Thursday, January 9, 2020

Book Review: 'The Parlay Effect: How Female Connection Can Change The World' by Anne Devereux-Mills

The Parlay Effect by Anne Devereux-Mills

‘We are all stronger when we are connected’

Multitalented author Anne Devereux-Mills earned her degree at Wellesley College, and has been Chairman and CEO of advertising agencies in New York City, survived disruptions to her successful career, and moved on to found Parlay House, ‘a salon-style series of gatherings which now includes over 5,000 women across the US, Europe and the Middle East. Parlay House's objective is to provide thought-provoking content and a safe space for women to have intimate and authentic conversations that don't happen in other aspects of their lives, and to connect with women outside their traditional social, demographic and career-influenced circles.’ As impressive as these achievements are, Anne is also committed to philanthropy, activism in health care, social justice, women’s rights and contributions, and to her important role as executive producer for documentary films. Her impact is widely felt and honored.

Anne opens her luminous book with sharing her life’s changes that ultimately resulted in her founding and fostering The Parlay House, and the manner in which she relates this journey underlines her commitment to others. She inserts memorable phrases that produce an emotional response in the reader: ‘The “good life” was not about accumulating wealth, but about doing good and feeling good,’ and “small actions can create a cascade of positive change -- in your life and in the lives of others’ among others. Stating her purpose in her introductory comments, she offers, ‘I set out to replicate that magic of growth through difference – and to do it by building a community of women. Ideally, the organization I envisioned would include a wide-ranging group of dynamic women and provide a safe place for us to gather, laugh, relax, talk about important ideas and, for at least a few hours every month, put ourselves first, something women rarely do. I wanted to explore this idea of self-expression.’ 

Once her dream project was launched, Anne shares, ‘The gatherings had the power to help others parlay one chapter of life into another, and to use our strengths to help one another…empowered by other women. Women don’t just pay it forward; they pay it outward.’ And the poignancy of her concept - the impact of One Small Thing – serves as an impetus to make positive changes in personal lives and in the world in a manner that is a natural transfer of sharing out of empathy and celebration of self acceptance and ‘giving something of ourselves for the sake of another.’

THE PARLAY EFFECT, as a book, is a resource desperately needed at this time - and of course during any time! Anne Devereux-Mills is a radiant humanitarian, an important guide for us all. Very highly recommended.