I work in a very male-dominated field. It’s also a very individual one, so there’s not a lot of chance for collaboration among my co-workers, except when the other women in my office and I get together to swap stories and discuss, basically, what it’s like being a woman where people don’t always expect to see us succeed. I felt a lot less alone and a lot more prepared to build more camaraderie among the women in my office after reading Cheryl Stookes’ The Token Woman: A Guide to Thriving as a Female Leader in Sales.
The Token Woman: A Guide to Thriving as a Female Leader in Sales is a quick read, and that’s by design. It’s supposed to be something you read, and then you dip back into it when you want to seek tips and advice in specific areas. The structure is half memoir and half management lessons; it’s a mix that works well. You get concise takeaways on how to handle problem-solving, navigate awkward conversations, and how to balance being tough, professional, and approachable all at the same time.
The memoir aspect helps because Ms. Stookes shares anecdotes that feel pretty universal, and she ties those into her advice, so you can clearly see how her methodology applies to real life.
Many “business” books offer advice, but most of the time, the stories and anecdotes feel forced or manipulated for the book’s lesson. Here, it feels more organic, like the lesson comes out of the story. For example, Ms. Stookes talks about building a network of “unicorns,” other women in her sales field who network, socialize, and support each other. The concept comes after she shares the experience of attending a conference and being invited out with some of the women after a tough day, how that transforms her relationship with the women at the conference, and how she sees the women in her field.
So instead of a hokey “and they all had lunch and learned valuable lessons” type story, Ms. Stookes is sharing something women have all experienced (at least, pre-covid): a gathering of people, and the women tend to seek each other out or at least connect loosely. Then, the lesson naturally segues into how to nurture and benefit from those connections. It’s something I wish I had learned when I first started in my field! I won’t go into more detail and steal any thunder from the book. Still, there are a few chapters, especially those on problem-solving and amplifying others’ voices, that were phenomenal; I see myself trying to implement them with my team in the future.
I had the chance to talk with Ms. Stookes about why she wrote the book and her inspirations, and my biggest takeaway was that everything in the book is 100% genuine. Speaking to her about The Token Woman: A Guide to Thriving as a Female Leader in Sales was just like reading her stories, and it’s quite clear she feels very passionate about sharing her experiences with others.
She’s used many of her techniques and advice throughout her career, and when COVID-19 shutdowns began, it offered a chance for her to sit down and finally put all these experiences and lessons together. Her goal was to make it a light, easy read that can be referenced repeatedly, and she succeeded on that front!
We also had a great chat about what drives her, both in writing the book and in her career, and her observation really stuck with me. Ms. Stookes explained that she measures her career not by her own sales metrics but by how many people have been promoted or moved up in their careers after working for her.
Without getting too deep into gender theory, I think that’s a uniquely female viewpoint because it encompasses more than just the self, rare in a hypercompetitive sales world. But finding the soul in sales is the difference between transactions and relationships, and The Token Woman: A Guide to Thriving as a Female Leader in Sales really captures how to move from a transactional to a relationship-based mindset.
The great thing about The Token Woman: A Guide to Thriving as a Female Leader in Sales is that it can apply at so many levels. In our conversation, Ms. Stookes pointed out that many corporations embrace the idea of diversity but don’t realize that it doesn’t end at hiring — that’s where it starts.
Using the techniques laid out by The Token Woman: A Guide to Thriving as a Female Leader in Sales gives leaders a roadmap to listen to all voices and to cultivate and grow those connections in a way that makes everyone better at what they do. At $5.99 for the Kindle Edition, $11.99 for the paperback, or $18.99 for the hardcover, all on Amazon, it’s a no-brainer to add this book to your shelf-you might find yourself reaching for it more than you think!