My Reflections of “The Memo” by Minda Harts

Kristy Fair, Director, Worldwide Communications

What Women on the Move Need to Know to Navigate and Win in the Workplace.

As a White woman, I may seem an unlikely reviewer for a book about career advice for women of color, however, as a member of the gender demographic, I found a lot to relate to in Hart’s first book, The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table.

Our paths crossed when I met her at the Atlantic Inclusion in the Workplace Summit hosted by Lenovo, and she’s continued to be a voice that has resonated with me as we expand our diversity and inclusion efforts. There are few books as immediately useful by women for women, even fewer for women of color, in navigating career success.

Most of us stumble and discover what works and what doesn’t on our own along the way. Harts’ book shortcuts that process, accelerating years of trial by error learning, illustrated by personal stories along her career trajectory.

She addresses the distinction and need for both IQ and EQ – the latter, emotional quotient/emotional intelligence, being a concept only something MBAs learn about half-way through their studies about the importance in building collaboration.

Building your “squad” matters – relationships breed familiarity, and that familiarity, often leads to trust, consideration, and opportunities. She explains the need for a diverse network of mentors and strategic sponsors – again, a relatively new concept for many early in their careers.

Building your “squad” matters – relationships breed familiarity, and that familiarity, often leads to trust, consideration, and opportunities.

Knowing this and working a plan at the start of a career will certainly accelerate climbing the ladder. Harts credits her own career advancement to the right mix of the two, with a focus on men as the majority in power as key sponsors.

She also addresses a more recent concept of allyships, focusing on women supporting women across race, which doesn’t always happen as White women sometimes aren’t aware of the double barriers our women of color face when we break through the glass ceiling ourselves.

Through a personal, trying experience with a colleague, she shows why diverse and inclusive workplace cultures are able to outperform less diverse and inclusive environments that lose out on unique perspectives and innovations.

This practical guide takes readers across every topic important to address today, including the gender wage gap – even worse for women of color than the collective gender wage gap – and advice and strategies at negotiating better, often the one-time women have an opportunity to close that gap. Again, this skill often gets neglected until MBA coursework.

Harts’ closes with the importance of investing in your personal brand – something that’s talked about more prevalently today among college graduates entering the workforce than when I was in college. She explains what investing in yourself beyond the degree really means – and no, it’s not just being on Twitter or Insta.

I recommend this book as a primer for anyone, not just women of color to take to heart and apply today to start building the career you want for tomorrow.


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