From Internal Flame to Emerging FIRE

 

It feels as though we’ve made up for the glacial pace of 2020 with this year passing by in the blink of an eye!

My instinct this time of year is to slow things down, to enjoy the deep dive of the darker days and go inward, to surrender fully into stillness…aaaaah.

And yet this year the world seems to be swirling with aliveness, with the coming emergence of the light in a way I have not felt since the beginning of the pandemic.

Are you feeling this too?

[SPOILER ALERT: Changes, Reinvention and BIG Emergence coming your way soon!]

From Internal Flame to Emerging FIRE

In the Northern Hemisphere, today is the shortest day of the year – the day when our access to the Sun’s power is at its lowest.

According to Rudolf Steiner, this is the opportunity for us to turn inward, to draw power from our own light. In Waldorf education, one of the many creations of Steiner, the children walk a large spiral, in the dark, to a lone candle in the middle, where they light their candle and walk back out through the spiral, but this time with their light to guide them. It’s so tender to see their nervous little faces as they walk to the light, only to walk back out with an energy of triumph!

Do not underestimate this light within you, even though it may seem so very small and distant at times.

In the long nights of winter, the strength of our internal light is enough to navigate even the darkest of times — like the effects of a loooong pandemic!

This tiny flame is the fire-starter that will set your emerging journey ablaze.

And while the novel coronavirus has taken so much from us, it did offer us something in return.

Before 2020, it felt like we were on autopilot. Floating through our lives, striving for the next thing. The next promotion. The next speaking gig. The next relationship. The things that would — should — make us happy in the long run.

But what I learned in the past few years is that the answers aren’t outside of us. We don’t need to go on a solo trip around the world to find ourselves (and believe me, I have a dream!).

As much as we love Elizabeth Gilbert (and we do!), we can’t Eat Pray Love our way out of the world’s pain and suffering. Everything we need to be happy and fulfilled, we can find within ourselves.

This pandemic has given us the ability (and time!) to turn ourselves inward. Which inevitably ends up turning us back outward. When we do the work to connect to ourselves and fill our cups through self-care and rest, we are then able to move this energy outward and use it to nurture our relationships.

And to do the work that really matters. In a way that works for US.

Last year, we were stretched and stretched and stretched all year long. We learned just how resilient we are.

This year? We ride the fire.

Together.

I’m so grateful for you, the Emerging Women tribe. I’m grateful for the relationships we’ve forged throughout the years and for our shared humanity.

However you celebrate this time of year may you feel the love that surrounds you.

Leadership Equity: A New Paradigm for Power

Leadership Equity

The way power is playing out right now is just not working.

Our current power structure is based on an old model that was designed to reflect the needs and the desires of just a small representation of humanity. Our view of power has become distorted and unhealthy, and it’s not inclusive of the voices and perspectives in our world today.

What we want is equitable, equal, just, and compassionate power. Not power over, but power with.

What we need is a new system of power that best reflects our shared humanity.

Leadership Equity is personal, community-driven, and systemic power that is used for the service of others and is representative of our diversity.

What Is Leadership Equity?

Similar to financial equity, Leadership Equity is a balance sheet of assets; yet, instead of financial assets, we’re talking about our influential assets: our clout, influence, and position in our communities and the world.

It is the value we’ve built through our work in current leadership platforms.

Yet the definition of equity doesn’t just speak to what we own — it also refers to how we use what we have in this world. The true definition of equity is: “the quality of being fair and impartial.”

True Leadership Equity isn’t used to benefit ourselves and our own communities. Leadership Equity is best used when helping to level the playing field for others.

The three ways in which we can build leadership equity within ourselves and out in the world are within the realms of:

— I
— We
— The World

Our growth, development, and impact in all three dimensions are what creates our Leadership Equity. How we use this equity within these three realms is how we shape our vision of the world.

Leadership Equity in the Realm of I

Everything starts inside the Realm of I.

All ideas start as whispers from our inner voice. These ideas are influenced and birthed by our values and belief systems. What matters most to me?

My truth. My acceptance. Celebration of my stories.

Our individual wholeness is the root of our personal expression in the world. All of us have personal power. Just by being here and taking up space.

For many, drive comes from overcompensation for our not-enoughness. We’re motivated ‘to become’ to hide our fears and vulnerabilities and to un-become what we don’t want the world to see.

But when we source our drive from deep, deep, radical self-acceptance, we can give up the war we have with ourselves, our not-enoughness, and our falling-shorts.

Leadership in the Realm of I starts with self-compassion. When our drive begins with self-compassion instead of a ‘covering-up’, only then can we risk vulnerability, failure, and hard lessons.

Leadership Equity in the Realm of We

We cannot be fully expressed as human beings in isolation. To what end are we doing this work on ourselves if not to take that representation — those ideas, truths, acceptance, and stories — into the world, into our relationships and communities?

When we emerge from our dark night of the soul, we are inspired to lead with the truth of who we are, and to do so with others. Our natural impulse is to share ourselves with others so that we may feel the power of belonging. Belonging is not about fitting in, it’s about fitting with – lending our unique imprint as we fit together with others to make a whole.

We must ask ourselves, “How can we connect with and support others as we are reaching for the stars ourselves?”

But sometimes people are scared of too much ‘We’ space. We’re afraid the people around us will dull our unique gifts or we will go unnoticed by the world.

This can happen – when there’s not enough diversity in the people around us.

If you find yourself scared of ‘We’ space, if you’re finding your gifts dulled within your communities, ask yourself:

Am I swimming in sameness?

While there may be comfort in surrounding yourself in people like yourself, sameness doesn’t have the same chemistry, spark, innovation, and grit as a diverse group.

The antidote to sameness is reaching for differences.

Reach for differences to build teams and communities with as much diversity in terms of:

— Race
— Gender
— Socioeconomic background
— Identity
— Perspective

Encourage new patterns, new solutions, and new thinking, and you’ll foster true innovation.

When we’re in the ‘We’ space, we need to pay attention to our language, set our intention, and welcome the gifts of curiosity. But above all, we need to place checks and balances on ourselves to ensure we’re creating an inclusive environment when we’re in this space.

