Hattie Hill interviewed 2,800 women for her book, Smart Women, Smart Choices. She's chief executive officer of Hattie Hill Enterprises Inc., a training and consulting firm in Dallas. Here's what she has to say about working women.

LEADERSHIP — “Focus, competitiveness, and flexibility are the three main things that hold women back,” she says. “We're too busy multi-tasking to sit down and figure out how to move to the next level.” Women also tend to have a hard time being competitive. “Men have always been focused on making the money, getting the job. We haven't. We need to realize that it's OK to ask for it, and it's OK to get it.” And the guilt has got to go. “You'd be surprised at the number of women who will spend hundreds of dollars on suits but won't spend $50 for someone to clean their house….Just shake off the guilt.”

WORK-LIFE BALANCE — “The key is not wanting to have it all, but defining what ‘all’ means to you,” says Hill. What you need to do is figure out what your pressures are — responsibilities as a single mother, job-related travel, the crazy meeting planner schedule, whatever. Examine what you're passionate about in your work, your family life, and your volunteer activities, she says. Then look at your current position realistically. “I just got married — an elaborate wedding in Baltimore and a reception in Dallas. For the first time in 15 years at this company, I worked at 60 instead of 110 percent. I could do that because I had good people working here to get things done. Ten years ago, I would have just gone to the church down the street.”

“People don't work just for money anymore. They want to feel engaged,” Hill says. “Women have innate skills in building connections and teamwork. We're naturals for leadership.”