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Advancing Women in the Workplace | Takeaways from Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute 2021

November 16, 2021 Katharine Panessidi

Now more than ever, leaders and organizations have a responsibility to support, retain and advance women leaders into key leadership positions. The state of women in the workplace is improving, but there are still gaps in the advancement pipeline. According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2021 report, we continue to see evidence of a “broken rung” on the first promotion ladder to manager—women continue to be promoted to manager at far lower rates than men. And, the gains in leadership representation for women overall have not translated to gains for women of color, representing only 4% of C-suite leaders.

What does all this mean for women in the workplace right now? Against a backdrop of uncertainty and change, we are at a critical moment. What organizations do today to support women can make the difference for generations of women to come. And, for individual women leaders, the time is now to access the resources and community they need to thrive, even amid great challenges.

Earlier this month, we hosted the Women in Leadership Institute, with a record-breaking number of women in attendance.

The Institute was more accessible to women leaders and organizations than ever before, with both in-person and virtual programming.

I’m grateful for the leading organizations, including our nine Premier Partners and four Institute Partners, that nominated cohorts of high-performing women to attend #LinkageWIL, and for our six sponsoring organizations—including Gold Sponsor NYU Stern Executive MBA Program—that are committed to advancing women leaders. Their support empowered 2,600+ women leaders in attendance to access transformative, meaningful content as part of their leadership journeys.

I am thankful for the thousands of women leaders who chose to set aside time in their jam-packed schedules to recommit to the challenging and important work of their leadership development through this learning experience.

The impact of the Women in Leadership Institute is just beginning. The women who attended WIL have continued access to all the main stage sessions and on-demand workshops through January 31, 2022, empowering them to relive the Institute, refresh their learning and continue their professional development.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the Women in Leadership Institute live, you can now secure your own On-Demand Virtual pass and enjoy all the content through January 31, 2022. It’s the perfect way to experience inspirational keynote sessions and tactical workshops on your own schedule, at a time that is convenient for you. Check out a few of our key takeaways below as a preview of the content included in the On-Demand Virtual program.


  • AWARE | Shannon Bayer, Principal Consultant at Linkage, taught us how to silence the Inner Critic and the 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 we catch it. How will you meaningfully challenge your Inner Critic?
  • BOLD | Transformative leader and legendary athlete Magic Johnson shared how we can double down on our purpose to unlock bold leadership. Do you assert yourself courageously and professionally? Do you speak assertively, and are you willing to promote yourself and your ideas?
  • CLEAR | Former CEO and founder of, Sheila Lirio Marcelo, challenged us to unlock the power of vision, values and dreams. Are you clear about your vision? Are you able to articulate your ideas in a way that inspires forward momentum?
  • CONNECTED | Author and leadership expert Erica Dhawan walked us through her latest research on Connectional Intelligence and Digital Body Language. Do you understand the power and importance of building beneficial relationships with your colleagues? Are you actively working to build and expand your network of trusted relationships?
  • 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. Do you positively impact organizational decisions? Do you ask for what you want and need, and expect to receive it?
  • INSPIRING | Wall Street legend, author and recording artist Carla Harris taught us the importance of lifting as we climb and using our individuality—our authenticity—as our superpower. Do you engage the commitment of others? Are you an authentic leader?

As we wrap up 2021 and begin a new year, my challenge to women leaders is to give yourself credit for all you have accomplished so far. You are incredible. You are enough. Equipped with the content, ideas and community of the Women in Leadership Institute, you—and the organizations that support you—can thrive in 2022 and beyond, ascending to new heights.

Together, we can unlock the Future of You.

Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute was live November 2–5, 2021. Didn’t get a chance to join us for the live experience? On-Demand passes are now available, giving you on-demand access to the recorded conference November 10, 2021–January 31, 2022.

Dark haired woman watches from audience of conference event

Women in Leadership Institute

NOV. 13–16, 2023 | Orlando, Florida, or Virtual
A 4-day immersive learning experience designed to equip women leaders with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles women often face in the workplace.

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