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Takeaways from Glennon Doyle and Soledad O’Brien at the 2020 Virtual Women in Leadership Institute | Day 2 of #LinkageWIL 2020

November 10, 2020 Kristen Howe

The Virtual Women in Leadership Institute is underway—and today was simply incredible.

This week, attendees are participating a multifaceted virtual program carefully designed to accelerate personal and professional growth. Each of the 1,400+ women leaders in attendance is experiencing a journey of self-discovery and transformation—and we are thrilled to give you an insider’s look.

Today, women leaders heard from two keynote speakers: #1 New York Times best-selling author Glennon Doyle and award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien. These two women leaders have unique perspectives about life and leadership, and the insights they shared with us are life changing.

Be sure to check out our key takeaways from Day 1 of #LinkageWIL, then dive into Day 2:

Glennon Doyle on the “Clear” Commitment

Glennon Doyle is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Untamed, Love Warrior (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), and Carry On, Warrior. An activist and thought leader, Glennon was named among SuperSoul 100’s inaugural group of “awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity.”

When Glennon was a young girl, she had a snow globe with a dragon inside. She was petrified of the dragon, so she’d shake the snow globe and cover it with swirling snow. She covered up what she feared.

People, says Glennon, are like snow globes: “We want to keep ourselves shaken up at all costs. We do it a million ways—food, booze, Netflix, over-socializing. When the snow settles, there’s a scary dragon inside. The dragon is the truth of things.”

COVID-19 was a “forced settling” of the snow in our lives. Suddenly, explained Glennon, we were stuck with ourselves. We’re facing our dragons, and for women leaders striving to live and lead amid an unprecedented health crisis, it can feel like a lot.

During a conversation with me, Glennon shared how these dragons—the habits we form when we face what seem like unsurmountable hurdles—can be slayed when we live our truths and find our vision.

Key Takeaways:

  • We can do hard things, but we can’t do impossible We need to leave the idea of “toxic positivity” behind as we strive to rise to the challenge of COVID-19. The reason that it feels like too much right now is because it is too much.
  • Women do not need to make likability their number-one priority. We have been trained to be peacekeepers and temperature takers, but there is a cost to that—mainly, the loss of our voice and perspective in the world.
  • When you are making a big change, be ready for those around you to be the most resistant. But remember, your job is not to convince them that you have the right to live and make changes. Your job is to abandon everyone else’s expectations of you so that you don’t have to abandon yourself.
  • When you claim your freedom and live true to yourself, you automatically grant permission for everyone in your solar system to live freely and live true to themselves too.
  • While everyone seems to have different hurdles, they are all kind of the same. All women’s hurdles—in the family, workplace, in politics—are largely based on outwardly bold or inwardly quiet misogyny.
  • Categorize every opinion about you as if it were mail—and throw away the junk. Only 3% of the feedback you receive will be about the work or ideas you put into the world. Focus on that feedback and allow it to empower you to grow and do better next time.
  • Trust your instincts, your intuition, and bring it everywhere. We need to be fully human at work.
More from Glennon:
  • BLOG: 5 Tips for Women in Leadership from Glennon Doyle’s New Book | Glennon’s most recent release, Untamed, is a memoir full of inspiring—and relatable—material. By applying her life experiences to business situations, there’s a lot we can all learn. Read the blog.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Glennon on Instagram | Filled with engaging questions, hilarious Instagram live broadcasts and appearances by celebrities and friends, Glennon’s Instagram is one of our favorites to follow. Check it out.


Soledad O’Brien on the “Bold” Commitment

What does “bold” leadership look like? For award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien, it’s not about bursting into a boardroom and claiming a spot at the head of the table or running into your boss’s office to make a demand.

Instead, she sees bold leadership as strategic leadership—having a plan and executing on that plan, for yourself and your team. “Bold, to me, is about being prepared for opportunities to come your way,” said Soledad. “And, sifting through those opportunities in the chaos to make sure you’re heading in the right direction. Bold for me is about being scared or worried but going ahead and doing it anyway.”

During this time of uncertainty, as we all strive to rise to the challenge of an ongoing global health pandemic, it can be hard to feel bold. And it’s okay to acknowledge this, says Soledad. “I don’t feel very bold with coronavirus. I feel anxious, sleep deprived. I’m worried about my 13 employees. I’m a mom with four kids.”

Soledad brings her bold leadership to life through the power of storytelling, as she delivers a fresh perspective on diverse and contemporary issues to foster change in our communities and organizations.

As the host of the Sunday morning syndicated political show Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, Soledad has established herself as one of the most recognized names in broadcasting by telling the stories behind the most important issues, people and events of the day. A champion of diversity, she gives voice to the underserved and disenfranchised through her Emmy-winning reporting and acclaimed documentary series, Black in America and Latino in America.

During this engaging and informative session on “Bold,” Soledad shared behind-the-scenes stories from her time as a producer, broadcast journalist and business owner.

Key Takeaways:

  • Boldness deconstructed is strategy.
  • Chaos is an opportunity to show your leadership skills. You can, in a very difficult moment, show people what the face of leadership could be.
  • The energy you give off is important. If you feel confident and bold, you will be bold.
  • No one is good at winging it. Never wing it ever. Prepare!
  • Work on getting better. Your Inner Critic can’t just be complaining about what you do badly. Your Inner Critic needs to be constructive.
  • Keep a list of three things you are working on and add to it as you are successful.
  • You need feedback about what you do well and what you need to improve on. Know your strengths and know your weaknesses, too, so you can tap others around you, who are stronger in these areas.
  • Bold leadership is about asserting yourself professionally, confidently. You know your stuff; you have your armor on. You’ve done this many times before—and now you need to deliver.
  • Understand that you are on a path. Everything is not going to go perfectly. You are on a journey to getting better, to improving over time, to heading in the right direction. It’s about being ready for the moment—and going out and getting it done.
More from Soledad:
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Soledad on Twitter | Soledad has her finger on the pulse of what’s happening at every minute of the day. Follow her on Twitter for the latest from this award-winning broadcast journalist.


What’s next at the Virtual Women in Leadership Institute? Tomorrow, we turn our attention to keynote presentations from Liz Wiseman and Carla Harris, with a special Legends in Leadership presentation from Alan Mulally and the Gamechanger Negotiation Master Class. 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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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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