Putting Everyday Empowerment into Practice
October 26, 2018
Last night, I had the honor of speaking alongside a group of amazing women on LWT’s Everyday Empowerment panel. For those of you not familiar with LWT (Leading Women in Technology), it is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women to grow their knowledge, leadership skills and networking in order to map their own paths to career success and achieve greater personal and professional impact. My fellow panelists included:
- Claudia Faust, LWT alum, Director of Talent Acquisition, Providence St. Joseph Health
- Ann Nagel, Associate Vice Provost/Privacy, University of Washington
- Megan Manassero, Vice President, Silicon Valley Bank
- Valentina Vitols, Angel Investor and Startup Mentor investing in women founders, Photographer, Founder at Love to Thank
- Carla Fowler, MD PhD, Managing Director at THAXA, Inc., member of Alliance of Angels, Angel Investor of Keiretsu Forum
I found it inspiring that the panelists were willing to be vulnerable and dive deep into personal stories on challenging situations and how to navigate many tough hours, days and weeks. Throughout the session, we touched on empowerment related themes including self-awareness, self-promotion and self-advocacy. Here were some of my favorite takeaways from the evening:
- Claudia encouraged the audience to “speak YOUR truth with love.” Focus on what’s true for YOU, and acknowledge that you are learning and growing every day. What is true for you today might change for you in the future based on your experiences and learnings.
- I loved Ann’s advice on slowing things down and taking time to make decisions. Pausing before reacting helps you stop a downward spiral and gives you time to ask for support and guidance from your network.
- One of Megan’s mantras “just keep swimming” has helped her navigate life’s daily ups and downs. Megan shared insights about surrounding yourself with reliable people and breaking down your path to success “inch by inch and yard by yard” so you can celebrate the milestones along the way. She also reminded us to be gracious to ourselves as we would a friend when the road gets tough.
- One of my favorite comments from the night comes from Valentina who shared “leadership doesn’t mean limelight.” Valentina loves leading through her mentorship of entrepreneurs. There are many ways to lead, and being the one standing up in front of the room isn’t the only option. Valentina also shared her thoughts on failure and the silver lining that it provides for personal and professional growth.
- As an executive coach, Carla had so many good insights for last night’s audience. One comment that stood out to me hit on the theme of self-advocacy. She advised the panel attendees to figure out what their company values. From there, align your self-advocacy to those values. This approach can help create forward motion, which is one of Carla’s primary drivers for feeling empowered.
- When asked a question about how to lead without alienating others, I shared an approach called “disagree and commit.” While not every suggestion can serve as the final outcome, I believe it’s important for team members to know their ideas and opinions are heard and considered. Once a decision is made, it’s important for everyone to commit to that decision so the team can row in the same direction and experience success together.
To learn more about LWT and the great work the organization is doing, visit: https://www.lwtleadership.org