TODAY | April 19, 2012
>> back now at 8:46, it's "today's woman" from corporate boardrooms to politics, women are still fighting for a place at the table. so what makes some women succeed and stand out? well, bonnie st. john and her daughter, darcy , collaborated on the new book "how great women lead." good morning to you both.
>> good morning.
>> first, we talk about greatness. can i reel this off, you came from modest means to harvard, a rhodes scholarship , you were at the clinton white house in a top economic position. excuse me, i'm not done. a skier despite being born with a defect with your leg. i think you kind of interviewed yourself for this.
>> thank you. i had to have a lot of strength to be the first african- american woman in skiing and to come from san diego with no snow. and i really wanted to give that strength to my daughter and to the next generation of women leaders.
>> so you both set about to interview some women that you thought were inspiring. darcy , one of the things that's unusual about the book is that you're young. you were part of this process. you're a person who might be using that advice.
>> oh, that's right. when we first started writing this project, i really didn't have much of a concept of leadership. i thought it of as being really corporate, political, just business suits and ties. and this has totally opened me up to realizing that leadership is in every shape and form.
>> was there a common thread you saw in talking to these women ?
>> i think when people say how do great women lead, it's every way, every shape and form. and the women have such unique personalities. and they bring that personality and that passion to leading. so it isn't just one way. women are creative.
>> let's talk about some of the women that you got to meet and interview. you had secretary of state hillary clinton and former secretary of state dr. condoleezza right. i know you were really impressed. and you said it first scared you to meet dr. rice. tell me about that.
>> it was. she really made me believe that my passions and talents could help me become a leader. we asked the women , what does the leader of the future look like? she said that languages and cultures are really important to surviving in a global world which made me realize because my passion is linguistics, that i can become a leader with my passion.
>> and from politics to business, i know you interviewed the head of a fortune 500 firm, sharon allen . what did she have to say?
>> she talked about how important it is to protect your brand and to careful be about what you say and who you talk to. so we were glad that we got an interview with her, too, in this world where your reputation can change in an instant. it's so important to be careful about that.
>> you also went to the entertainment world. this was a fun one for you, darcy .
>> the co-chairman of sony pictures , amy pascal .
>> we got to go to a movie premiere of "salt" with brad and angelina on the red carpet .
>> to rise from secretary to the head of a movie studio in such a tough industry. and she talked about staying inside your triple axel , knowing what you're good at.
>> as we know, behind every man there's a great woman. and behind mark zuckerberg , there's sheryl sandberg at facebook. she's somebody that a lot of people have really looked up to and have been inspired by.
>> and it was so great. one of the things about the book is not only did we get the great advice from all the women leaders but having such an adventure.
>> yeah, the headquarters.
>> and going to nicaragua and rock climbing and all the different things we did. sheryl sandberg was so brave recently to come out and say that she leaves work at 5:30 to be with her kids and have dinner.
>> and we've talked about some of the rock stars in the corporate world, the political world . but i know you also talked to quote, unquote, regular folks including a high school junior and a mother of five.
>> rashika and cathry, a stay-at-home mom of five.
>> that was important because we're talking about how women lead. we lead in every place, not only in the boardrooms but in our communities and in our homes and really making a difference. and stay-at-home moms are an important kind of leadership. i wanted to show my daughter that, too.
>> the book inspires. thank you so much for bringing it to us.
>> we really wanted to step up and make a difference for other women leaders. we're partnering to raise money for those women so they can see that on the website, too.
>> excellent. thanks for coming and sharing these wonderful stories. the book is "how great women