Ella L.J. Edmondson Bell, Stella M. Nkomo
Harvard Business School Press, 2001
ISBN: 1578512778

"A persuasive, insightful and poignant look at the fate of black and white female executives in the U.S." — Chicago Trubune

Our Separate Ways

Professors Bell and Nkomo's book, based on eight years of groundbreaking research, compares and contrasts the experiences of 120 female ma nagers in U.S. business. It uncovers the surprising differences between black and white women's trials and triumphs climbing the executive ladder. In-depth histories bring to life women's journeys from childhood to professional success, highlighting roles played by gender, race and class.


"Bell and Nkomo have provided a well-respected and thought-provoking look at some important aspects of race and gender in corporate America." — Publisher's Weekly

"These poignant narratives highlight six 'significant flashpoints' in the women's journey: breaking into management, adjusting to corporate environment, encountering barriers, overcoming barriers, making change in the work environment, and coming to terms with personal life choices." — Booklist

"Bell and Nkomo offer a comprehensive analysis of how the lives of black and white women executives differ before they enter the workforce." — Black Issues Book Review

"Bell and Nkomo, who spent years compiling their data, said black and white women have much to learn from each other, adding that their goal was not to simply point out the differences in career advancement but to help women develop strategies for creating a better work environment." — Boston Sunday Globe

"They offer an unflinching look at the racism and share painful first-hand accounts from black female professionals about the times they encountered discrimination and isolation in the workplace." — BusinessWeek Online

Comments on the Book

"Finally, a book that gives vibrant voice to the unique experiences of black women in corporate America. Through their tight research and engaging prose, Ella Bell and Stella Nkomo reveal that race continues to influence professional relationships between black and white women, despite their shared subordinate status vis-à-vis white men. Here are dramatic illustrations of why stereotypes about black women are worth combating—not only as a matter of simple justice, but because of their corrosive effect on the bottom line." — Derrick Bell, Visiting Professor, New York University Law School

"Corporate America would be more successful if managers recognized and addressed the issues of race and gender in their organizations. Our Separate Ways captures these conflicts from both personal and business standpoints. This book provides an excellent road map." — Billye Alexander, Senior Vice President, Sears, Roebuck and Company

"The stories in Our Separate Ways show clearly that we can't expect to create an equal playing field in corporate America if the price remains so high for all those who aspire to achieve." — Steve Reinemund, President and Chief Operating Officer, PepsiCo, Inc.

"This book is full of wisdom, pain, triumph, and practical solutions. Those of us who have stormed the glass ceiling will identify with the stories of these pioneering leaders. More important, we can learn about the power of solidarity from the experiences of our black sisters who face the 'concrete wall.'" — Scotty King, Managing Director, Salomon Smith Barney

"In this original and powerful work, Bell and Nkomo lay bare the high price that women, and particularly black women pay in order to succeed in the competitive, take-no-prisoners culture of corporate America." — Price M. Cobbs, M.D., Psychiatrist, Founder and President, Pacific Management Systems