Leadership Equity in the Realm of the World

I + We = The World

The Realm of the World represents whole-person leadership, relationships, communication, influence, and impact. The I and

The We create The World we live in.

Our old idea that The World just ‘happens’ and we respond to it is just not correct.

All the roads, the buildings, all the systems that support the functioning of our World are all direct results of efforts put forth by ‘The I’ and ‘The We’. Systems produce the results they were designed to produce. If we’re not getting the results we want, we need to change the system.

This is good news because we have more control than we think to make the world around us reflect what we want.

Leadership in the Realm of the World builds systems that reflect what we want and produce the outputs we desire.

Leadership in the Realm of the World means ensuring our systems are set up for inclusion and equality.

We need to evaluate every system (from our talent evaluation meetings to our hiring processes and our political landscape) to ensure they’re inclusive and that all races, genders, cultures, and bodies have a seat at the table.

We all have some level of clout, influence, and position (even if it’s only within our own families and communities). Our Leadership Equity is the value we’ve built up through our work in current leadership platforms, but also the work we have done on ourselves and in our communities.

What are you doing with the Leadership Equity you’ve built?

Leadership Equity Starts with Connection

Leadership Equity should be used to help level the playing field for others.

Doing so not only benefits others — but it benefits all the realms, from The World to The We to The I.

And Leadership Equity starts with connection.

First with the connection to yourself, to your truth, and knowing who you are. Then with your connection to others. Connection to your teams and to your community and connection to the earth, our world — and all of life. Emerging into being is so much more powerful when we do it with others.

When we structure our lives this way, Leadership Equity stops being the topic of conversation and just becomes the natural order of things.

Leadership Equity is the natural order of things.

Big Love to the Women That Went First

Women

From 2020 to 2021, we’ve seen a lot of ‘firsts’ for women.

First female vice president, first female secretary of treasury, and several ‘first’ female CEOs of major national brands, including the first black female Fortune 500 CEO (that would be Rosalind Brewer, former COO of Starbucks and now CEO of Walgreens).

We also saw a record number of women voted into political positions around the U.S.

I’d like to take a moment to thank a few women who have risen to inspire the world, so that future generations don’t need to think twice about whether they can do something because the role models will already be established.

She looks like me, will be the norm, not the exception in the future because there will be plenty of women in politics, science, finance, business, and entertainment — thanks to the women on this list.

1. Swati Mohan

Swati Mohan was the Indian-American aerospace engineer behind the scenes of the Perseverance Rover on Mars.

And while this should be big news (huge!), it feels like her role as Guidance and Controls Operations Lead wasn’t as highly publicized as it should have been.

Nearly 60 years after three brilliant mathematicians, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson helped NASA launch astronaut John Glenn (the first person to orbit the earth) into the atmosphere in 1962, women are still ‘Hidden Figures’ in the U.S. space program.

But thanks to Mohan, Johnson, Vaughan, Jackson and so many others, women now not only have a seat at NASA — we’re also in charge of the controls, too.

Photo Credit: NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Janet Yellen2. Janet Yellen

On January 26, Janet Yellen was sworn in as the first female U.S. secretary of the treasury. Already, Yellen has hit the ground running.

This year doesn’t mark her first ‘first’ either: from 2014 to 2018, she served as the 15th chair of the Federal Reserve.

She was appointed to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 1994 and was named Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers in 1997. I have a feeling that Janet is going to show us the money in a new way through a lens of compassion and wisdom.

Photo Credit: SammyWaffle!, CC BY-SA 4.0

Amanda Gorman3. Amanda Gorman

At the age of 22, Amanda Gorman was named the first National Youth Poet Laureate (not just the first female youth poet laureate, the first-ever ever!) and is the youngest inaugural poet in the U.S.

She kind of ‘stole’ the 2021 inauguration with her poem, “The Hill We Climb”. Her words inspired us without sugar-coating our experience nor our history. Nor did it ignore the work we must continue to do to fight for democracy and equality.

Her performance was so talked-about that she didn’t just nearly upstage the president and vice president — but she also somehow managed to upstage J. Lo and Lady Gaga! More AG, please!

Photo Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States, CC BY 2.0

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala4. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first female finance minister of Nigeria was named Forbes’ African Person of the Year 2020.

On March 1, she was named director-general of the World Trade Organization. She is both the first woman and the first African to hold this title.

Bringing more women into leading trade and business for the world? Now that is going to bring change!

Photo Credit: International Monetary Fund (photographer uncredited), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jill Biden5. Jill Biden

The First Lady has started her term with so much energy, compassion, and empathy. Her commitment to education is just what we need to see in our leadership right now.

And can we talk about her inauguration dress?

(No, we wouldn’t be talking about a man’s inauguration outfit, but would a man even think to wear a cashmere coat embroidered with every state flower?)

We at EW can’t wait to see this dress in person someday in the (hopefully) near future at the National Museum of American History exhibit.

Photo Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Kamala Harris6. Kamala Harris

I couldn’t even think of a list of women that inspire me without Kamala Harris on it. Our first female, first black, first Asian-American vice president!

She’s officially the highest-ranking woman in government.

And this isn’t even her first ‘first’, either. She was the second black female and the first South Asian-American senator. She also served as San Francisco’s and California’s district attorney.

Kamala is bringing it, people – cannot wait to watch her leadership transform our nation.

Photo Credit: United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Shonda Rhimes7. Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is not only the highest-paid showrunner in Hollywood, but she’s also one of the first showrunners to land an exclusive deal with Netflix. And I for one am so glad she did.

Bridgerton, anyone? WOW. What it means to reinterpret our past through this lens of diversity (not to mention the Billy Elish classical dance music) is just so, so creative!

It’s so beautiful how the show normalizes equity and inclusion, making stepping into these themes so much easier in the present, and for the future.

Photo Credit: Greg Hernandez from California, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0

Jacinda Ardern8. Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern is easily one of my favorite female politicians (not to mention leaders). She became the New Zealand House of Representatives’ youngest member at the age of 28 and the country’s youngest in more than one-and-a-half centuries!

