In this Issue

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Quote of the Month

"Women attribute their success to working hard, luck and help from other people. Men will attribute that same success to their own core skills." 

Coach's Calendar

09.04.13 Power Lunch: Cheating Ourselves
16.04.13 Training4Success: Cancelled due to business travel
14.05.13 Power Lunch: Creativity & Dishonesty, Part II
21.05.13 Training4Success: The Story Factor
01.06.13 Rotary Dragon Boat Charity Challenge
04.06.13 Power Lunch: Collaborative Cheating
11.06.13 Training4Success: Using Narrative to Build Your Brand

Recommended Reads

Le Mental des Champions
by Hubert Ripoli
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
by Sheryl Sandberg

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Volume 12, Number 3 - April 2013


Happy Seasonal Change

Sometimes, life changes force us to let go of the familiar and, instead, face future challenges and feelings of vulnerability. Although some transitions are as natural and as quick as the changing seasons, others take longer to come to fruition.

While reading about the golden anniversary of Betty Friedan’s international bestseller “The Feminine Mystique”, I felt that the timing of this celebration couldn't come at a more appropriate transition period.

It has been well researched and reported that despite decades of efforts, Betty Friedan’s intention to bring “monumental social change” that would threaten “those who couldn’t deal with that change,” women are still paid less than men. This statistic cuts across every educational level and in every job category, with a few exceptions. Likewise, the number of women in leadership positions also remains low.

In 1963, most people in the western world believed that gender equality was neither possible nor appropriate. In France, for example, until 1965 banks were required to notify husbands when their wives opened bank accounts, if the wife did not have her own career or separate assets. And in Germany before 1957, husbands could terminate their wives’ employment contract if her work interfered with her duties of running the household and looking after the children. Since that time, many changes have taken place to equalize gender roles, at home as well as in the workplace.

Regardless of all the positive changes, however, the gender equality revolution is still unfinished. Women are still struggling to balance careers and family life. While in theory, many people agree about the need to share bread winning and family care obligations, the majority of people expect women to assume primary family care responsibilities and for men to focus on their careers.

It is because “we don't have male-female equality,” Anne-Marie Slaughter believed, that “we need the next wave of an equal rights revolution.”

The first women's rights revolution focused primarily on suffrage, the second revolution broadened the discussion to the workplace, and fought for women to have the possibility to hold any professional position and to be paid accordingly. Today, we are entering a new era, what Ariana Huffington calls a “next-wave” women’s movement.  “Because this time we’re not just fighting for a space in the world, we’re fighting to change it,” Huffington says.

While most of us might not be in the position to change the world, we can all take advantage of the seasonal changes to focus on one specific improvement we would like to make this spring.

What change are you willing to focus on this season?
Karin Genton L'Epée

2013 Equilibrium Mentoring Program for Czech Women

There is compelling evidence that women can be powerful drivers of economic development. According to the World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development, closing these gender gaps matters for development and policymaking. Greater gender equality can enhance economic productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions and policies more representative.

On April 3rd 2013, the British Chamber of Commerce will launch the 2013 Equilibrium mentoring program. The purpose of the program is to increase of the number of women on company boards and in top management roles, by providing individual mentoring to a group of those women likely to fill these positions in the next few years.

In recent years, the British Chamber has developed a strong profile in gender diversity, presenting a range of conferences and workshops in addition to the Equilibrium program, which is supported by general partner Česká spořitelna and media partner MF DNES.

I am proud to say that I participated in this program as a mentor in the 2011 and 2012 sessions, and plan to do so again. For more information, visit the British Chamber web site.

April 21st Rotary Fundraising Great Greek Dinner Event

After last year’s huge success, my Rotary club invites you to join us again for a fabulous cultural and culinary experience at our “Great Greek Evening” charity fundraising event. This year we will also be celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the founding of Rotary Club Prague International.

Join us to enjoy the feel of ancient Greece with live Greek music, dancing, singing and delicious authentic Greek food and drink. In addition to great food and fun, you will also have the opportunity to win exciting prizes in our tombola.

Proceeds from the event will go to support the Salvation Army’s efforts to provide food and emergency shelter to the homeless in the Czech Republic, and to the Rotary Foundation.

This is an event that you do not want to miss. Come help Rotary Club Prague International help those in dire need. Together we can make a difference!

Where:   Taverna Olympos, Kubelíkova 9, Praha 3 Link is:
When:   Sunday, April 21st
Time:    16.30 – end is up to you
Cost:    1500czk, Kids 5-15 years old – 750 CZK, Kids below 5 years old – free of charge
Dress:   Casual (blue & white)
RSVP:   To Staffan Erenmalm ( by 10 April, please!

Rotary Dragon Boat Charity Challenge 2013

On Saturday June 1st, Rotary Club Prague International invites you to participate in an excellent team building event on the Vltava River… A dragon boat race!

