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Award-Winning Journalist Marilu Galvez on How Women Leaders Can Tap into the Power of Authenticity

October 1, 2022 Deana LaFauci

For women leaders, the ability to come together as a community can make all the difference. We recently hosted a free session featuring two incredible women leaders—Shannon Bayer and Emmy Award–winning journalist Marilu Galvez, who is a 2x alum of the Women in Leadership Institute.

Hundreds of women leaders from the Women in Leadership Institute community and beyond tuned in, and the insights we gained are simply too good not to share. Check out the recording of the conversation and check out my big takeaway here:

Key Takeaway: Tap into the power of your own authenticityand you will positively impact those around you.

What does it mean to show up fully authentically to work, in an environment that may not be welcoming to women or people of color?

Marilu shared a poignant example from her leadership journey: “I didn’t start wearing my hair curly until I became a VP. I feel sad about that. We have to fight to be true to ourselves and who we are. Why was I feeling so uncomfortable? It comes with a deeper understanding of how I grew up and the influences that constantly quieted me.”

Marilu invited each of us to explore the parts of ourselves we are hiding from the work world and understand the societal influences and pressures that are influencing the way we show up at work.

As president and general manager of WABC-TV New York, she actively encourages her on-screen talent to wear their hair how they want, including natural hairstyles. Through her leadership, she is both personally challenging the societal status quo and building the positive culture needed to empower people to bring their full selves to work.

As Marilu told her inspiring story, the chat lit up with comments, and it was clear that she had touched on a topic that deeply affects many women:

“To be my authentic self, I wear my hair in a way that expresses my uniqueness, knowing that it goes against the stereotypical ‘rules’ of appearance. It is a tough balance, but necessary for me to be me,” shared one leader.

“I didn’t feel comfortable wearing my hair natural until I lost it all to cancer,” shared another leader in the chat. “When it grew back, I could finally say I just didn’t care, and wore it natural.”

And some expressed continued reservations: “I am still reluctant to wear my hair in any style other than a bun or a sleek ponytail.”

For Marilu, the ability to show up at work as her true self unlocked her leadership potential—and allowed her to serve as an authentic leadership example for others around her. “If you can see it, you can be it,” said Shannon. “Having examples around you is so important.”

As Shannon and Marilu engaged in this critical conversation, I was reminded of a pearl of wisdom from Wall Street Legend Carla Harris, who returns to the Women in Leadership Institute in 2023.

“The last thing any of us should ever do is submerge that which is uniquely you,” says Carla. “Your authenticity is your distinct competitive advantage because nobody can be you the way you can be you. When you try to speak or behave in a way that is inauthentic to who you really are, that’s when you create the competitive disadvantage.”

Marilu, Carla and Shannon are all pointing to an important truth: When we tap into our authenticity and show up fully in our work and in our lives, we unlock our highest potential to inspire and influence those around us. And when we live and lead authentically, we create a vibrant image of what fully realized, inclusive leadership looks like and we model the inclusive culture we all need to thrive.

We can achieve this—but only when we have a network, community and sponsors actively supporting and championing us along the way. “You are not alone,” said Marilu. “There are conferences and opportunities like the Women in Leadership Institute. These were people who gave me the confidence to break out of my shell and be noticed. You will find that network of people who want you to succeed.”

It is an honor to partner with leading organizations and corporations, like Marilu’s, to serve women leaders on their leadership journeys and empower them to make the connections they need to thrive in today’s workplace. The conversations that happen when women get together are enduring sparks of inspiration that carry us forward, recharging our batteries at important moments.

Empowering women to new leadership heights. The Women in Leadership Institute brings together 3,000+ women leaders in person in Orlando, Florida, and virtually each year—and registration is now open for the 2023 conference, November 13–16.

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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