Scaling the Hurdles to Advancement, Together | Takeaways from Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute 2019

By Jennifer McCollum on November 25, 2019

This month, we hosted the 20th Annual Women in Leadership Institute in beautiful Phoenix, AZ, and it was a week full of exploration, discovery and transformation for us all.

I’m inspired by the powerful lessons and insights shared by some truly incredible keynote speakers. I’m grateful for the leading organizations who nominated cohorts of high performing women to attend #LinkageWIL. These organizations are committed to the advancement of women leaders, and they are acting in concrete, meaningful ways to attract, retain and advance diverse talent.

Above all, I’m thankful for the women leaders (all 1,100 of them!) who showed up excited and ready to commit to supercharging their leadership journeys. It takes a lot—curiosity, vulnerability, and a sense of adventure—to make the most of #LinkageWIL, and I am impressed by their passion and commitment to scaling the high hurdles to women’s advancement.

I’m also inspired by the powerful lessons and insights shared by some truly incredible keynote speakers, and for the opportunity to process this new awareness with faculty members during Deep Dives and Learning Team sessions.

We learned that there are high hurdles to advancement for women in the workplace–but by mastering six competencies, we can scale these hurdles and accelerate our potentials as women leaders. Here’s a little of what we explored together:

AWARE | Susan MacKenty Brady, the author of Linkage’s Mastering Your Inner Critic and 7 Other High Hurdles to Advancement, taught us how to silence the Inner Critic and harsh thinking we apply to ourselves and to others, by returning to our Compassionate Center. We must pay attention to that Inner Critic and press pause when you catch it. What is your Inner Critic saying to you right now?

BOLD | Soccer superstar, Olympian, activist, and author Abby Wambach encouraged us to be bold by demanding the ball….but also giving credit to our teammates. “If you are the goal scorer, you better be pointing. And if you’re not the goal scorer, you better be rushing towards them,” she said from the main stage. She also reminded us that we all need a Wolfpack to support us on our journey in this lifetime. Who is in your Wolfpack?

CLEAR | Neurologist Tara Swart, MD, PhD, and author of The Source, taught us how to get clear on where we want our lives to go and the importance of taking care of our bodies to keep that clarity of mind. As you scan your body, what is it telling you, and what is it asking for?

CONNECTED | Wall Street Legend, author, and recording artist Carla Harris taught us the importance of being intentional about cultivating relationships and pushing ourselves to build a network with others who can support our aspirations. Whom do you need to connect with now for the goals you have set for yourself?

INFLUENTIAL | Trailblazing Sports Agent and master negotiator Molly Fletcher taught us that we can be more influential when we face our fears, own our mistakes and build our resilience.   What is an opportunity before you right now where you can use your influence.

INSPIRING | Entrepreneur, social change activist, and investor Shiza Shahid inspired us with her powerful demonstration of purpose in action. We can all inspire when we’re clear on our purpose and operate in alignment with it. How would you articulate your purpose?

When I took to the main stage to wrap up #LinkageWIL last week, I invited attendees to close their eyes, take a breath, and answer the following questions for themselves: Who will you be? Are you clear about the direction you will take with your leadership, with your career, and with your life? And what kind of action will you take? ​

As we enter one of the busiest times of the year, I remind women leaders everywhere of an important truth: It doesn’t matter whether you dive, jump, or fall gracefully over that advancement cliff…just set the intention and take the next step.

My wish for you all this holiday season is to do something brave and bold to move toward your greatest potential. We at Linkage are here to support you.

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. Reserve your spot to join us in Dallas, Texas on November 9 – 12, 2020.

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About Jennifer McCollum

Jennifer McCollum is CEO of Linkage, where she oversees the strategic direction and global operations of the Burlington, MA-based company. She has 20 years of experience building and leading businesses in the leadership space, with a focus on leadership development, assessment and analytics. Her area of expertise includes bringing analytic rigor to critical talent decisions by linking leadership behavior to corporate performance outcomes.

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