Women in Leadership – Coaching & Keynotes

I’m on a mission to help women bring their strengths, voices, and perspectives to the table.

When it comes to women in leadership, I have a lot to say.

First of all, let me set the record straight:  I work with both men and women – through coaching, training, and keynotes. I like and respect men, and work regularly with them in coaching and training relationships.

That said, I do have a special fire burning in my breast when it comes to supporting and working with professional women. That’s because I believe our world desperately needs the wise, insightful, and grounding energy that women have in abundance. And I feel like the status quo and gender inequities put up huge barriers to female leadership in companies and government.

How do I carry out my mission?

  • Women’s Career Coaching: I work with women in business, female leaders, women executives, and professional women to get clear about their aspirations, pursue their dreams, present themselves with power and grace, and transform their lives.
  • Women’s Leadership Speaker: In conference keynotes, I cover the gamut of women’s leadership topics – including female leadership styles, executive presence for women, and public speaking skills for women. I speak on other topics related to business communications and presentation skills as well, and I’m sought out nationally for women in leadership conferences. My Stop Playing Small presentation helps women in leadership use their voice and physical presence to command more respect in a male-dominated environment. And my Perform at Your Peak keynote gives female leaders tools to step into high-stress “spotlight moments” (like giving a critical speech to the team, or leading a meeting) with greater impact and ease.
  • Female Motivational Speaker: Event planners who need a female motivational speaker seek me out when they want a presenter who is strong, funny, musical, and impactful. My Touch the Sky keynote encourages people– and women in particular– to reach for the best in them in spite of challenges.

There’s a lack of women in leadership roles, and I’d like to do something about it.

According to “Barriers and Bias: The Status of Women in Leadership,” gender inequality and the gender leadership gap is rampant in Fortune 500 companies, board rooms, congress, and the White House. But we don’t need a report to tell us that – we see it and feel it.

Because of gender stereotypes, women’s accomplishments as leaders are often judged differently from their male counterparts. When comparing female leadership vs male leadership, society has downplayed or de-emphasized certain traits that are considered “feminine” like empathy, inclusiveness, humility, generosity, connectedness, collaboration, and balance. Other traits – like ambition, competitiveness, dominance, self-reliance, and risk-taking – are considered more masculine and are often more heavily weighed when considering leadership effectiveness. Men in leadership positions are called strong, firm, assertive, and decisive, while female leaders in those same positions and demonstrating the same skillsets are labeled bossy, aggressive, cold, bitchy, and uncaring.

Pew Research conducted a study, “What Makes a Good Leader, and Does Gender Matter?”, and found that in the United States public’s estimation, a leader (whether corporate or political, male or female) must be honest, intelligent, decisive, organized, compassionate, innovative, and ambitious. Interestingly, most Americans think that women are better at working out compromises, being honest and ethical, and working to improve the quality of life for all.

With regards to women in leadership– and in particular, the C-suite, even though 80% of the public says that men and women make equally good business leaders, many Americans feel businesses are not ready to hire women for top executive positions.

But why? And what can we do about encouraging more women in leadership positions?

  • Do women need to act more like men and demonstrate more masculine traits to get a spot in that corner office? (No!)
  • Do companies and governments need to understand that when women serve with men, new ideas, collaboration, and outcomes reach new heights? (Heck yes!)
  • Do employers need to do the work to create workplaces of inclusiveness, equity, flexibility, and fairness for all genders? (Heck yes!)
  • Do women need to learn to speak up, speak out, and be heard – on teams, in board meetings, in business school or college, and on the public platform? (Heck yes!)

10 Tips for Women in Leadership

Female leadership qualities (like compassion, generosity, and collaboration) are essential.  

What advice is best for women in leadership and female professionals who aspire to leadership roles? This Forbes article, 10 Commandments For Women In Leadership, provides strong tips for women in leadership positions based on years of professional women’s experiences. Here’s my take on that article:  

1. Don’t be too modest about your contributions – You already work hard, but don’t assume that the higher ups are taking notice. Don’t be afraid to tactfully toot your own horn.

2. Build your own fan club – Network, network, network! Make connections with those you can help and those who can help you. Yes, there’s still an old boys’ network, so do what you can to build your own support base.

3. Forget perfection and prioritize – You might want to do it all and have it all, but usually something has to give. It’s impossible to achieve perfection with everything all of the time, so decide what comes first, then next, then next.

4. Choose your battles – Choose where you will focus your energy at work, at home, and with yourself. Hold your boundaries, and moderate your emotions. Decide when it’s worth it to charge into battle.

5. Ask for what you want – Studies show that women’s salaries lag behind men’s because women don’t ask for raises or negotiate. Men ask for more money, and you should too.

6. Dress to impress – Your appearance can help you convey leadership. Seek out a well-dressed female leader and emulate her style. Amp up your power with a power suit and a stylish look.

7. Choose your words wisely – Research also shows that women talk more than men. Yes, I’m an advocate for women to speak up! But don’t be afraid to pause, collect your thoughts, and then succinctly communicate your message.

8. Deliver on your promises – If you make a commitment, fulfill it. No excuses – just do it. If you can’t do it, then reconsider before you raise your hand for another to do item.

9. Project positivity and confidence – A pessimistic attitude is gloomy, and affects others’ opinion of you. Remember – good leaders see the big picture and know that things that seem like difficulties today might be used to your advantage tomorrow.

10. Use your power and passion to get ahead – In the Forbes article I referenced above, the author says “Don’t sleep with your boss.” Since that seems to be a given, I’m going to alter that last commandment. Do your best work, and work to create a supportive environment. Bring your passion to the office, but leave the flirting and sex appeal at home. Here’s a hilarious video to demonstrate my point.

Seeking a keynote presenter or women’s leadership coach?

Call 734.622.0522 or send me a message today.

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Eleni's motivational and uplifting TOUCH THE SKY program encouraged (the women at the Chelsea Community Hospital Health and Wellness Center) to have passion and purpose in both their lives and workouts. It was truly wonderful!

A. Sargeant Member Services Manager, Chelsea Community Hospital, Health and Wellness Center, Chelsea, MI July 19, 2016