Twenty-eight speakers are slated for this year at the 4th Annual Working Women State Conference at The Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa on Friday, Sept 9. Leading women speakers from around the country will share their stories during this conference designed to motivate, educate and inspire.
Leaning in, leaning back and leaning in together: What do women make of the advice to be more active in their career ladder, workplace allies, and the differences in generations?
Several career coaches in the Tampa Bay area will discuss the concept of Leaning In, made popular by Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In and the next evolution of Sandberg’s plan, Leaning In Together, at the fourth annual Working Women State Conference, Sept. 8-9, 2016, at The Straz Center for Performing Arts in Tampa.
Kari Saddler, owner of Daily Leadership Coaching, a one-on-one daily coaching methodology created to help people improve their leadership at an accelerated pace, has worked in leadership development for 17 years.
After having three babies in three years she struggled “to be a woman and a leader and a mother at the same time.” She was very familiar with the question all women ask themselves: “Should I care more about work or about my family?’”
“We always feel that they both get shortchanged, and we spend our lives in this place of scarcity,” said Saddler.
That’s why she feels strongly about bad bosses and good bosses and coaching people on the differences.
“A good leader can create an environment of helping you manage that better,” she said. “Do they make things harder or make things easier? Do they trust you that you’re going to get your work done?”
When it comes to being a workplace ally, it’s important to give people valuable feedback.
“You have to be willing to step in there and help them with how to deal with difficult situation. It’s also important to deal with different communication styles and to value diversity of thought, she said. Her biggest tip is to learn how to accept feedback.
“If you can’t do both you will never grow as a leader. You have to do it with compassion.”
She believes that most women who excel are the ones who are successful at reaching down to help others.
Michelle Turman of Catalyst Consulting is an advocate of leaning in together, as well as mentoring other women.
“In the early stages (of my career) I had opportunities, but I really had to assert myself and take the hard knocks.” After being in art museum management for 17 years, she decided four years ago that there was a need for executive searches specific for non-profit organizations.
Now, she fixes organizations and serves as a change agent. She also tries to engage women in conversations so there is a decrease in competitiveness.
“We’re trying to break down these walls and break down the vulnerability,” she said.
“My hope is to really paint a picture on the importance of the Meaningful Mentorship series created by Working Women of Tampa Bay,” she said.
Already, there have been 60 matches since the program started. She also chairs the University of South Florida’s Women in Leadership & Philanthropy program which aligns the MM members with women on campus.
“Mentoring is a huge component and brings workplace confidence,” she said. “I have found women to be generous with their time,” she said. However, time is so limited and if they have a family outside of work they know that’s the priority.
Michele Norris, founder of Navigen Leadership, works in development, executive leadership coaching and generational leadership, preparing organizations for what’s coming in the evolving workforce, after 30 years in sales leadership for Fortune 125 organizations.
Her expertise includes how to better lead the workforce of the future and coaching leaders to navigate through turnover problems, succession planning, change, culture and engagement.
“It isn’t about generational differences, but how we leverage the strengths of each generation to do things in a much more efficient and exponentially productive way,” said Norris. “There is a huge demographic shift happening.”
“We all have different talents and the unique way of working. This is changing the work will be done in the future.”
She coaches organizational leaders to transform their culture and leadership to attract, retain and develop millennial talent who will be 75 percent of the workforce in only nine years.
“They want a different type of leader. With millennials, it’s very important for leaders to be trusted. They want leaders to be collaborative, transparent, authentic and even vulnerable. Traditional leadership models make this a transition for some organizations.”
However, she says, women innately have these traits.
“We are hard-wired with these traits, but have tended to not engage them in our work life because leaders could never be ‘weak,’ which is the older definition of vulnerability. Millennials define a vulnerable leader as courageous.
“Millennials,” she says, “get how to be collaborative, authentic, transparent and vulnerable because we raised them to be that way. We really had that knowledge all that time because we taught them to be what we couldn’t be at work. Transformational leadership is not only allowing these traits, it is demanding them.”
“It’s time for women to reshape the world of work and focus on how women can embrace these natural qualities and realize that they’re strengths.”
“Human beings don’t want to be told what to do, they want to be empowered to do what they do best. We have to find out better ways to motivate them to do their best work. I believe female leaders will “lead us out” into this transformational perspective.”