The Mirrored Door: Break Through the Hidden Barrier That Locks Successful Women in Place

At some point in their careers, many women encounter the “mirrored door” ― the place where, when presented with opportunities, they look inward and hesitate, determining they’re not ready or worthy enough to speak up or advance professionally. In her book The Mirrored Door: Break Through the Hidden Barrier that Locks Successful Women in Place, Ellen Connelly Taaffe, clinical associate professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, draws on research, stories from her own career, and those of her students and the mid-late career women she has coached. 

Taaffe explains why women get to a certain level, and then encounter barriers that prevent them from taking the next step in their careers as expectations rise. She brings a new framework to this conversation, with immediately actionable ideas, identifying the barriers that come from within. 

In this book club series, we will meet during four (virtual) sessions to navigate and discuss the three sections of Taaffe’s book and conclude the series with a session with the author herself. While it is advisable to read each section of the book prior to the sessions, you will benefit from participating even if you have not read the full section we are discussing. This is a no-judgment book club! Come, learn, and share what you know from your own experience.

Facilitated by WEST Advisory Board members, and executive coaches Etta Jacobs and Tammy Gooler Loeb, each session will be highly interactive and friendly! Optional exercises and activities to do in between sessions to support your goals and interests will be offered.

Session 2 - Break Away: Relearning Success Strategies

We will focus on five strategies for success that can, at times, unintentionally sideline us. Our discussion will explore the ways in which we can use these strategies to work for us vs. against us. Ellen Taaffe calls these the five perils of success:

  • Preparing to perfection

  • Eagerly pleasing

  • Fitting the mold

  • Working pedal to the metal

  • Performing patiently

We will examine how these strategies might have served us earlier in our careers, and how they can become limiting behaviors as we advance. Then we will explore different skills and new approaches that can serve our goals to grow as leaders.


Date and Time:  
August 1, 2024
6:00-7:30 PM ET


Members: $5; Non-Members: $15


Given our mission is to promote women's development in STEM we would like to offer a free spot in our workshops to those in transition between jobs or who cannot afford the ticket price. Please contact [email protected] if you qualify.


Register Here

Don't Miss the Other Great Events in This Series:
The Mirrored Door: Break Through the Hidden Barrier That Locks Successful Women in Place- Session 1
The Mirrored Door: Break Through the Hidden Barrier That Locks Successful Women in Place- Session 3