5 Truths About Advancing Women Leaders

By Kerry Seitz on October 31, 2018

The 2017 Women in Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas.

We’re looking forward to welcoming the recipients of Linkage’s Women in Leadership Executive Impact Award to the stage in a couple of weeks at our largest-ever Women in Leadership Institute™ in Phoenix, AZ.

Carla Harris, Institute Co-chair and Vice Chairman, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, will moderate a panel with our 2018 recipients, giving us the opportunity to hear their insight and advice firsthand.

This award recognizes leaders who have demonstrated a deep commitment to advancing women and have accelerated the growth of others in their organization and community.

We recently sat down with three of the recipients for a deep dive into their leadership stories. From these conversations, we’ve selected five impactful truths about advancing women leaders:

1. We must create support structures for women.

When it comes to advancing women leaders, Chris Hause, Chief Sales Officer & VP Marketing, Sales & Business Development for Commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid Markets at Kaiser Permanente, points to the importance of creating support structures for women.

“This includes creating new opportunities, encouraging mentors and sponsors, measuring progress, succession planning, and inspiring others to aim high through networking and relationship building opportunities,” said Haus.

2. Mentorship is rewarding–for the mentee and the mentor.

For women leaders, mentorship is a vital aspect of the support structure necessary for advancement. And many women leaders, including Millie Marshall, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, find that mentoring an emerging leader can be a rewarding and meaningful experience.

“I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring a lot of women,” said Marshall. “Every time they are successful, I feel a deep sense of pride. Watching others grow, experiencing and celebrating their successes along with them, is extremely fulfilling. I believe I get more out of the mentor/mentee relationships than the actual mentee!”

3. When it comes to inclusivity, bring people to the table.

According to Haus, once you articulate a vision of what you aspire to be, it’s time to begin building support for that vision. “I’ve been very inclusive with my teams—I allow them to participate and drive diversity and inclusiveness in a way that enables them to lead the work,” said Haus. This buy-in from your team and organization will be critical as you begin to build out a support structure for women leaders.

4. When women leaders come together, it’s truly inspiring.

When we make the effort to bring women leaders together in collaboration, something truly important happens; the exchange of advice, ideas, and insights that we wouldn’t have gained otherwise. Maureen MacInnis, SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer and Communications at Dentsply Sirona, explains that bringing women leaders together–especially for the first time, can be affirming.

5. Advancement comes in waves.

Leaders who are invested in advancing women leaders understand the complex and multi-layered commitment that must be made on both an individual and organization level–and they know that true change takes time. “Don’t expect that, just because you want to be advancing women or creating diversity, it will happen overnight,” said Haus. Instead, the legacy of advancing women leaders is one that works in waves, according to MacInnis. “It goes beyond a single individual or a group—it involves changing a mindset and opening opportunities for everyone,” said MacInnis.

Inspired by this year’s winners? So are we! Share your favorite takeaway with us in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Twitter so you can catch our live coverage of the Executive Impact Award Panel at #LinkageWIL on November 14, 2018.


Since 1999, Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™ (WIL), a four-day immersive learning experience, has equipped more than 10,000 women with actionable strategies to overcome the seven hurdles women often face in the workplace. Follow #LinkageWIL for insights from center stage.

Posted in Blog, Inclusive Leadership, Leadership Development, Women in Leadership Tagged with: , ,

About Kerry Seitz

Kerry Brady Seitz is the Executive Director of Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™, where she oversees the design, development and execution of this global signature program for high-performing women leaders. She also guides the design, development and delivery of Linkage's Advancing Women Leaders & Inclusive Leadership Solutions.

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