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.

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].

3 Essential Tips for Leaders who want to be Truthtellers

If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s this: One of the bravest and most important things you can do to be successful in your business and hone your personal leadership style is to own your story, and share it with the world.

Dropping your armor and revealing who you are isn’t easy—but it’s necessary, especially if you are committed to living and leading in an authentic, powerful way.

Sharing our stories gives us the courage to dive headfirst into the truth of who we are, and to take ownership over our lives, our choices, and our unique purpose. More than anything, it lets us know that we are not alone. Our stories validate our core truth and connect us to other people in magical ways.

Sharing this truth sets the groundwork for personal and business relationships that are based in authenticity and acceptance. It ensures that we draw to us exactly the right friends, partners, mentors, team members, clients and customers. It helps us get to the heart of what we stand for and reconnects us to our intrinsic motivation.

As the founder of Women For One—an organization whose mission is to empower women from across the world to share most powerful, life-changing personal stories—I have enormous respect for people who choose to come out from behind closed doors and let other people see the world through their eyes.

In the last five years, I’ve worked with a global community of women who are courageously taking off their masks and baring their hearts and souls to the world. Along the way, I’ve picked up three essential tips for women leaders who wish to tell their story in the most authentic, powerful way possible. I’d love to share them with you.

1. Dive into your shame and secrets.

Most of us have secrets that we’d much rather take to our graves than disclose to anyone else. For close to three decades, I kept one of the biggest secrets of my life: at the age of five, I was sexually abused by my father. It was such a devastating experience that I buried the memory until my early 30s.

Saving face and hiding an experience you’re ashamed of can help you feel safe and in control (at least for a little while), but by doing this, you end up losing more of who you are. You become disconnected from your truth. In fact, when you hide the parts of yourself that are too difficult to face, you also end up hiding the parts of you that are meant to shine brightly.

More often than not, the things we’ve hidden away out of shame or fear hold the keys to our freedom. Counteracting shame doesn’t necessarily mean that you throw all caution to the wind and give other people the nitty-gritty details of your life, however.

All the same, the most powerful leaders are transparent about the experiences that shaped them, and they use these stories to illustrate their success and share the specifics of their breakthroughs with others. By being brave enough to go “where angels fear to tread,” and to drag our shadows into the light, we give ourselves and other people permission to do the same—and to heal in the process.

2. Be YOU.

The best way to share your story isn’t to cover it up with impersonal details or spreadsheets full of statistics that will drive home your point. The greatest gift you can give to your peers and the people your serve is your realness.

When you are open, honest, and vulnerable, you have the power to truly touch others.

Your vulnerability cannot be underestimated in its ability to inspire and mobilize people, move hearts, and change minds. When we offer others a genuine glimpse into how something in our lives affected us, we give them an experience that every single one of us craves: connection with the raw truth of another human being.

Think of the leaders who have deeply touched you. It’s more than likely that they are self-aware and genuine—that they are just as knowledgeable about their limitations as they are of their strengths. They are also consistent, meaning that they don’t put on a mask for the public and act differently in private. They embrace their mistakes as part of their wholeness. More often than not, they are willing to share themselves unabashedly, without covering up the details or glossing over them with the paintbrush of perfection.

“Perfect” is boring. But you in all your real, raw, messy, human glory? That’s the leader people are yearning to see.

3. Remember that we’re all connected.

Above all else, there’s one big reason you’re telling your story. Our stories serve to remind us of one essential truth: we are all connected.

In sharing your story, think of the people who have gone through the same thing and will be affected by your account. Also stop to consider those who have little to no context for what you’ve been through, but who are still capable of being touched and changed by it.

When we share our specific personal stories with other people, we assist in revealing the beautiful diversity of the human experience. We contribute to the gorgeous, intricate tapestry of history (and herstory!). And as leaders, we do one of the most important things we possibly can—we create  and facilitate more connection, dialogue and community from our simple but profound act of self-disclosure.


If you’re ready to dive into the next chapter of your life and to share your story, you might be interested in Women For One’s debut course, Truthteller: A 5-Week Course for Boldly Sharing Your Story. By the end of the course, you will have a brand-new take on the stories that have defined you—and you will be ready to embrace your wholeness, harness your unique voice and leadership style, and show up in your own life in a way that is authentically you. Learn more about Women For One and the Truthteller course HERE.

What must women bring to the world today? Jane Goodall knows.

When I think of Jane Goodall, one specific moment plays in my mind.

It was about 9:30 at night, and she had just finished her brilliant keynote at Emerging Women Live 2015. This was, mind you, after she had flown into San Francisco just that day, done her mic check, prepared for the event and participated in the audience for the talks leading up to hers. Plus she still had a book-signing and a media room interview to go before calling it a night.

I thought she might be tired, so as she stepped down from the stage I offered her my hand. And with classic Goodall grace, she lightly refused my help and alit from the stage like a morning-fresh ballerina in slippers.

With this simple movement, after a long day of long lines and travel and sharing her heart on stage, she helped me realize that that’s the way through. That’s the way to navigate this modern world. Bringing such a level of grace is not only what helped her make such a tremendous impact in her field, it’s also what has given her and her work such longevity.

And that’s what I want to emulate. That’s what I want to start practicing now, so I have it to hold on to in my eighties.

So, what does the incomparable Jane Goodall say we women must bring to the world today? Watch this clip from a video she taped after that night’s book-signing, still brimming with characteristic grace:

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Rethinking Women’s Leadership: Reflections for Shifting Into A New Paradigm of We

Women’s leadership is on the cusp of a quantum leap.

