A son’s inspiration

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, January 15, 2011

Author Eric Schoers’ book, “Women Under Glass,” speaks for the experiences of his mother’s time working outside the home. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Ever since his mother walked away from a job selling insurance in Iowa, Eric Shoars of Austin has wondered whether she would have made upper management.

Times were tough for women in 1961, the year Schoars’ mother was part of an all-girl insurance sales team for American Life. There were many restrictions as to what women were expected to do.

“In trying to do her job, my mom was faced with societal forces,” Schoars said. “At that time, women were expected to work inside the home, not outside of it.”

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His mother’s experiences make up a large part of his first book, “Women Under Glass: The Secret Nature of Glass Ceilings and the Steps to Overcome Them.”

Schoars’ book, released in January of last year, shot to the Top 30 best-sellers list on Amazon.com within weeks of its debut. The book, which gives advice, guidance and stories on the nature of glass ceilings for women, is now up for a Minnesota Book Award.

Although much of what Schoars writes in “Women Under Glass” applies to all career fields, he gives an in-depth case study in the radio industry, which he’s worked in for the past 27 years. He’s been on-air, broadcasting sports, news and everything else.

He’s been in radio management, during his time at KAUS in Austin. He’s even worked in sales and advertising for Cumulus Media, Inc. and sat on the board of directors of the Minnesota Radio Broadcasters Association. Yet Schoars had never written a book before now.

“Being an author is something I’ve wanted to do since I was in elementary school,” He said.

He started the writing process for “Women Under Glass” in January of 2004, spurred by his mother’s stories and his desire to share his experiences with others. While the research took about two to three years to complete, the actual writing process took about eight months. He peppered the book with stories from his mother, his co-workers and people he’s met throughout his career on how they’ve faced and overcome challenges in their careers.

“My philosophy is: in this country, everybody should get the same opportunity,” Schoars said.

Schoars has a passion for helping people overcome their own glass ceilings. He may not be a woman, but he has a step-daughter and several nieces who are young now but will get into the working world soon enough.

“I refuse to look at those women and wonder, ‘what might have been for them?’” he said.

Schoars isn’t done writing, however. He has a second book coming out within a few weeks, called “Triumph: Winning Big in Life with Patience, Persistence, and Perseverance.” Similar in nature to “Women Under Glass.”

Schoars offers advice and helps people figure out how to live “by design, and not by default,” as he puts it.

“Somewhere along the line we get told no and we listened,” Schoars said. “(This book is meant) to help reawaken that dream. To determine where that fork is and make a different choice.”

Schoars won’t find out if “Women Under Glass,” is a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award until the end of the month, but he’s confident in his future and hopes to expand the work he’s done helping people.

“Really, ‘Women Under Glass’ is a story of my mom,” Schoars said. “I’m just the messenger. ‘Women Under Glass’ is about my mom and those who have been trailblazers.”

For more information on where to purchase Schoars’ books, go to www.ericshoars.com.