But what has impressed me most over the course of the past year is her (and New Zealand’s) response to COVID-19. The country was able to control the virus with a death toll of only 25 people.

New Zealand was largely free of the virus for the majority of 2020, thanks to Ardern’s leadership.

Photo Credit: Governor-General of New Zealand, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ava DuVernay9. Ava DuVernay

In addition to the long list of TV shows and movies she’s directed and produced, Ava DuVernay has been a leader in both the black rights and women’s rights movements.

After speaking on diversity panels, telling industry leaders how to close inequality gaps, she decided to simply show them how to do it. And so she created a platform to help close that gap called ARRAY, a grassroots distribution, arts, and advocacy collective focused on films by people of color and women.

Photo Credit: MTV International, CC BY 3.0

Directors and producers can no longer cry, “I don’t know how to diversify my project,” because they now have a platform of diverse talent that they can now pull from.

Join me in celebrating these women (and all the other women that have had to ‘go first’ and bust holes in glass ceilings) not just for the month of March — but all year long.

Empathy Moves Mountains: The First Step in Creating the World We Want to Live In

white privilege

When people we love, our communities, and the entire world are at their most vulnerable, my first impulse is to jump to “fix-it” mode. Yet recently I have realized that this can be a diversion, a way to avoid the real work of fixing — feeling.

With the world crying out for change, it’s a time to act, to lead with our voices, but it’s also a time to follow…and to feel.

‘Feeling it’ is a critical step in the process of healing trauma, grief, anxiety, negative thinking patterns, collective anger, and other painful experiences that seem to be on rotation these days.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, I was too busy to pay attention to my feelings. Busy pivoting my business. Busy juggling fractions and grammar and homeschooling. Busy making sure my kids weren’t spending all day living in 50 different Minecraft realms.

And when I had a second to breathe, I was inhaling the scent of what was on everyone else’s limited menu of COVID feelings: fear, anxiety, grief.

Still, I soldiered on, stuffing those feelings aside. I needed to get through. We all did. There was too much to worry about to pay attention to everything.

Then, Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brook, and so many others. And the 1,298 black U.S. citizens shot by the police in the past year — the ones whose deaths went unnoticed because body cams had been turned off and good samaritans weren’t nearby with their phones ready and waiting.

Not to mention the fact that people of color are dying of COVID at a rate of 3.57 times more than white people. According to the CDC:

“Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons have a rate approximately five times that of non-Hispanic white persons, non-Hispanic black persons have a rate approximately five times that of non-Hispanic white persons, Hispanic or Latino persons have a rate approximately four times that of non-Hispanic white persons.”

With all of this coming at me at once, I broke. I crossed a threshold. In my confusion and the chaos around me, with the graphic media in front of me and when I could not look away, I fell apart. All of a sudden, I couldn’t think straight for the rage in my heart. I felt like I was going to be sick and that feeling of nausea is still with me.

Author Glennon Doyle said at an Emerging Women Live event:

Glennon Doyle
Glennon Doyle & Chantal Pierrat at Emerging Women Live

“Show me what breaks your heart and I will tell you your purpose.” (Do you not freaking love this?)

What I realized is that what breaks my heart is abuse of power and the suppression of personal freedom. What breaks my heart is when people are subjugated, unable to speak freely, and prevented from fully actualizing the truth of who they are.

Think of all the unexpressed potential that gets buried with these restricted souls!

This breaks my heart, and this is why I have dedicated my life to increasing women’s leadership, helping women be seen and heard, and creating a new paradigm for power that is sourced from our shared humanity.

When the Black Lives Matter movement was gaining momentum, we hosted co-founder Alicia Garza as a speaker at our national conference Emerging Women Live in 2017.

I remember digging into my own privilege and biases at that time, feeling overwhelmed by the issue and desperate to train myself ‘out of my white eyes’ — desperate to fix myself and find solutions to the racial tensions I was feeling in the women’s movement.

Then one of our African-American speakers, Promise Phelon, said to me, “Things will change when white people get as angry as black people are.”

Promise Phelon
Promise Phelon, Emerging Women Live

I did not understand this at the time. I thought, but I don’t feel angry.

As a Women’s Studies major, I consciously decided that I was not going to be an ‘angry’ feminist. Those women were too much, too confronting, they made me feel… uncomfortable.

Yes, I wanted change, but only acceptable change, change that was approved by those in power. I chose to fight for change while playing by the rules.

But being able to choose when to “fit in” and when to go against the grain is in itself a privilege. One that is not afforded to black women of color.

In our patriarchal system, we can see white privilege showing up in so many places, and we also see the privilege of the masculine. In our dominant culture, we over-privilege the mind, the rational, the measurable, the controllable, and we demonize the unknown, the mysterious. Anything that falls under the category of unpredictable or anecdotal, such as the more nuanced world of the emotions, the heart.

We demonize emotions, especially the messy ones. We reward actions, especially ones that can be categorized under ‘advance and conquer’. We climb upward and onward without knowing why we want the promotion or what we would even buy with a six-figure salary. And the real rewards — emotional intelligence and personal development — become consolation prizes.

As a white woman I learned early on that emotions were dangerous, something to hide, something to apologize for, and to keep tidy. And as a spiritual devotee, I learned to detach from my emotions, to distrust them, to rise above them as the truly enlightened did, not muck around in such gross and relative states of consciousness.

But again, I was always afforded the choice to control my emotional footprint as a white woman.

Conversely, the angry black woman stereotype haunts black women of color every day, regardless of their level of expression. Just ask Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, and Shonda Rhimes.

Enter: fix-it mode. My sleeves rolled up, I told myself: I am doing something. Isn’t that more important than getting angry?

For six years, I was dedicated to using the Emerging Women Live platform to amplify this conversation, to filling our presenters’ list with diverse speakers, to making certain that I did not accidentally misstep as I hosted the stage for 550 women navigating this complex issue of race and what it means to be inclusive — me, a white woman with untrained privileged eyes and a whole lot more questions than answers.

