Leadership in today’s day is an evolving role. Be it a man or a woman, an individual who can inspire and drive their team to success, is capable of this coveted role. Women in leadership have shown they can not only lead their teams but also create a space for future leaders. Women’s Leadership Conference 2017 is a virtual conference that helps young and aspiring leaders acquire skills and tools that will allow them to grow professionally and expand their horizons.
We talked to Andrea Learned to understand more about women in leadership as a part of our conference. Andrea is a leadership consultant and works with social and environmental thought leaders and organizations.
What do you consider the most pressing issue for women in leadership?
The most pressing issue is for women to get comfortable “claiming” their wisdom and business abilities, and to become “louder” (via social media, speaking, writing Op-eds etc.) about sharing their knowledge, especially with other women.
Do you think women leaders should rely on their peers and why?
Yes – but they should not look for support first, but BE a support for others and cheer others on. That’s how they will build social capital for when THEY need support from their peers. Too often, I think people seek help and expect it before they’ve contributed whatever they can to that community first. From my social media engagement and thought leadership development experience, there is HUGE opportunity for those who give long before they expect to receive.
What was a defining moment in your life, related to leadership?
The first time someone I had interviewed and wrote a blog post or article about ended up coming back to me a few years later to consult with me- was a defining moment. That was when I realized I never had to ‘sell’ myself too strongly. Asking questions and being sincerely interested becomes a platform for sharing your own smart ideas in subtle but powerful ways. I became an influencer in the climate action communications space by being myself and – as I call it – “loving up” all the amazing smart thinkers I come across. My leadership is in the fact that I have social capital I can now leverage for myself or for clients.
What advice would you give to women in leadership?
Feel comfortable that you are uniquely suited to be a leader in the very particular niche area that is of most interest to you and step INTO it. I transitioned from writing a book (Don’t Think Pink – published in 2004)/consulting in the “marketing to women” realm by intentionally calling myself an expert in reaching women in the sustainable business world. No one else had quite the background I did, or claimed it as much as I was able to online.
With more women coming to the forefront, there are more examples for other women to look up to. As we have learned, being there for others and supporting them through their journey are great ways for women to rely on their peers. Contributing to the leadership community will also take you farther than you’d thought. It’s only a matter of time before all your contributions help someone grow into a great leader.
You can learn more at https://www.womelle.com/wwlc2017/ and polish your leadership skills.
To reach Andrea Learned, check out https://learnedon.com.