Dragon boat racing is an ancient Chinese water sport that is very popular in the Czech Republic. The long boats are similar to a canoe, but with a decorative dragon’s head and tail; and they require a crew of 16 paddlers, a drummer, and someone to steer the boat.

Taking part is easy, as boats, training, life jackets and other safety equipment are all provided by the organizers. There will also be training runs in the morning, before actual racing begins.

It’s great fun, requires no experience, anyone can do it, and you’ll be supporting some wonderful charities in Prague!

You and your company can underwrite a boat to participate in the Rotary Dragon Boat Race Challenge. Or you can just come with friends and family to watch the exciting racing, listen to some great live music, have some food and fun, and more.

When: Saturday June 1st
Where: On the Vltava River at Smichovska Plaz
Who: You and your friends. Boat teams should be 18 to 20 people, some for support

This event benefits Nadace Nase Dite (a children's charity), and Zivot 90 (providing support for the elderly). For more information, please visit or email

A Note to My Readers: Reading both Sheryl Sandberg and Betty Friedan got me to thinking that the article below which I wrote a couple of years ago, bears repeating now. I hope you’ll agree, and bear with me. Enjoy!

Success Lessons from the 1955 "Good Wife's Guide"

Way back in 1955, the monthly magazine Good Housekeeping published a no-nonsense article called a "Good Wife’s Guide". It was a different time for women, and gender-based codes of conduct were far more rigid. In that May 13th issue, housewives were given an unabashedly direct guide on how to cater to their husbands’ needs and to make them happy. Among other fascinating things, it recommended that women “have dinner ready, greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.”

Thankfully, at least in the Western world, women’s rights have greatly advanced in the past sixty years. But what about the lessons from that 1950s-era guide? Are they no longer relevant?

For centuries, women were expected to attend to men’s well-being and to even pamper them. Although the words from the old article may be archaic, they espouse valuable principles one can use to foster positive relationships – both personal as well as professional.

Because our success in life often depends on how we attend to the well-being of other people and how efficiently we cater to their needs and expectations, it takes only a little tweaking to rewrite the words from the 1950s so that they are relevant to today…

1955s Version: “Have dinner ready: catering for his needs and comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.”
Today’s Version: Determine and Analyze Their Needs

To understand and take care of people’s needs we have to identify them and realize that they come in two forms: explicit needs and implicit needs.

Explicit needs tend to run a more predictable and rational path, whereas implicit needs tend to be random demands triggered by emotions and circumstances. Explicit needs are pretty simple and easy to address, such as: “we need to expand our production in China” or “we need to develop the company’s brand image.”

Implicit needs are more subtle because people usually don’t talk about them and would even deny them if confronted with them. For example, let’s imagine a scenario involving the arrival of a new manager. His colleagues might ask what he expects from them, but their real question (which they keep to themselves) might actually be “Why should we believe you and follow your lead?” At the same time the manager can openly say that he welcomes any new ideas and suggestions while his implicit needs would be “Help me demonstrate my creative capacity by coming up with some great ideas that I can rearrange and take on as my own.” An effective manager first tries to understand the explicit and implicit needs of his team members before assigning them new challenges

1955s Version: “Listen to him: remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.”
Today’s Version: Listen Empathetically

Management guru Stephen Covey defines empathic listening as “listening with the intent to understand.” Typically we first seek to be listened to instead of listening to others. The strong impulse we have when we say “ listen to me” can mean many different things, such as “Please pay attention to me,” or “Hear me out and admire the great ideas I came up with.” Behind this is an implicit need to show how smart we are or perhaps even how important we think we are or wish to be.

Listening and showing interest in the people we meet is one of the surest ways to make them feel good about themselves and validated.

Centuries of catering to the needs of men and listening to them and attending to the well-being of other people have provided women with powerful skills which they are now using their professional lives. By leveraging those skills, they have become more self-confident in their ability to speak up for what they believe in and for what they want.

And thanks to the women’s emancipation process, many of us have learned to realize that our own success depends just as much on the efforts that we make to attend to the well-being of other people, as the effort we make to take care of our own well-being.

About Karin

Karin Genton-L’Epée is a business coach with 30 years of extensive professional experience in the United States, France and the Czech Republic. Based in Prague since 1995, for the past 15 years she has developed a range of coaching and training programs for mid- and top-level managers, focusing on leadership development, cross-cultural understanding and effective communication in a global environment. By providing a structured environment that supports people in clarifying who they are and what they want, Karin enables her clients to devise more effective strategies to achieve their personal and professional goals. Thanks to her knowledge, skills and range of international experience, Karin is in demand as a speaker at business conferences and educational institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. She is also a regular contributor to business journals and magazines. She works in English and French and can be reached at

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