Over the last few months, we’ve seen many events cancelled, postponed, or moved to a digital experience. Thankfully, last week, the 41st annual Simmons Leadership Conference (SLC) took place via Cisco Webex. SLC is the premier women’s leadership conference in the world, attracting over 4,000 middle and senior-level women attendees. The event features speakers who are role models and thought leaders on issues relevant to women in the workplace and world.
This year, we heard from amazing speakers including Dambisa Moyo, PHD International Economist and Author; Yeonmi Park, Human Rights Advocate; Pat Mitchell, CEO and Producer; Sonia Manzano, Emmy Award-Winning Actress; Muffet McGraw, Head Coach at Notre Dame; Serena Williams, Tennis Champion, Activist and Entrepreneur; and many more. Each speaker sharing her story brought a unique perspective, positive energy, and incredible insight that left us feeling inspired.
It was an honor to speak in a panel alongside Lorrin Ortiz Mena, SVP of University Partnerships at 2U and Tracy Ryan, President of Global Risk Solutions North America at Liberty Mutual Insurance. Together, we discussed the positive uses of power, how we define it, and how we use it. Today I will summarize some of the key insights I shared during this panel in hopes that I leave you feeling a bit more inspired as I did after this event.
Power Is Influence
What does power mean to me? Power is about influence, and everyone has influential abilities – no matter what your role may be. Whether in a leadership role or individual contributor role, you can influence others. It doesn’t matter what organization or industry you are a part of. We all can (and should) strive to positively influence those around us. Everyone has a voice, so choose to use yours for something beneficial.
Power and Authenticity Are Not Mutually Exclusive
This was a game changer for me, but it took me a while to realize it. Thankfully, I had a great female leader early on in my career who led by example. She helped me to realize that it was okay to be my authentic self, even if I was the only one in a room who looked “like me”. For my entire career, being a female in a male-dominated industry has had its points of feeling intimidating. It took practice, but once I embraced being ME I was appreciated for it, and hope to have rubbed off on others along the way.
Your Actions Matter
Act as if what you do makes a difference – because it does. A quote that I have hanging in my office says: “Power is not position and title, power is an action and example.” We all have the ability to lead by example, and people take notice of the things you do each and every day. “Doing good” is what’s good for business, and that is something that has resonated with me greatly in these uncertain times. Have the courage to influence, act, and be yourself as we push forward and evolve together.
I’m thankful to be surrounded by so many who lead by example, because together, we can influence for good. Let’s strive to create teams and cultures that want diverse, inclusive and innovative thinking. Let’s show up as our true selves and embrace each other for that.
Keep “doing good” – for yourself, your teams, your companies, and your communities. Because YOU matter.