Book Buddies

in Ambition for a Lifetime

As educated women, we must always foster a desire to be a better version of ourselves and one way we can do that is to expand our depth of knowledge. Lifelong learning expands our minds and knowledge set which is critical in today’s fast pace. The most effective way that I have found to continue my education is through reading with a friend who shares my passions. One of the many valuable things AOII has given me is the connection with women across the continent. While serving on the Education Committee I have had the opportunity to get to know Jaynellen Jenkins better. In our time together, we have been able to compare stories about life as elementary school administrators. We quickly began to correspond not only about AOII topics, but about school-related things as well. Each time we read a career related book, we share the titles with each other. As she has been working on her doctorate, Jaynellen has also been filling up my nightstand.

One of our favorite topics has always been organizational culture and morale which led to us reading Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Effective Groups by Daniel Coyle together. We found application from this book for our careers, community organizations and our AOII volunteer life. As one another’s reading buddy, we found online journaling along the way to be a helpful tool to our learning and a way in which we could share with one another from a distance. We also practice using new online formats with one another that we can readily transfer into our workplace settings. We used, a free online journaling tool, to share our favorite take-away lessons with one another and additional resource links. We then challenged each other to integrate an idea generated from our reading into our practice and then reflect back with one another afterwards.

According to Coyle, highly effective groups work on these three things:

  • Building safety
  • Shared vulnerability
  • Establishing purpose


Identify a reading buddy or book club of sisters or peers who share your passions. Try an online journal like or use a traditional hard copy version to track your thinking. Make time for one another up front and personal or use technology resources like Facetime and Google Hangouts to cut the distance between you when connecting to discuss what you’ve been reading.

Dive Deeper

For Alumnae Chapters

Culture Code: The Secrets to Highly Effective Groups has great applications to your AOII experience, your community volunteers and for the teams you find yourself part of in your workplace. Read it as an alumnae chapter and discuss at meetings, or partner up to read it and share reflections and takeaways at your members’ own pace.

Laura Dunlap is an alumna of Kappa Tau (Southeastern Louisiana U) and a member of the Education Committee.

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