Outlines six principles and best practices for hiring and retaining women with challenging backgrounds
Recently, business leaders have shifted their focus from a profit-only mindset to considering the impact of their businesses on all stakeholders. At the same time, the United Nations set aggressive Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) to improve our world by 2030. These SDGs address all major needs facing our world today, such as: eradication of poverty and hunger, access to clean water, gender equality, and decent work and economic growth. These are significant problems facing the world that have in the past largely been left to nonprofit organizations and governments to solve.
Investors and customers have higher expectations for companies to make a positive social and environmental impact. They want to know business can do good. Following suit, today’s business leaders are starting to recognize we will never fill the gap between where we are and where we want to be if businesses do not also do their part to contribute sustainable solutions to these enormous social problems. This book provides a guide for businesses to make a significant positive impact while also benefiting their businesses.
Business Doing Good outlines six principles business leaders can implement to effectively hire women who have experienced incarceration, poverty, addiction, and/or engagement in the sex trade. While making a difference to both these women and communities, businesses benefit from the women’s resourcefulness, resilience, ability to motivate, and other unique skills and perspectives only available to someone who has overcome difficulties. Investments in women, in general, are exponential as they are more likely to return that investment to future generations. The impact is endless. If we are going to end poverty and create economic development, women who have overcome challenging pasts cannot be excluded.
Shannon Deer, PhD, CPA, is an award-winning professor who prepares undergraduates as well as experienced professionals in business at Texas A&M University. She teaches in the college’s MBA programs and conducts executive develop training for leading companies. Shannon’s work emphasizes the importance of corporate social responsibility and the intersection of business and solutions to social challenges. Specifically, she explores ways businesses can leverage human resource development tools to invest in women in order to positively impact the business, community, and individual families. She lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband, dogs, sometimes chickens, and the screened in porch where she writes.
Cheryl Miller owns Quantum Circles Consulting and Training. She provides training on topics that increase opportunities for transformation in three areas: economic development for the marginalized, effective communication focusing on the facilitation of conflict, and restorative justice. Cheryl has been a volunteer mediator for twenty years and has over a thousand hours of experience of mediation with victims of violent crimes and their offenders. Cheryl was the Executive Director of a housing program in South Texas for eighteen years. Cheryl lives in Victoria, Texas with her husband and chickens and travels as often as possible to see her grown children and grandchildren.
Shannon and Cheryl are both small business owners who put into practice the principles in this book every day.
Chapter 1: Don’t Blink!: Experiential Learning
Chapter 2: I Love You Forever: Immediate Leadership Opportunities
Chapter 3: Here’s the Check: Entrepreneurial Culture
Chapter 4: Peeking in Windows: Translation Factor
Chapter 5: This is My Life: Restorative Justice
Chapter 6: There’s the Door: Partnerships
Chapter 7: Challenges and Solutions
Chapter 8: Rethinking Structures
About the Author
Texas A&M Business professor Deer and Miller, owner of Quantum Circles Consulting and Training, offer an eye-opening exploration of how businesses can benefit by hiring “women our society has marginalized,” including those who have been incarcerated, worked in the sex industry, and recovered from addiction. The authors offer six business concepts that leaders can foster to elevate women while at the same time benefitting the organization’s bottom line. Those principles include an experiential learning model in which employees can learn things on their own; immediate leadership opportunities in which mistakes are part of the process; entrepreneurial culture that encourages creativity; restorative justice in workplaces to address conflict and harm; partnerships between women, businesses, and nonprofit organizations; and a process they call “translation,” wherein lessons gained through “typically marginalized experiences” are translated into work skills. An insightful chapter on solutions to specific challenges in the workplace rounds things out—companies can consider hiring women with criminal backgrounds, they write, and train managers for a no-gossip policy—and powerful stories along the way illuminate how strong and resilient women can make substantial contributions to an organization when given the opportunity. The result is a survey as inspiring as it is convincing.
When companies develop their hiring pipelines, they do not take into account the value that nontraditional candidates can bring to their businesses. Here, Deer and Miller describe how companies can have a significant social impact by investing in women who have historically been marginalized. Women who have overcome addiction or transitioned from sex work, for instance, bring translational skills that make them assets to businesses. The authors outline the ways that companies can encourage and support survivors, such as offering experiential learning opportunities and encouraging entrepreneurial culture. These structures allow women to gain confidence, achieve financial stability, and become leaders themselves. Deer and Miller also describe challenges and structures needed to implement different types of impact-oriented programs. Drawing on Deer’s research into survivors' experiences transitioning from the sex trade and Miller’s work in economic development for marginalized communities and restorative justice, Business Doing Good provides actionable ways that for-profit and non-profit organizations can work together to have an impact on the lives of women who are often overlooked.
Deer and Miller have crafted a powerful guide weaving together compelling stories of women overcomers and well-researched principles. Readers will be captivated by the real-life stories of women featured in each chapter. Through the inspiring stories, they provide readers with a path for making a significant difference like we have worked to do at Televerde by hiring formerly incarcerated women who are mothers, survivors, and overcomers who will change the world.
