workplaces across the country: far too many women appeared to be
making a choice not to apply for top leadership positions when presented with the
opportunities to do so.

This project, then, was a bit of a Trojan horse. On the one hand, the saga of a
mother-daughter journey could seduce female readers, who might never bother to
read the Harvard Business School dissertations on the subject, into a meaningful
conversation about leadership. At the same time, if Darcy met a series of brilliant,
accomplished women— people even a cynical teen would be in awe of—perhaps
they could tell her all the things I’d like her to know—and more.

And she just might listen.

But where to start? How would we make it work? I suggested we do most of our
research by phone, as I did for How Strong Women Pray. My telephone
interviews with a governor, some CEOs, actors, sports figures, a college president,
and others yielded great stories and information. I promised my intrepid co-author,
though, that we could punctuate these conversations with a few visits in person to
exciting and exotic places—all with reasonably priced airfares.

“Why don’t we follow each subject as she goes about her daily life? That way
our readers get to come along with us and get a behind- the-scenes look at what
happens to them. Instead of just a boring interview, we—and our readers—get to
hang around with these women, see them in their natural habitat, and even see how
other people treat them.”

Although I agreed it was a wonderful approach, this idea of “job- shadowing” each
featured subject wasn’t going to be easy. Would these high-powered, important
women deign to allow us that kind of access? Would they be able to impart the kind

of wisdom that would resonate with our readers and truly make a difference in their
lives?  We looked at each other, both of us hooked on a crazy idea that we
weren’t sure we could pull off.

“It sounds impossible, Darcy,” I said. “We might as well get started.”

And so, we stepped out . . . on faith.


Bonnie is a 1984 Paralympics silver medal winner in
ski racing. Her education includes a degree with honors from Harvard, a Rhodes
scholarship, and an M.Litt in Economics from Oxford.  Her career includes
positions as an award-winning sales rep for IBM and a Clinton White House member
of staff. She now is a much-in-demand speaker, who makes nearly 100 speeches
each year to corporations and civic groups. You can visit her on the Web at

Re-printed with
permission from How Great Women Lead by Bonnie St. John and Darcy

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies
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