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Leadership, Ladies!

Tonight I attended an event for my sorority called the Leading Woman Speaker Series. The speaker tonight was Judith Schechtman, M.S.W., a Senior Consultant and a principal in Triangle Associates.

Judy’s talk was very informative and interesting and I took some notes in order to remember what she said and to share it with those who weren’t there.

Five ways to be a strong leader, even if you’re female.

  1. Respect yourself
  2. Be confident in yourself
  3. Use open body language and maintain eye contact
  4. You don’t have to be the best in the room to be an amazing leader
  5. Be bold. It’s okay to mess up. What is important is to pick yourself back up and keep moving forward.

Good leader ≠ Extrovert only

  • A good leader does NOT have to be an extrovert!
    1. Some of the best leaders lead from the back or sides
    2. You don’t have to be in the front to lead
    3. It doesn’t matter how much you say, but rather what you say
    4. You can be an introvert and still be an amazing leader.

Some interesting stories from Judy & Questions asked by members of my sorority

  • Stories / Real Situations
    • A woman and a man send the same email out to clients. The woman has an obvious female name, such as Brittney. The man has an obvious male name, such as Scott. Scott gets a response after the first email. Brittney has to email the same person three times before she gets a response.
    • Go into a bookstore. Walk over to the business section. Search for “leadership” books. Go to the “how to” section that explain a specific person’s successful leadership style. Check the authors. Mostly male. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as their leadership styles can be successful too. The problem is that the male leadership style is not always successful for women, simply because they are women.
    • Judy is a co-president of her company, and at a conference she was introduced as the “assistant” because the man introducing her simply had a bad assumption. I think this speaks for itself.
  • Questions
    • I’ve been told that I’m too short and have too high pitched of a voice. What do I do?
      • A five foot tall female with a high pitched voice can be 10x the leader of a six foot tall male with a deep voice. All that matters is that you’re able to project your voice. If you’re like me and don’t have a loud voice, use a microphone! What is most important is what you’re saying, not how you look or the pitch of your voice.
    • What should a woman do when she is told that she is “too sensitive?”
      • Saying someone is “too sensitive” is just an easy let-down.
      • It’s another way of saying someone needs to get “thicker skin”
      • Assess the situation and look at the source to determine if you really are being a delicate flower.
      • Think about a woman who has thick skin. Perhaps, Hillary Clinton. What was she often referred to as? (Hint: a b*tch) So really, you’re either too sensitive or you’re a b*tch.

 

Don’t let gender (or age) stop you.

Believe you can.

Be bold.

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