Transformed for Impact—The authors write, “women who are overcomers can have a positive impact on your organization.” Whether you lead in a nonprofit organization, traditional business, social enterprise, church, community ministry, denomination, or para-church ministry, the management principles in this book will catapult your success in meeting your goals through investment in the professional development of women who are survivors of significant life challenges. Survivor leaders can be a significant asset in your organization, department, or ministry…this book will show you how.
Business Doing Good: Engaging Women and Elevating Communities provides a multi-layered approach to helping women from hard places and organizations who work with them to find opportunities that provide a hand-up in life, skills for employment, and employability. Connections are imperative for individuals and agencies to find corporations that are willing to analyze their own values and to raise the standards of internal culture. Corporations can learn to meet the needs of employees even as it may require a shift in their capacity to see human dignity, value, and worth for each individual. This book provides guidance to all three partners in the process outlined. Real case examples and corporate assessment tools are included to improve culture from within. This “Sherpa”-style guidebook for engaging women and elevating them as individuals also elevates the corporation and their capacity, ultimately elevating their communities.
Business Doing Good unmasks horrifically beautiful stories of marginalized women longing for a better way of life. Their uncensored truths are laid out like dandelions in an unkempt field and demand a clear call for empowerment. The practical principles woven throughout the pages allow for a better understanding of the importance of how wholistic approaches are the key to restoring communities. Once I picked it up I couldn't stop reading. I cried with heartache, sadness, and joy.
As a woman of color who has experienced generational poverty throughout childhood and my adult life—in addition to the racism, sexism, harassment, etc.—I'm so excited this book is being birthed into the world!
This book captures the essence and incredible strength that women bring to the world. Miller and Deer give us a glimpse of this power through story. The principles are presented in the narratives of struggle and resilience of remarkable women. This is a deeply inspiring book that captures the imagination and fans the fire of hope.
Investing in marginalized women is good for everyone. Cheryl Miller and Shannon Deer have done an outstanding job of demonstrating the importance of this for our society. They have presented us six principles that are not only affective but also refreshing for our culture today. Business Doing Good is an excellent book with wonderful practical insights for our world. I was not only inspired but motivated to implement these principles in my personal context. I highly recommend this book to all. It is good to do good!
Compassion changes us. Action changes the world. If we will but integrate the power the pages of this book contain—through Cheryl and Shannon’s plucky experience and stimulating insight—we will fall forward into both, improving our businesses and transforming our communities.
Deer and Miller’s work is one of the finest resources for genuine and lasting change. There is a spirit of hopeful realism pervading every sentence and story. Obstacles to flourishing are met with optimism of what can happen when there is alignment of intention, integrity, and intense commitment. The life stories shared touch every part of my soul. I experienced anger as I read of the exploitation of my sisters. There was frustration as some found it hard to change. There were many tears as the agony of reorienting life toward flourishing was described in detail. And there was joy as businesses, nonprofits, and the women themselves worked together for change.
The blueprints presented here are applicable in any cultural, economic, or social context. The authors avoid the extremes of hyper-individualism and hyper-collectivism that pervade our public discourse. Restoring agency to victims and reforming the structures for access, equity, and opportunity are both vital. I challenge leaders of all traditions and vocations to read this carefully and allow it to change the way you see people and systems, including your particular work.
Please buy several copies and share them with your networks and organizations. If we all take deliberate steps forward in personal action and the pursuit of partnerships, many more lives can be redeemed and restored.
Business Doing Good provides a compelling business case and practical road map for companies to rethink their hiring profiles. By hiring women who have escaped the bonds of drug addiction, domestic violence, and even human trafficking, businesses can benefit both society and their bottom line.
7/30/21, NBC News Now: Shannon Deer and Cheryl Miller are interviewed for a story about human trafficking.
8/2/21, A Plus: The authors discuss why they wrote the book and the benefits of hiring women overcomers.
8/12/21, Thrive Global: Read Shannon Deer and Cheryl Miller’s op ed about the benefits of hiring women overcomers.
8/21/21, KRIV-TV FOX Houston: Shannon Deer and Cheryl Miller were interviewed about the book and how businesses can benefit from hiring women overcomers.
8/28/21, We’re Momming Today! podcast with Lauren Simonetti: Cheryl Miller and Shannon Deer were interviewed about their work transitioning women from jail, addiction, poverty, and the sex trade to become business leaders and entrepreneurs.
9/2/2021, Savvy Broadcasting: Cheryl Miller and Shannon Deer appeared on the Unleash Your Story podcast.
10/25/21, People: Cheryl Miller and the book are highlighted in a story about women overcoming difficult obstacles and bringing a non-traditional skill set to the workplace.
11/1/21, Take A Knee podcast with Adam Carolla: This podcast episode is devoted to discussing Cheryl Miller's story and the book.
11/22/21, Fast Company: This is included in a roundup of books to read to effect change and transform office culture.