Looking back I see my efforts as the white savior mode at its best. If we fix the pain we caused, the pain we’ve profited off and ignored for centuries, we don’t need to sit with the uncomfortable-ness of our own negligence, indifference, and white guilt.

The truth is, I have been living from the neck up, so focused on solving problems that I missed the opportunity to try to understand the pain of my black brothers and sisters. More to the point, I chose not to feel.

Daniel Goldman, the emotional intelligence pioneer, has said, “In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels. These two fundamentally different ways of knowing interact to construct our mental life.”

So now I am in the messiness of my feeling mind. The pain is real but I also feel a strong love from seeing and connecting with so many people — people like you — who are also FEELING IT. I don’t want to rush out of this.

It’s our feelings — our heartbreak, our anger, our desires, our shared hope — that will catalyze our mind to create the solutions we need. Our swollen heads and egos have held the reigns of power for far too long; it’s our hearts that will drive us to a better world.

In her iconic civil rights song, I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free, Nina Simone sings:

Nina Simone
Photo Credit: Roland Godefroy/Wikimedia

I wish you could know what it means to be me
Then you’d see and agree that every man should be free
I wish I could give like I’m longing to give
I wish I could live like I’m longing to live
I wish I could do all the things I can do

If we skip this feeling stage, both the recognition and the expression of our own feelings — as well as being curious about our fellow human beings — we might as well put lipstick on a pig.

Actions without true, authentic empathy behind them will not eradicate the long-ingrained, systemic abuse of power built on the back of out-of-balance masculine energy and white privilege. So keep the connection, lean into the heartbreak, and find your purpose in this conversation. It’s not going away anytime soon. And we have mountains to move.

PS: If you are a woman of color and have something relevant to share with our Emerging Women audience, I invite you to reach out to us so we can get you scheduled for a spot on our platform. We could share the mic — or just give you the damn mic. Use us…please.

PSS: If you are a woman of color coach with corporate or executive experience, and you are looking for more work, please reach out so we can interview you for a Power Circle facilitator role in our ongoing corporate women’s leadership programs.

7 Women I Am Grateful for in 2019

I have to be honest: there are so many women I’m grateful for this year.

The Year of the Woman might have ‘officially’ been 1992, but each year, women continue to top themselves in the areas of grace, positivity, power, determination and leadership. This truly is an amazing time to be alive and be a woman. And I’m so thankful I get to exist at the same time as these seven powerhouses of feminine energy. They remind me that we can all get out there to make our own unique contribution toward changing what power looks like in the world – and we don’t have to do it alone!

#1 Lizzo

I am grateful for this first woman for so, so, so many reasons. From the giant inflatable booty that (almost) upstaged her at the MTV Video Music Awards to her fierce lyrics of self-celebration, this woman tops herself time after time in the body positivity category. Just when we think we can’t learn anything more from Lizzo about loving ourselves just the way we are, she wows us with the even louder, more powerful, message of “you got this.” And then she shows us how to OWN what we got. Bam.

She’s a vocal activist for women’s rights and radical self-acceptance. And she works hard – she famously began touring before she ever recorded an album. Talk about crashing through a glass ceiling. She destroyed it.

Oh, and she also plays the flute. Like a boss.

Flute drop.

Photo Credit: Andy Witchger/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

#2 RBG

You’ll find this OG femme fatale on the top slots of pretty much every ‘feminist and lovin’ it’ list.

(Yes, I just referred to Ruth Bader Ginsberg as a ‘femme fatale.’)

Media for women of all generations have paid homage to this supreme court justice who played a major role in creating equal opportunities for both sexes. Kate Mckinnon further cements her role as an icon for power, grace, and sheer “chutzpah” on SNL most weeks with her catchphrase, “You just got Gins-burned.”

This year, she’s been battling cancer for the fourth (fourth!) time, yet still works out every day. She has not missed a day! Her dedication and perseverance is legendary. Oh, and did I mention she’s barely taken off a day of work to recuperate? Instead, she’s been working from home and communicates via conference call when needed – still in the game, but on her own terms.

And I thank her almost every day for it.

Photo Credit: European University Institute/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

#3 Melinda Gates

Any fan of the Emerging Women blog knows we are a big fan of this powerhouse philanthropist and women’s equality activist striving to change the future of work in America. 


What I love the most about MG? Is that she seems to be evolving along with the movement. She is emerging right along-side all of the women she is inspiring to rise, showing us that we are all in this together. For reals.

What else do we love about Melinda Gates? Let me count the ways…

  1. She taught us how to raise feminist sons *chills*
  2. She led a feminist fight from the homefront by demanding equality with her husband in their relationship
  3. She reminds us that until all women around the world are free, none of us are free
  4. She’s brave enough to be vulnerable about her own toxic masculinity battles in the early days of Microsoft
  5. This year she committed $1 billion to help create equality in the workplace
  6. She committed $1 billion to help create equality in the workplace, which was so nice (and fierce and necessary), we had to say it twice!

Photo Credit: Chatham House, London/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

#4 Nancy Pelosi

Regardless of where you land politically, you can’t deny that Nancy Pelosi is one of the fiercest women in (and out of) politics right now — and has been for decades!

This woman is the epitome of class — and badass.

She knows when to speak up. And boy, when she speaks up, she demands attention. But what’s so special about her is that she knows when to stay silent, too. She gets that sometimes the biggest things happen when we create space – for others and for ourselves.

And while we all know age doesn’t matter, let’s take a moment to talk about her passion. She’s in her 80s (long after many of us will have retired), and she’s still vibrant, still so committed.

I am so grateful we have women with this kind of fire in our political system! More of this, please!

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

#5 Greta Thunberg

YOWZA! When I said “Age doesn’t matter,” this was the woman (not girl, because let’s be honest, she’s one of the most mature people in politics right now) I was talking about!

She’s done so much in her short life and even shorter career.

Greta has shown us what it means to be a leader: overcoming obstacles, standing up for others, speaking truth to power and demanding action.

