Fostering women in business

Is the glass ceiling gone or just moved?

By Dustin S. Klein

If you look at the list of the highest-paid CEOs in Northeast Ohio, you’ll notice all of them are men. With the exception of Suzanne Sutter, president and CEO of Things Remembered, you’d be hard-pressed to name another woman at the helm of a locally based business with annual revenue in excess of $200 million.

This trend is the same on a national scale. Carly Fiorina’s recent departure from Hewlitt-Packard leaves only a handful of women CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies.

Yet women-owned businesses remain one of the fastest-growing segments, and Northeast Ohio boasts hundreds, if not thousands, of successful women entrepreneurs. So is it time to dismiss the idea of a glass ceiling for women or does the dearth of women CEOs at the largest companies still pose a problem?

These are questions worth exploring, especially as the number of women who climb the corporate ranks and founded enterprises of their own continues to increase. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re not afraid to delve into the issue.

Join Smart Business on April 19 at our annual Women in Business Conference, where we’ll present a panel discussion among five local women business leaders. You can find more information online at

Saying farewell

One of my heroes passed away in February, when outlaw journalist Hunter S. Thompson took his own life.

Thompson’s lifestyle was never one worth trying to emulate, and the content of his writings was just a bit too “gonzo” for the pages of the newspapers and magazines where I’ve worked. But following Thompson’s life and reading his work taught me several lessons that have helped shape me as a journalist.

First, you have to know yourself. Thompson knew who and what he was, and didn’t try to be anything more or different. If you aren’t true to yourself, you can’t — and won’t — succeed.

Second, be daring. Take a chance every now and then. It will liven up your writing and create better long-term impact for your readers.

Finally, have a little fun. The art of journalism, like many endeavors, can be repetitive if you let it be. When you don’t step back and enjoy yourself and your job — even just a little bit — you’re in for a lifetime of sorrow.

So thank you, Hunter. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Salut!