One of the first women to succeed in the acquiring business advises her female colleagues not to hold a grudge, even after industry debates overheat.
Instead, the industry’s women should follow the example of men who put aside their conflicts, says Joyce Cook, president and CEO of International CyberTrans Inc., a Brentwood, Tenn.-based independent sales organization.
“The guys know how to argue, negotiate and disagree fiercely, but then they put an arm around the other guy’s shoulder, have a drink at the bar and leave the baggage in room,” say Cook.
She learned that lesson in male behavior worthy of female emulation in the ‘90s while serving on the board and as a two-term president of the Electronic Transactions Association, she tells ISO&Agent Weekly.
During that same period, however, Cook observed that women weren’t putting aside differences that arose in the board room.
Cook was president-elect of the National Association of Women Business Owners when she resigned from the organization after becoming disillusioned with her colleagues’ inability to set aside differences that arose at meetings.
These days, Cook tries to hire women as sales agents but finds that for every woman who answers a help-wanted ad, about “10 or 15” men apply. She could offer no explanation for the disparity other than the supposition that transaction technology might intimidate women.
Cook maintains that the acquiring business has no “glass ceiling” that would limit women’s advancement, but she finds many women simply fail to make a strong enough commitment to the industry to succeed.
Some women want to pursue sales only during the school day while their children are in class, she says, adding that others simply just aren’t “hungry” enough.
Perhaps Cook hereself serves as the exception who proves the rule. She reports thoroughly enjoying the portion of her career devoted to sales.
An extended question-and-response article with Joyce Cook is scheduled for the July-August print issue of ISO&Agent.