The next time you’re feeling hesitant about leaning in, just consider Greta Thunberg your spirit animal, and ask yourself, “WWGTB do?” You’ll be moving mountains and people with your every word — and reshaping the world in the process.

Photo Credit: Anders Hellberg/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

#6 Michelle Obama

Former first lady, Michelle Obama, is another woman on this list who I admire for her elegance and dignity — especially for her lyrical use of the English language.

She emanates strength through each word. Her vulnerability jumps off the pages in her memoir, “Becoming.” She proved she really was the typical American working mom when she relayed stories of taking Malia on a job interview and ‘breaking out’ of the Whitehouse to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage (also with Malia).

And who can forget the strength that resonated in her speeches? Her catchphrase, “When they go low, we go high,” became an anthem for the power of positivity. It still serves to keep me out of complaining mode when I am faced with challenges!

Not to mention that line in her final commencement speech (that still floors me):

“It’s the story that I witness every single day when I wake up in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, black young women — head off to school, waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States, the son of a man from Kenya who came here to American — to America for the same reasons as many of you: To get an education and improve his prospects in life.”

Chills.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library

#7 Megan Rapinoe

Were you also glued to the TV coverage of the World Cup for women’s soccer this year? If so, you were likely like me: screaming your head off at the marvelousness of it all. High stakes, close games, excelling athleticism — all combined with the articulation of a vision much bigger than any one-made goal. And Megan Rapinoe at the head of it all.

Talk about equal pay triumph!

Her elegance in her speeches is only matched by her fierceness on the field. The woman is an inspiration and a symbol of heart-centered leadership and dependability.

I feel so fortunate that young girls and women can look to Megan to understand that you don’t need to sacrifice elegance for power, teamwork for individuality.

The women’s soccer teams work just as hard as the men’s team, it’s about time they got paid equally!

All of these women are clearing the path with a new power for a paradigm that emphasizes connection, grace, empathy and fire. They all draw this power from authenticity, consciousness and real connection — which also happens to be the Emerging Women ethos.

It’s difficult to forge a path ahead when you’re the only one holding that machete. Luckily, we all have these leaders to look to when we need a leg up to continue on our own brave path forward. We GOT this!

Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Radiant Leader: Authentic Leadership for Influence, Visibility and Fulfillment

As a former woman in technology, Emerging Women CEO Chantal Pierrat understands what it means to be “the only woman in the room.” When she was head of marketing and sales for an OEM product, she often found herself pitching mostly to men in white lab coats.

I know what it’s like to be underrepresented – both in terms of the business side but also on the tech and innovation side. And what that costs us in terms of the depth and the breadth of the solutions that are coming to the table.

Being that fly on the tech wall helped inform me of the challenges women face in the industry. Which is why when I was asked to speak at the Grace Hopper Celebration this year, I already had my topic: authentic leadership.

Why Is Authentic Leadership Important?

Both men and women must be themselves at work to be the best at what they do. But women are often viewed as a problem to be “fixed” for a “better fit” instead of a resource for a new paradigm for leadership.

When we are allowed to be our authentic selves, we radiate confidence and purpose. We come alive through our bodies. And this energetic power is the strongest differentiating quality in any leader.
But when we are pressured to fit in? We suffer from burnout, from fatigue. We don’t see the value in advancing our careers. And we rarely make it to the tech executive level.

The Problem in the Tech Industry: When Women Don’t Feel Valued

Mid-career is an especially challenging time for women. Most of us become discouraged from advancing onward when we:

  • Don’t see any evidence that our skills and contributions are recognized.
  • Cannot see a clear future path when so few women have forged those paths before us.
  • Are encouraged to spend our time fitting-in instead of innovating and streamlining products and services.
  • Suffer from low input, high burnout and lack of self-confidence.
  • Become isolated from those who would advocate for our success and advancement.
  • Have growing family commitments and are expected to “do it all” in order to “have it all.”

Mid-level burnout isn’t only a “tech problem” either. It spans across nearly all industries — from business to finance to farming.

The Solution: Connection-Based Radiant Leadership

Conscious, feminine leadership is changing the world for the better. But we still have a lot of work to do.
If we want to become our authentic selves in the office, we need to first believe we are worthy. Radiant leadership is all about the expression of love, confidence and happiness. But more importantly, the love, confidence and happiness we draw from within.

When we are whole, we are using our hearts, minds, bodies and souls in unison.
The result? Resilient women and men, working together to influence the world through a strong sense of purpose and making an impact on their industry.

When you are connected, you are:

  • Coming alive through your body.
  • Using intentional self-talk to override critical or negative thought patterns.
  • Visualizing your goals and creating your inner reality in the outer world.
  • Listening to your heart, checking in with your body and tuning into your intuition.
  • Following your highest truth (your purpose in life).
  • Connecting with yourself first and using storytelling to connect with others; it’s the specificity that makes all stories universal.
  • Changing hearts and minds with your charisma.

Case Study: HP

How do we know it works? This isn’t our first rodeo. When it comes to radiant leadership, we’re all for conversation — but we’re all in for more action.

In a collaborative partnership with HP delivering programming to 1,000 women (and men), we were able to measure the following in our participants :

  • Increased confidence
  • Higher instances of speaking up
  • More clarity of purpose
  • Reduced attrition
  • Recruitment savings
  • Increased engagement
  • Higher rates of advancement

When we support women, everyone enters a greater position of power. Everyone becomes free to innovate and create. We can all benefit from radiant leadership — on personal to societal levels.

How could radiant leadership change your industry? What could you build or streamline if you were fully supported? For more information, contact Emerging Women at [email protected].

Want to Dial Into Desire? Love the Longing.

Have you ever wanted something so very bad your whole body ached? I am talking about a desire so profound that it wraps itself around your heart… and squeezes. As we long for the fulfillment of that desire, a feeling of separateness from the desired thing often begins to form. And if that separateness is allowed to solidify, it can become literally heartbreaking.

