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Linkage’s 100% Virtual Women in Leadership Institute Begins | Key Insights from Day 1 of #LinkageWIL 2020

November 9, 2020 Kristen Howe

Today is the day—the Women in Leadership Institute™ has begun!

This afternoon, we kicked off our fully virtual Institute—the first in the Institute’s 21-year history.

As I logged into the Linkage digital platform, “stepped into” the virtual Lobby, and clicked into the Networking Lounge, the names and faces of the women joining us for this transformative online experience popped up on my screen. Wow! What an incredible experience to come together, virtually, with 1,400+ exceptional women leaders. What an invigorating source of inspiration and energy.

This year has been incredibly difficult for women leaders. I’ve personally felt it, and from the many conversations I have had with women leaders leading up to and during Day 1 of the Institute, I know you are feeling it, too.

That’s just one reason I am so thrilled to welcome so many women, and such exceptional keynote speakers, to the Institute in 2020. In a regular year, women benefit from a community of other women leaders. In a year like 2020, those support networks, and the ideas we hear from other women, become especially vital.

The women leaders who join us this week will meet other women from across the country, who will become their network for years to come. And, on the mainstage, they will hear insights from some truly incredible women leaders. It’s a transformational experience with an impact that will last for months. That gives me goosebumps and hope for the future!

This year, we purposefully made the Institute more accessible than ever. Many of the women leaders in attendance are joining us through an All-Access pass, while many others are experiencing WIL through Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Keynotes PLUS passes, which give leaders an abbreviated experience. Women leaders have busier, more irregular schedules than ever before—and I’m proud that women in attendance were able to choose the format that best fits their goals and schedule.

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.

Maria Howard on the “Aware” Commitment

We kicked off the Institute by hearing from Maria Howard, Chief Revenue Officer and 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 commitments differently in response to the global health pandemic.

The Inner Critic is characterized by the voices in our head competing for our attention—they often trigger us to feel grandiosity (one up) or shame (one down). These feelings can negatively impact our relationships, causing us and those around us pain.

  • It’s up to us to understand what factors in our environment trigger our Inner Critic. When we develop an awareness, we can learn to manage the noise in our head that can lead to chaos in our lives.
  • What we think and feel drives what we say and do. Leadership begins with us. We have to understand ourselves in order to lead effectively—and to navigate the seven 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); 2) Push pause (stop doing, start thinking); 3) Be compassionate (be kind to yourself and others); and 4) Get curious (ask yourself: “What’s going on here?”).
  • Do not advocate, make a request, seek to repair or speak until you reframe and are back to center.

More from Maria:

  • Blog: How Women Can Glide Over the Hurdles to Advancement in the Workplace | Maria shares three big takeaways from her recent virtual webinar with Sally Helgesen. Read the blog.
  • Blog: How We Commit to Be Purposeful, Inclusive Leaders in 2020 and Beyond | Linkage’s research proves that effective leaders are, at their core, inclusive leaders, shares Maria in this blog post. They manage effectively across difference, bringing out the talents, skills and contributions of a diverse workforce. Read the blog.

What’s next at the Virtual Women in Leadership Institute? Tomorrow, women leaders in attendance will hear from #1 NYT best-selling author Glennon Doyle and award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien. We’ll also dive into a Master Class on the Inner Critic and experience the “Women, Race, and Advancement in the Workplace” panel. Be sure to continue to follow along here on the Linkage Leadership Insights blog and follow us on social media for in-the-moment insights.

Linkage’s Virtual Women in Leadership Institute is taking place 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 from November 16–January 29, 2021. Learn more about On-Demand passes.

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