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The Women in Leadership Institute Kicks Off before 3,000 Women Leaders | Key Insights from Day 1 of #WILinstitute

November 1, 2022 Kristen Howe

The 23rd annual Women in Leadership Institute™ (WIL) is here!

This afternoon, we kicked off a four-day conference designed by and for women leaders. Continuing a tradition we began just two years ago, we are meeting both in-person in Orlando, Florida, and broadcasting live to women leaders around the world through our virtual platform.

At WIL, more than 3,000 women leaders will be joining us for a week focused exclusively on themselves and their own development.

Consider this: The Women in Leadership Institute will reach thousands of women leaders this week, but the impact doesn’t stop there.

After WIL concludes, these women leaders will return to their teams, organizations and their personal lives totally energized and inspired—and prepared with new insights that will allow them to soar.

I am reflecting on an important truth: Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, women leaders have been dealing with more than ever. We know that women have been disproportionately impacted by the effects of the global health crisis—and we continue to feel the pinch. We are all still juggling with child and elder care, the stress of uncertainty and increased anxiety.

Here’s what I know for sure: Women cannot go it alone. When we are isolated, we are missing our spark of inspiration. And to overcome these challenges and to lead others, we all need a community of supporters and champions.

That’s why the Women in Leadership Institute is so powerful. Above all, the WIL experience is about community. Over the next four days, passionate and engaged women leaders will come together to share insights and learn from one other, but they will also become friends and mentors, allies and champions for one another.

Each year, I hear from WIL alumni who continue to return to the Institute and who meet with their fellow alums throughout the year through the WIL Accelerator program and informal meet-ups. The connections that come from WIL are life-changing for these women.

The theme for WIL 2022 is ReCHARGE, ReIMAGINE, ReIGNITE. As we come together for a week of learning, we recharge our energy, reimagine what is possible for us on our leadership journeys, and gain the insights we need to reignite our leadership potential.


WIL is all about your empowerment as a woman leader—what could be more impactful than that?

Be sure to follow along here on the Linkage Leadership Insights blog for coverage from each day of the conference and follow us on social media for in-the-moment insights.


Do you seek and utilize reflective and in-the-moment self-knowledge? Do you recognize the value you bring?

The “Aware” competency is all about your ability to understand yourself and stay in tune with your value—and your needs. Aware leaders are open-minded in thinking about their capability and potential to achieve. They don’t put limits on what is possible. They know how to best leverage their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses in order to achieve goals. And they keenly consider the impact their behavior has on others. Because of this, they control and filter their emotions in a constructive manner, empowering others around them to grow in a healthy environment—and letting themselves thrive.

We kicked off the Institute by hearing from Shannon Bayer, Principal Consultant at Linkage, who shared her insights into one of the most prominent hurdles to women’s advancement in the workplace, the “Inner Critic.” This hurdle is especially relevant given today’s stressful environment, which requires us to juggle our home and work responsibilities differently in response to the global health pandemic.

The Inner Critic is the voice in our head that, when unmanaged, causes us to speak or act in a way that is “one up”—better than others, or “one down”—judgmental of ourselves. These feelings negatively impact our relationships, our brand, our outcomes, even our career aspirations.

Shannon presented these tips for managing your Inner Critic:

  • It’s up to us to understand what factors in our environment trigger our Inner Critic. When we develop awareness, we can learn to manage the noise in our head that can lead to chaos in our lives. It’s also important to understand the compounding effects of stress on our Inner Critic, and how it exacerbates our triggers. The ongoing pandemic and its economic consequences have seen women leaders facing unprecedented stresses—when was the last time you gave yourself grace?
  • What we think and feel drives what we say and do. Leadership begins with us. We must understand ourselves to lead effectively—and to navigate the hurdles that impact us as women leaders.
  • We can practice returning to Compassionate Center with four simple steps:
        1. Become aware (notice your Inner Critic and what triggers it)
        2. Push pause (stop doing, start thinking)
        3. Be compassionate (be kind to yourself and others)
        4. Get curious (ask yourself: “What’s going on here?”)
  • There is power in shifting from an Inner Critic to an Inner Coach—and that power helps us harness our full potential.
  • Compassion is not just about what we give others—it’s what we allow ourselves to receive. Remember that the practice of returning to our Compassionate Center is ongoing—strive for your best effort, not perfection.


What’s next at the Women in Leadership Institute? Tomorrow, women leaders in attendance will hear from Maryam Banikarim on the “Clear” competency and Caroline A. Wanga on the “Inspiring” competency. Be sure to continue to follow along on the Linkage Leadership Insights blog and on social media for in-the-moment insights.

Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute is taking place November 1–4, 2022. 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 14, 2022, through January 31, 2023. 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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