I’ve felt that gulf between desire and outcome a lot lately. I’ve watched my country make decisions I don’t understand, the course I set for my business keeps taking unexpected turns, and several new relationships in my life are not panning out the way I had hoped. At times like these sometimes I just want… well, not to want.

In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths are aimed at freeing ourselves from our desires in order to end our suffering. This makes so much sense – if I don’t want, I cannot be without, and I can’t be disappointed. Freedom! Oh to be free of wanting – how civilized that must be. To walk about the world with such contentment, such satisfaction with what is and watch all the shiny objects pass us by without the grip of desire!

Still, I can’t help but think that desire must have some function besides to torture us. Surely an energy so strong, and at times all-consuming must have a greater purpose?

Emerging Women desire

Do Our Desires Evolve Us?

At a very basic level our desire for food, water, safety, and procreation keeps humanity going. Isn’t the purpose of all of life is to expand, evolve, to grow and spread? Maybe there’s a case to be made that what we desire will likely lead to our growth and expansion.

Could it be that we naturally long for things that will help us evolve? Having longed for a few “bad boys” and risky experiences in my day, I question this. But then again, the personal expansion that came from those experiences are undeniable. The more I lean into this, the more I am convinced: desire, regardless of the object or the outcome, can lead to transformation.

Do Our Desires Reveal Our Purpose?

Maybe we don’t have desires, we are our desires. In that case, if we run from our desires, we run from ourselves. I believe Spirit can talk to us through our desires, helping to reveal our true purpose. Do you?

A desire is anything but frivolous. It is the interface between you and that which is greater than you. No desire is meaningless or inconsequential. If it pulls you, even a little bit, it will take everyone higher. Desire is where the Divine lives, inside the inspiration of your desire. Every desire is of profound importance with huge consequences, and deserves your attention.

Mama Gena

Do Our Desires Create Connection?

As an experiment, I started leaning into my desires. Not the images or visions I have of the end result, but the physical and energetic pull on my heart, the heat on my skin, the stretching of my soul as I reach. The desiring itself. When I stay there, I don’t feel pain or separation, but an increased intimacy with… me.

Buddhist teacher Tara Brach has said, “Longing, felt fully, carries us to belonging.” My desires shifted from a source of pain and separation to guideposts for deeper connection – to self, to others, to God/the universe/the force. The movement toward something reminds me that I am not alone. As I reach my hands out for what I want, I know that somewhere another is doing the same, and perhaps our fingertips shall meet. I desire for Emerging Women to be globally impactful – yes. But what I really want is to feel connected to women everywhere who are risking everything to live authentically for the good of the world. And in the simple act of desire, I already feel that powerful connection.

Do Our Desires Shape the World Around Us?

As women, we have a history of suppressing our desires. We may not speak up, we may not ask for what we need, we may avoid making waves and stay safe in the caretaking of others while neglecting our own wants. At Emerging Women Live 2015, Esther Perel said, “As women we need to own our wanting.” Damn straight, sisters. How can we expect the world to work in our favor if we don’t allow ourselves to want? What good is dreaming if we don’t infuse our visions with the catalytic fire of desire? To dare to want in the face of possible disappointment, shame, or guilt – now that is courage.

Thomas Merton said, “Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” The world we live in is a result of the desire of men. It is paramount that we women step more fully into that which we desire – own it, live it, breath it – if we are going to create change in the world.

Here’s what I desire: I desire a world that celebrates feminine leadership and exalts it to create healthy systems that are inclusive, compassionate, and fair. I desire meaningful relationships that are both intimate and impactful in the world. I desire increased connection to fast track a global consciousness that puts life at the center of everything we do.  What do you desire? I want to know. Let’s pool our desires and make it happen, sisters.


Looking for guidance? Dive in to the Divine.

Dear Emerging Women,

As long as I can remember I have wanted to be “psychic.” As a young girl I’d squeeze my eyes shut and beg for a sign, a flicker of communication from a higher power to help me navigate all the unknowns, a life raft of certainty when the waters got murky.

I still yearn for the comfort that comes from knowing that an All-Powerful Force has my back. The difference is that now I try to keep my eyes open – leaning into the world, looking for miracles, love taps and gentle whispers that show up as synchronicities, timely opportunities or the right person at the right time.

girl

Life around me is constantly reaching out trying to get my attention, and the more I can open up to this, the more “held” I feel.

This hidden but felt guidance becomes reliable and consistent – to the point that I am able to accept all in my life as purposeful and intentional.
In this state of receptivity I have been able to move through some very challenging times as an entrepreneur. I feel like an Aikido master in a beautiful dance with the Divine, embracing, not fighting, all that comes my way.

This is why I love Tosha Silver. She points out that when we do this kind of work all the time, everyday life becomes OUTRAGEOUS. We are able to trust the guidance and just enjoy the extraordinary ride that is life.

Sure, I may still revert and try to claw my way through tricky spots when I am not on top of my game – but I am quickly learning that the shortest route to making anything happen in this world is through relationship to spirit.

Are you dialed in to your Divine guidance? I want to hear about it! Check out our Outrageous Openness Grace & Fire podcast with Tosha Silver and share your story in the comments.

chantal_circle

Big Love,


Chantal Pierrat

Founder, Emerging Women

Emerging Women Power Night – June 22, 2016

Emerging Women Power Night

Power Night Boulder will explore the dimensions of living the truth of who we are through feminine power. You will experience real connection, intentional circles, speakers, book signings, live poetry and groove.

The line-up for this event is awesomely inspirational – featuring Tami Simon, Nancy Levin, Azure Antoinette, Lisa Wimberger, Kim Coupounas, Leslie Herod and Colleen Abdoulah — all successful visionary leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and creatives who are trailblazing a new way of influencing positive change in the world.

Expect personal stories of what fuels these women and how they were able to achieve uncompromising success by living the truth of who they are.

