By Katie Anderson

Staff writer

By Katie Anderson

Photos by Celeste Van Kirk

Whether they’re Jimmy Choo, Converse or 5.11 Tactical, a Canonsburg resident is telling women to choose the shoes that best fit them and to wear them with confidence.

In her recently self-published book “Stiletto Standards,” Suzanne Malausky lists 10 standards that she describes as “what every woman needs to know to live the life of her own design.”

The book was published in March, but before the standards were a book, they were a blog Malausky started in 2008. At the time, she was an independent leadership and human resources consultant, who wanted to learn how to blog.

“I wanted to give it a try,” she said.

She started posting a blog entry at 6 p.m. every Saturday for 10 weeks. Situations Malausky witnessed people go through in the workplace, as well as her own life experiences, inspired the stories

“The other driving force was to help empower women in the workplace,” she said.

The standards Malausky had at the end of the 10 weeks she later formed into chapters of her book. They are as follows:

Control your emotions.

Know your strengths.

Sharpen your negotiation skills.

Learn to make change.

Manage your brand.

Develop and practice political savvy.

Refine your leadership style.

Be your life’s editor-in-chief.

Weave a strong web.

Keep your eyes on the future.

“We always have choices, so rather than becoming a passive person in life and our careers and communities, we could be making choices to be more active in the pursuit of our own success,” Malausky said.

Malausky would send the blogs to her life-long friend Kim Sanders, who now lives in Morgantown, W.Va., and works in healthcare.

“I always knew she was an amazing storyteller,” Sanders said. “She’s a very authentic writer, and she’s always very positive. All of these points she makes really are relevant to any woman trying to carve out success in life.”

After the blog ended, Malausky had thought about forming the entries into a book, but the economic crash of 2008 happened, and she went back to work for “corporate America,” she said. She no longer had the time to work on the project.

After about a decade, Malausky, who is a Waynesburg native, started her own consulting company called WeInspire Talent Solutions. She revisited the blog, added depth to some of the stories, modernized it and hired an editor to help her turn it into a book.

“It was designed to be kind of a self- directed workbook,” she said.

In the book, Malausky uses shoes to explain that real success requires being true to who you are. She said that while stiletto heels may be a symbol of professionalism in society, success can’t be determined by the type of shoe one wears.

“It’s less about the type of shoe you’re wearing and more about the fact that you’ve chosen them and they represent you,” she said. “It’s about choosing your shoes, walking in them with a purpose and standing confidently in them.”

Malausky has a lot of shoes, but her go-to shoe is a wedge heel, she said.

“I have to do me, and there are too many varying opinions in the world to worry about pleasing them all,” she said.

Malausky’s daughter, Abbe Huffman, said she was proud of her mom for the work that she’s put into the book. Huffman, who runs a daycare out of her Waynesburg home, said that she too was able to pull tips from the book.

“My work isn’t in a corporate setting,” she said. “I’m not wearing stilettos every day.”

Huffman said that while she was growing up, she watched her mom work hard every day.

“She’s always been a very hard worker. It’s something I admire,” Huffman said.

Though the intended audience of her book is women, Malausky said she believes her standards are universal. She wrote in the introduction of the book that her goal is “to help women be who they want to be, to define their own success without being limited by a lack of choices, self-confidence or knowledge.”

That’s why 10 percent of her book sales, Malausky is donating to Dress For Success, a nonprofit organization that collects professional attire donations for women in need. They also provide professional development tools to help women with job interviews and other life achievements.

“Their values align with mine, and it was my way of giving back to the community,” Malausky said.

The 209 books she’s sold so far have raised about $376 in donations, and an April launch party at the Southpointe Golf club raised an additional $600. She’s offering corporate sponsorships so the women who use Dress for Success services can get copies of the book. Malausky also plans to have an annual springtime fundraiser for Dress for Success.

“Stiletto Standards” is available on and will soon be available on, as Malausky recorded her own voice reading the book at the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped where she volunteers. It’s also available for purchase at the Fashion Shoppe and Giant Eagle in Waynesburg.

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