Kicking off our 20th and largest #LinkageWIL ever in Phoenix today!

By Kristen Howe on November 11, 2019

Susan MacKenty Brady appears at Linkage's Women in Leadership Institute in 2018.

Today, we kicked-off Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™ (WIL) in Phoenix, AZ before a crowd of over 1,100+ passionate and inspiring women leaders. 

As Jennifer McCollum, CEO of Linkageshared with us, this sold out conference is the largest gathering that we’ve ever hosted in the Institute’s 20-year history–and from the level of excitement in the Grand Saguaro Ballroom, you can absolutely tell. 

This week, attendees will experience a multi-faceted program carefully designed to accelerate personal and professional growth. They will go on a journey of self-discovery and transformation–and we are thrilled to give you an insider’s look at this experience.  

Every day, we will bring you highlights, including our favorite sound bites and some of the most memorable leadership ideas, concepts, and quotes shared by our expert faculty. (And, you can follow the conversation on Twitter or Instagram using #LinkageWIL!) 

Let’s jump into Day 1: 

Keynote: Susan MacKenty Brady on Being Aware  

What we think and feel drives what we say and do. There are a lot of voices in our head competing for our attention—they often trigger us to feel grandiosity (one up) or shame (one down). These feelings can negatively impact our relationships, causing us and those around us pain. Susan MacKenty Brady, author of Mastering Your Inner Critic and 7 Other High Hurdles to Advancement, introduced us to her Inner Critic and gave us practical thinking to help us lead from a place of Compassionate Center.

What we learned: 

  • Leadership begins with us. We have to understand ourselves in order to lead effectively—and to navigate the seven hurdles that impact us as women leaders.
  • It is vital that we acknowledge, examine and address the societal and organizational barriers that hold women back from advancing in the workplace. The seven hurdles faced by women in the workplace weren’t created or caused by women.
  • Practice returning to Compassionate Center—start by pausing and noticing how you’re feeling before you react. Do not advocate, make a request, seek to repair or speak until you re-frame and are back to center. 
  • Your next destination is not where you’ll find happiness. Source how you feel about yourself from inside. 

To hear more from Susan, follow her on Twitter.

Assessment Review: Unlocking Your Best Insights with Mark Hannum, Chief Research Officer at Linkage

From getting selected during the hiring and promotional process, to fitting in with an organizational culture imbued with masculine values, women leaders face many organizational challenges when it comes to advancement. On top of this, women leaders also face the “Double Bind”.  That is, we expect women leaders to represent everything we expect of women (compassionate, affectionate, and warm)–while also expecting them to emulate what we expect of male leaders (assertive, competitive, dominant). 

It’s a lot to juggle, and that’s where Linkage’s Women in Leadership Assessment™ comes in. All attendees complete this 360-degree assessment, which identifies strengths and key areas for growth opportunities. With Mark’s guidance, leaders began to consider these factors, while taking away valuable insights for the future.

Here are some ideas Mark asked us to consider:

  • There’s no such thing as a perfect leader. Over more than 2 decades of debriefing these assessments and coaching leaders, Mark has never come across a 360 assessment with perfect scores. “Perfect” leaders simply don’t exist.
  • Each leader is unique, from their personal style, to their personality traits. Every single person has a unique leadership fingerprint. Unique leaders value their uniqueness, and don’t try to become “average”.
  • When you see a large discrepancy between how you rated yourself and how you were rated by others, there is an important area of opportunity to explore.

For more key insights from Mark, check out Linkage’s latest book authored by him; Become: The Five Commitments of Purposeful Leadership.


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.

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