  • WHEN: June 22, 2016 TIME: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • WHERE: eTOWN HALL / 1535 Spruce Street / Boulder, CO 80302
  • FEATURING: Tami Simon, Azure Antoinette, Nancy Levin, Lisa Wimberger, Kim Coupounas, Leslie Herod, Colleen Abdoulah and Chantal Pierrat
  • REGISTRATION LINK HERE
  • COST: 
    • $45 Networking Reception plus General Admission (includes a networking reception before the main event – enjoy light appetizers and drinks with display tables from local sponsors)
    • OR $35 General Admission Only

Networking Reception Starts: 5:00pm

General Admission Doors Open: 5:30pm

General Admission Event Start: 6:00pm

Event End: 9:00pm

Check out an Emerging Women Power Night from San Francisco:

Speakers

simon_t__c_stephen_collector_08Tami Simon is the founder of Sounds True, a multimedia publishing company dedicated to disseminating spiritual wisdom. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Sounds True has published more than 800 audio, video, music, and book titles along with online courses and events. Sounds True is widely recognized as a pioneer in providing life-changing, practical tools that accelerate spiritual awakening and personal transformation. As a pioneer in the conscious business movement, Tami focuses on bringing authenticity and heart into the workplace while honoring multiple bottom lines. Tami hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today’s leading teachers, delving deeply into their discoveries and personal experiences on their own journeys. With Sounds True, she has released the audio program Being True: What Matters Most in Work, Life, and Love.

Called “the Maya Angelou of the Millennial generation,” Azure Antoinette is a poet, brand humanist and creative strategist. Antoinette coined herself as a Commissioned Poet in 2008 and was firmly committed to finding a way to live out her mantra of “Do What You Love & Love What You Do.” In her crusade to be authentically committed to her medium of poetry, she has forged creative partnerships with dozens of Fortune 500 companies, worldwide brands, and national organizations by using her unique talent to curate and custom write the story of a brand.

Nancy Levin Nancy Levin is the bestselling author of Jump … And Your Life Will Appear, Writing For My Life, and the forthcoming Worthy: Boost Your Self-Worth to Grow Your Net Worth (Hay House, August 2016.) She’s a Certified Master Integrative Life Coach and the creator of the Jump Coaching and Worthy Coaching Programs, working with clients – privately and in groups – to live in alignment with their own truth and desires. She was the Event Director at Hay House for 12 years and hosts her own weekly call-in show Jump Start Your Life on Hay House Radio. Nancy received her MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and she continues to live in the Rocky Mountains.

Lisa Wimberger is the founder of the Neurosculpting® Institute. She holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Stonybrook, NY, a Foundations Certification in NeuroLeadership and a certificate in Medical Neuroscience. She is the author of NEW BELIEFS, NEW BRAIN: Free Yourself from Stress and Fear, and NEUROSCULPTING: A Whole-Brain Approach to Heal Trauma, Rewrite Limiting Beliefs, and Find Wholeness. As the Founder of the Neurosculpting® modality Lisa runs a private meditation practice in Colorado teaching clients who suffer from stress disorders, and she is a faculty member of Kripalu Yoga and Meditation Center, Omega Institute, and the Law Enforcement Survival Institute.

Panel 

Move the People: Changing the World through Connected Leadership

Kim Kim Coupounas serves as a Director of B Lab, a nonprofit organization that certifies “B Corporations” and serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Prior to B Lab, Kim co-founded and served as CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer of GoLite, a global mission-driven outdoor apparel and equipment company. She currently serves on the Harvard Business School Alumni Board, the boards of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, the Center for Social Responsibility at the Leeds School of Business, and as a Mentor/Advisor for the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, the Unreasonable Institute, Boomtown, and numerous other startup accelerators and incubators.  She earned an A.B. Cum Laude in Philosophy from Princeton University, an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and an M.P.A. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Among her deep passions are spending time with her family, trail running, hiking, singing, doing yoga and martial arts, drinking great wine and climbing big mountains.

Colleen Abdoulah Colleen Abdoulah, who was the only female CEO to lead a top-ten cable operating company, is widely respected for her passionate focus on customer experience and company culture. Colleen guided WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone for 12 years, overseeing industry-leading financial success and creating unprecedented value for employees and shareholders. During her tenure, WOW! quadrupled the customer base served, from 200,000+ to more than 800,000 with revenues of over $1.2B. Under Colleen’s leadership, WOW! earned a remarkable 19 J.D. Power and Associates awards for customer satisfaction, multiple top-provider awards from Consumer Reports, and the PC Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for top cable Internet service provider. She is equally proud of the many awards WOW! received as an employer, including recognition as a 2012 and 2013 National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For winner.


Leslie Herod is the progressive candidate running for State House of Representatives District 8. She is passionate about making a difference in the community through advocacy and civic engagement. Raised by a single mother who was an officer in the Army Nurse Corps, she learned the importance of discipline, hard work and commitment to public service. After more than 10 years of experience working with local and state legislators, Leslie currently owns her own small business that focuses on strengthening community relationships. Leslie is a community champion who will proactively address our disparities in our education system, reforming our criminal justice system and tackling affordable housing challenges within the state.

Chantal PierratChantal Pierrat‘s passion is to empower women through feminine leadership. In September 2012, she founded Emerging Women and Emerging Women Live in order to support the integration of consciousness and business. Chantal’s ultimate vision is to weave feminine leadership and authenticity into businesses. When she is not dancing or working, Chantal enjoys family time with her husband and two sons in Boulder, CO.

Thank You to Our Sponsors power_night_sponsors

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to:

Emerging Women exists to support and inspire women to express themselves authentically through the work that they do. We strive to provide the tools, knowledge, and network to help women lead, start and grow their businesses in a way that integrates core feminine values like connection, collaboration, intimacy, beauty and heart. We provide a platform for leaders and entrepreneurs to come together to explore and express their inner truths. It is our ultimate desire that women have a strong voice in the shaping of our world’s future. Join us for our 4th annual Emerging Women Live event October 13-16, 2016 in San Francisco, CA.

Emerging Women at Wisdom 2.0

We are coming to San Francisco!

Chantal will be speaking at Wisdom 2.0, and we would love to see you while we are in town.

