Reviews of Out of My Lane
Eileen Padberg approached me in 2003 about traveling to Iraq with her to help the Iraqi women. I had just met her, so I was a little hesitant to quit my job with a bank and uproot my life. But, in retrospect, I am so happy that I did. Eileen depended on me to help her through the cultural landscape and I depended on her to implement a plan that would in real time help Iraqi women become independent business women and government officials. Sometimes it seemed like no one thought our efforts were important, but Eileen would never let us give up. We persevered in the face of some very difficult times. My mother and father had moved to Baghdad a few days after the U.S. declared “war.” I liked being close to them and knowing that they were there. Unfortunately my father was kidnapped in 2005 and to this day, we know nothing. I cherish the time I spent with Eileen. It was a growing experience.
A truly amazing easy read that brings the war in Iraq and one woman’s effort to develop opportunities for women into sharp focus. Without being offensively judgmental Ms. Padberg points out the flaws of American policy and its implementation , and especially the government’s failure to even recognize the value in utilizing the skills and experience of women.
Insights from a civilian championing a cause, making connections and improving business opportunities for Iraqi women. Eileen Padberg you are to be commended for your commitment to not only Iraqi women, but to all women. Out of My Lane is unfiltered and a good read!
For three months, I was there with the author and she accurately captures the sense of struggle, danger, frustration, determination and triumph on the part of Iraqis and coalition members that existed in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.
Felt I was in Iraq as well. Great reminder that we all need to get out of our lanes if we want the world to be a better place.
As an expert in military affairs, I found Ms. Padberg’s account of her service in Iraq compelling, credible and extremely powerful.
Co-Author, The Complete Idiot’s Guide To The Pentagon
You have written a compendium about the future role the US must play, in planting the seeds of democracy in a troubled world. Guns, bombs, and bombast, may be required, but must be accompanied by clear-headed strategic thinking. Your two year seminar in Iraq outlined what could have worked and what failed. In throwing money, bad policy, and indifference to the cultural norms of that country or any country , and failing to understand the under-appreciated power of those leaders in a matriarchal society like Iraq, prefaced another failed crusade.”
Former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration; former Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Awarded the President’s Medal for dedicated federal service, presented by president George H. W. Bush.
Eileen Padberg writes with a “steely eye and a steady hand”, transporting us to the “front line” of rebuilding Iraq while the people are still in war. Tasked with ensuring Iraqi women could build their businesses to help reconstruct a “new” Iraq, Padberg steps into a situation that is even foreign to the locals.
Eileen Padberg’s new book, Out of My Lane: Leveling the Playing Field for Iraqi Women, provides a unique perspective on the war in Iraq – that of a 60-year- old civilian and California political consultant dedicated to women’s rights, who took on the daunting task of helping repressed Iraqi women participate in the economic rebuilding of their country. It’s a gripping tale, both terrifying and fascinating. Eileen brings a new and unique insight to the quest to understand America’s seeming tragic inability to bring Iraq either peace or democracy.
Eileen Padberg has long been able to spin a good yarn about political campaigns and corporate communications. In “Out of my Lane” she once again tells a good story that not only entertains but leaves you with a better knowledge of what the Iraqi War was about, how we made some progress as well as met some failures. Eileen does a great job of informing the leader about an all-too- often overlooked program to enhance the lives and financial future of Iraqi women the U.S. at a minimum paid lip service to; but thanks to Eileen and her team, progress was made in spite of hurdles around every corner. The sad part is not enough was allowed to happen by obstacles at every level. While no screaming feminist, Eileen does an artful job of reminding all of us that the lot of women worldwide has a long way to go. This book is a must read for anyone whole is looking for a total picture in our far-too- long involvement in Iraq.
Using a comfortable, easy style in her writing, the author tells about her uphill struggle with both the U.S. and Iraqi governments while trying to fulfill her contract and commitment to aid the Iraqi women into establishing women owned businesses to better their lives and those of their families and friends. Blending her personal, and sometimes humorous, stories with her frustrating roadblocks made this book real and honest. Having spent time in the same facility with Eileen, I too, walked away with a frustration at the lack of preparedness and planning by the U.S. government and yet a feeling of accomplishment in all we were able to do for Iraq. This book is for everyone as it gives all readers a great way to learn about the author’s efforts to help the women of Iraq.
Padberg has written a fascinating and compelling tale of her time as a civilian woman working in war-torn Iraq. That alone would qualify it as a great and worthwhile read. But what elevates her book to “must have” status are two truths she lays bare for all to see: American efforts at nation building are a disaster, and if we ever hope to see better days, we need to elect more and more women. That’s not the author talking. That’s this reader, who’s a 65 year old man. Thank you, Eileen Padberg, for an important book.
Full disclosure — the author is a dear friend. I also heard this story in “real time” through emails and the occasional visit during her long 22 months in Iraq. This woman is indomitable. While many highly paid contracts stayed in the Green Zone, Eileen knew it was her mission to educate the women business owners in Iraq how to compete effectively for US small-business contracts. She would not be deterred. With her close associate Esra, they found every way possible to move around the country, to bring women together — women who themselves were at times at risk for attending an American event. They spent each day at personal risk, often with mortars falling nearby, even in the Green Zone. They gave up personal comfort for the adventure of a lifetime — and made a big difference in the lives of many women.
Julie Meier Wright