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Scaling the Hurdles to Advancement, Together | Takeaways from Linkage’s Virtual Women in Leadership Institute 2020

December 9, 2020 Katharine Panessidi

Last month, we hosted the first-ever, 100% virtual Women in Leadership Institute in the Institute’s 21-year history, and it was a phenomenal week, filled with transformation, community and exploration.

I’m grateful for the leading organizations, including our partner 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 (1,400+ of them!) who chose to set aside time in their busy and stressful schedules to recommit to their leadership journeys through this immersive virtual experience. They showed up excited, passionate, engaged and ready to supercharge their leadership journeys. That takes a lot, especially as we all strive to live and lead in a world impacted by a global health pandemic.

I am excited to share that the Virtual Women in Leadership Institute is now available On-Demand, giving even more women leaders the opportunity to experience this transformative program.

I’m also inspired by the powerful lessons and insights shared by some truly incredible keynote speakers, and for the opportunity to process these learnings with faculty members during Master Classes and Learning Team sessions.

Here’s a little of what we explored together:

  • AWARE | Maria Howard, 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 | Award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien inspired us to put our power outfit on and to assert ourselves professionally and confidently. After all, she said, we have already proven ourselves time and time again. Now, we just have to get out there and get it done. How will you get out there and be bold?
  • CLEAR | #1 New York Times best-selling author Glennon Doyle reminded us that, as women leaders, we can do hard things, but we can’t do impossible things. The reason it feels like too much right now is because it is too much, and we have the right to define our own vision for ourselves and our lives. How will you clarify your personal and professional vision and live your true, authentic self?
  • 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?
  • INSPIRE | Author and leadership strategist Liz Wiseman shed light on how we can all lead at our very best, even during difficult times—without getting maxed out. How will you inspire those around you to new heights during times of crisis?

A new season is upon us. This winter, we will be challenged with perhaps some of the hardest decisions, busiest schedules and most uncertain days of our careers. Women leaders are already experiencing the burden of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis—and one in four women may choose to eventually opt out of the workforce altogether.

We are not through this difficult time yet. But, the women who came together at the Virtual Women in Leadership Institute represent a new community of leaders and learners, bound together by this, and many other, shared experiences. The network our women attendees created during WIL will be simply invaluable as they continue to build their careers and strive to rise to the challenge of 2020—and beyond.

As we wrap up 2020 and begin a fresh 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. And, equipped with the insights and the community you gained at WIL, you are ready to tackle what comes next.

Together, we thrive.

Linkage’s Virtual Women in Leadership Institute was live November 9–12, 2020. 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 until January 29, 2021. Learn more about On-Demand passes.

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