Join us for Chantal’s Breakout Session Emerging Women: New Paradigms in Leadership and Entrepreneurship” with Sue Heilbronner and Natalia Oberti Noguera on Saturday, February 20th at 3:45pm.

Also be sure to check out “Wisdom 2.0 Women’s Leadership Intensive” – a day long intensive for women interested in exploring authentic leadership, honoring feminine values, and understanding their potential impact on the world.

This event focuses on our work and well-being while bringing compassion, empathy and connection into the digital age. Are you going? We can’t wait to see you there!

Investing in the SheEconomy

Want to be a part of the SheEconomy? Hear from expert investors on how women are using their money, power and influence to change the world in this clip from the stellar panel at Emerging Women Live 2015 to find out where you fit into the SheEconomy:

Vicki Saunders is the founder of SheEO, a program for women entrepreneurs that supports the next generation of women-led social ventures to lead from their strengths on their own terms. She is a serial entrepreneur, passionate mentor to the next generation of change makers, and leading advocate for entrepreneurship as a way of creating positive transformation in the world.

Sue Heilbronner is the co-founder and CEO of MergeLane, a groundbreaking, award-winning startup accelerator targeting companies with at least one woman in leadership. She also consults with fast-growing digital companies and executive teams through her work as Chief Catalyst at Boulder Ideas.

Trish Costello is the founder and CEO of Portfolia, a collaborative entrepreneurial investing community designed for women. Trish was named in The Ten Women in Tech to Watch in 2015 by Inc magazine and to The 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2014 by Goldman Sachs.

Can KonMari transform your business?

Less is more. Less is more. Less is more.

I have to chant this as a mantra a few times before it starts to sink in. I seem to be a magnet for not only things but also experiences – gobbling up both in order to keep things alive and moving. Ah, but that is the irony: a life packed with objects and activities actually slows me down. Big time.

When I first became an entrepreneur, sticky notes were on every flat surface in my home and car. I met with so many people I could barely remember my own name. I was adrift in an endless sea of opportunities, connections, and partnerships. It was impossible to stay prioritized and selective with my time. My life and mind quickly became, well, a mess.

Then I discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, a small book on the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing that has already sold 2 million copies. This is not the standard “neurotic-perfectionist-with-OCD-tendencies-illustrates-just-how-far-I-am-from-remotely-achieving-an-organized-life” declutter book.

Tidying Up is almost spiritual – a perspective on keeping house that reaches far beyond the physical environment. It’s not just a method, but a worldview that cultivates deep personal insight and real resilience in all areas of life – especially business.

The KonMari Method presented in Tidying Up really is life-changing because it allows room for clarity around who I am and what I want, and that’s the secret sauce to becoming an inspired leader.

So out go the bags and bags of clutter from my home and office. And it feels good! Thinking about giving it a try? Here’s 5 reasons you (and your business) will be glad you did.

 

KonMari Tip #1: “When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state.”

I notice that the more clutter I have in my life and business, the more it distracts me from my greatest power source: ME. When clutter sprawls out of control, it captures more and more of my attention until I am spending way too much time managing my space. I feel heavy, distracted and completely disconnected from my intuition and inner wisdom. All that noise makes me lose my way as I become reactive to the clutter rather than proactive with my deepest vision.

Business Tip: Staying connected to your inner knowing is easier when your life and mind are free of clutter.

KonMari Tip #2: “There are 3 approaches we can take toward our possessions:  Face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die.”

Still hanging on to letters from high school boyfriends, a gazillion drawings from your kids, or papers from business school that you will NEVER refer back to? I do it, too. I accumulate stashes of old baby stuff that might come in handy when I’m a grandparent (my kids are 8 and 5!), endless computer wires and electronic equipment that might magically become useful again at some point, and countless clothes that are a few sizes too small for when I get back into that “skinny” phase.

According to KonMari, people hang on to their stuff because they are either still attached to the past or they have a fear of the future — or both. Getting rid of the things that don’t serve me keeps me in the present moment by letting me process my past and move on into my future.

Business Tip: Don’t hang on to your mistakes – thank them and move on. Staying streamlined in this way allows you to pivot easily and efficiently through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

KonMari Tip #3: “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”

For so long women have forced our desires out of our bodies and minds in the name of serving others. As we begin to understand that there is room for both service and our desires, getting clear on what we want has never been more important.

What I love about Marie’s approach is that she doesn’t make tidying the end game of life. She may be a tiny bit obsessive (her “shock” at seeing socks tucked into themselves made me wonder), but she knows that a tidy house is a means to a more important end. “The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order,” she says. My read: If you are searching for your purpose in life – throw some shit out!

Business Tip: Discarding what is not working for you in your business life allows your vision to become more clear.

KonMari Tip #4: “Selecting and discarding one’s possessions is a continuous process of making decisions based on one’s own values.”

The act of tidying up your physical space is actually thousands of micro decisions about how you want to live your life. The golden questions: Does this make you happy? Does it bring you joy? When you continuously make decisions based on this criteria, you get better and better at surrounding yourself with things that reflects your desires and values.

I am one month into the process (she says that it takes 6 months for your entire living space), and I am already noticing a difference not only in my home, but in all areas of my life and business.

Business Tip: Making decisions on what to keep and discard in your life builds confidence and aptitude for making decisions in your business.

KonMari Tip #5: “The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.”

Finally, what I love best about Marie’s approach is that she encourages me to thank all of the items that I throw away. So I do! I thank them for their service before sending them on their way. This helps to punctuate the transition to a life more in line with what I really want.

I use the same approach in my business with all of the “mistakes” I have made along the way. Instead of hanging on and over-processing a failure, I thank the experience for its tenure in my life, and free myself to focus on what is going right.

Business Tip: Appreciate where you are now and all of the events (good and bad) that have led you to this point. Gratitude for your more challenging experiences makes you a better leader without all of that bulky psychological baggage holding you back.

For me, the way back to my inner wisdom is to turn off the noise, get rid of the clutter and give myself the gift of less.

Does the KonMari Method work for you? How do you bring these principles to your life? Please let us know in the comments section.