It was another promise of the new economy: We'd finally move from the old rules of the old boys' network to a workplace based on merit. Just how well has that promise been kept? Find out what two successful women have to say.

Edited

PHYLLIS MAGRAB
Professor of Pediatrics and Director
Child Development Center
Georgetown University School of Medicine
Washington, D.C.

I didn't enter Georgetown thinking that I would be anything but successful. I wasn't aiming for tenure. I was focused on the work and the mission: finding imaginative ways to support chronically ill children and their families. I focused on linking with the physicians who were here to achieve that goal. My training and experience have taught me that if you enter a group with the belief that you have something positive to contribute, then you have a better chance of succeeding.

When I think about the past five years in this country, I find it rather remarkable that the New Economy could have been so robust, yet so many women have been left behind. So although my colleagues accept me as an equal, leveling the playing field for mothers and their children in our society hasn't happened. We have not yet solved the problem of the poor - poor women or poor children. A large percentage of women still don't get prenatal care. Insufficient health insurance disproportionately affects women. The New Economy has not really lifted the bottom. In fact, the gap is greater than ever. I don't think it's a political issue. It's an issue of will and personal commitment on the part of both women and men.

SUSAN ARNOLD
President, Global Personal Beauty Care
Procter & Gamble Co.
Cincinnati, Ohio
I don’t consider myself a trailblazer. I don’t have horror stories to tell you. I’ve been treated fairly throughout my career, and I’ve shattered some glass ceilings along the way. I was able to attain my current position for two reasons. First, I delivered excellent results. As a vice president, I oversaw multiple businesses in beauty care and led our largest profit center in North America to the best results we’d had in a decade. Second, I had great advocacy at the top: Our CEO was my first boss. And he has always been a firm believer in diversity and fairness.

I’ve had multiple mentors in my career, and they have been central to my success. Women often tell one another that they have to “get a mentor,” and it becomes a forced thing. I’ve always gotten to know my mentors in business situations, and my relationships with them have been based on working together.

I mentor as many people as I can now — and I specifically try to be available to women. We find each other through natural working interactions. My best ad-vice is to give it time. The best, most effective mentor relationships are ones that develop naturally.