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Carla Harris Closes Out the Women in Leadership Institute | Day 4 of #LinkageWIL

November 5, 2021 Kristen Howe

Today, we conclude the 22nd annual Women in Leadership Institute™—our largest-ever Institute and the first to be offered in person and virtually!  

Be sure to check out our full blog coverage on all four days of the conference, including takeaways from Shannon BayerMagic Johnson and Sheila Lirio Marcelo, and Erica Dhawan and Molly Fletcher 

Let’s dive into insights from Carla Harris, 2021 Legends in Leadership Faculty Chair, who helped us conclude this extraordinary week: 


Carla HarrisDo you engage the commitment of others? Are you an authentic leader? 

The “Inspire” competency is all about authenticityknowing who you are, what you believe, and acting in accordance with those values. Inspiring leaders bring out the best in their people and teams. Regardless of how “tough” their style is, they balance this with warmth and compassion. They effectively engage and inspire the commitment, collaboration and contributions of othersinstead of trying to do it all themselves.  

It’s time to lean into “The Future of You” by tuning into the power of the Inspire competency. Carla invited us to examine how the ongoing pandemic, and economic and social unrest, have changed the way we live. Confines and restrictions in our everyday lives have softened, blurred or disappeared entirely. Throughout the past year and a half, we have adapted, overcome and changed the way we lead—now, as we appear a step closer to the end of a time of great disruption, we must grapple with this important question: What’s next?  

Your introspection, your ability to ask questions and define your own value proposition for yourself—and your work—will be vitally important as we enter this next stage, shared Carla, and she noted that “leadership is a journey from execution to empowerment.” You must engage with others in a way that empowers them. And always—always—bring your authentic self to the table. As we strive to live and lead during an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, our ability to lead authentically is more important than ever. 

Carla, who is Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, taught us how we can lead authentically: Know who you are. Who are you today? You are not the woman you were yesterday, and you’re not the woman you were at the start of this global health pandemic. Understand that we are all multifaceted—own that.

Finally, relax. You are authentically you, so you can meet people where they are. As Carla said, “Your authenticity is your distinct competitive advantage.”

Carla left us with a powerful message about shaping our own futures, and the futures of our organizations: “There used to be a playbook about how you advance, about how you speak, what you say, how you show up. And now, the truth of the matter is, we are in an environment where all the rules are being rewritten.”  

Key Takeaways: 
  • The real way to grow your power is to give it away.
  • The way you amplify your value in your organization isn’t to execute more—it’s to empower people. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Resist the temptation to continue to execute. Own your power—and then give it away.
  • If you are invited to the room, you belong in the room. If you belong in the room, you have a seat at the table. If you have a seat at the table, you have a responsibility to use your voice.
  • “Never dim your light for somebody else’s convenience,” said Carla. You inspire others by being authentically yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to innovate and take risks. Failure brings you the gift of experience, and “fear has no place in your success equation.”
  • Your people are always looking at you—be aware of your own impact. As Carla put it: “When you sit in the leadership seat, people are consuming you. What do you want them to ingest?” 
More from Carla Harris: 
  • BLOG: #LinkageWIL Inspiration Series: Carla Harris on Who Gets a Seat at the Table| We can rise to the moment to empower women and other underrepresented groups to continue to lean into their work and advance in the workplace. Read the blog.  

Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute is taking place 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 from November 10, 2021–January 31, 2022. Learn more about On-Demand passes.

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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