Female leaders everywhere are inching toward the unknown, leaning into the new, announcing their readiness to the future that attracts them. Our passion, commitment, intention, and will may very well collapse the probability of equality and manifest it into a reality some day in the near future.

Denied access to the centers of power for so long in our history, we have become experts on the margins. We are masters at networking, advocating, circling, co-creating, transforming culture—working for the marginalized in every field imaginable. Women leaders are at the forefront of change from the grassroots to governmental levels.

Not About Me, It’s We

In the 1970’s, when the second wave of feminism washed over this land and changed everything in its wake, the phrase “the personal is political” became a slogan as we discovered together how the culture had shaped and silenced us. There was a sense of  “It’s not just ME, it’s all of us,” and that fueled our interest, our outrage, and finally our courage to stand up and speak our truths.

Now, two generations later, young women are assimilating into every institution—corporate, civil, religious, creative—and speaking their truth to power,from power, and about power.

As evolutionary women leaders we are abandoning old tactics and strategies; we are transcending patriarchal, hierarchical models of leadership and creating circular spaces for the surfacing and sharing of collective wisdom. We are creating new vocabularies, replacing words like compete, control, power, motivation with collaborate, co-create, process and transformation.

It takes women only moments to find our commonness, and generally, in every women’s circle, it is always agreed upon that what we are seeking is what is best for the whole. From business women to nuns to non-profit leaders, an awareness of our interdependency underlies every question and answer. And we often believe that if there is a striving to be had, it is to be the best for the world, not the best in the world.

The Value of Questions

Philosopher and scholar Jacob Needleman suggests that the real art form of today is “group pondering.” This resonates as an idea with me, although its execution calls for deep creativity. How does one facilitate “group pondering?” How does a leader mine the wisdom of the group? How do we evolve ourselves into more subtle sowers of collective insight?

The best leaders are the ones with the best questions. The ones who are humble enough to not be the center of attention, but to center the group’s attention. The ones who can laser focus the desire of the group, the intention and will of the group, in order to unleash the group’s ability to create a reality it agrees upon.

After a few decades of facilitating groups for higher levels of leadership and creativity, I’ve come up with some questions that aim at authentic and imaginative truth-telling. Answering these questions will give people an opportunity to find common ground with others, acknowledge what they are passionate about, decide what they are committed to, and proclaim their next steps in the matter.

People pay therapists thousands of dollars for this, but a good leader can bring about these clarifications in a short time by simply asking the right questions and engaging in this kind of group pondering. Here are a few ideas for starters:

  1. What is one thing you know for sure based on your lived experience?
  2. In what ways have you shared that knowing?
  3. In what ways have you advocated on another’s behalf?
  4. What success have you had in this area?
  5. Have you ever felt silenced as a woman? If so, how?
  6. Do you feel an affinity with any marginalized groups? If so, what is your response?
  7. Do you know the difference between your original thoughts and your inherited beliefs?
  8. What inherited beliefs have you disinherited? (about your body? your religion? your sex?)
  9. How have you been changed by another woman’s story or creation?
  10. If someone funded a documentary that you could produce, what subject matter would you choose?
  11. If you had a superpower, what would it be? What would you do as a result?
  12. Where does the imbalance of feminine vs. masculine show up most for you?
  13. What is the impact of that?
  14. In what ways are you bringing more balance to our society?

Tips for Facilitating

If there are many tables in the room, a dividing of the questions and sharing is an excellent way to foster more collective pondering. Introverts often need more time to think about their answers, so it might be wise to list these questions on paper and give people five to ten minutes to reflect and answer. The work of the leader is to create a safe space for sharing, to be self-disclosing and answer a few of the questions from her own perspective before having the group do the assignment.

I read once that the Old English term for leadership comes from the phrase to go first. The greatest leaders are the ones ready to go first, to risk being vulnerable. They speak from their lives. They learn how to master their ordeals, process their tragedies and transform them into stories that hold truths both personal and universal.

If She Can, I Can—The Power of Story

Everything we know happened to us in a story. All the wisdom in our cells came from our trials, our tears, our commitment to keep going in the face of every obstacle. Great leaders tell those stories. They don’t just share what they know. They share how they learned it. That’s what we all hunger for. Those tales of transformation. Those stories that remind us, “If she can, I can.”

You can stop reading leadership books anytime now. Just open up the book of your own life. See what you’ve been up against. See what kept you going. See what you’ve achieved and where you’re headed now. See how connected you are to all the others. And tell those stories. Tell them right from your heart. Don’t be afraid of your tears. This is heart work, after all.

Jan Phillips
Jan Phillips—Emerging Women

Jan Phillips, is the co-founder and executive director of the Living Kindness Foundation, a co-sponsor of Emerging Women, and an artist and author. She’s written  No Ordinary Time, Finding the On-Ramp to Your Spiritual Path, The Art of Original Thinking-The Making of a Thought Leader, Divining the Body, and more. To learn more about her work, you can visit her website.

Hey, What About the Men? #EmergingNow

Dear Friends,

Sometimes I get asked if we plan to include men in our EW programming. Will we share their voices and their take on this emerging women movement? Do we really need men to get behind what we are doing in order to shift the limitations of our current societal structures? Hell yes! I can’t see how we can do it without them. In fact, I will go a step further and say that without the men, the job will only be half done.

We are in the middle of a new birth of feminism, and it is my strong belief that this movement is not based on gender. Whaat? That’s right. It’s about the acceptance and celebration of the power of feminine energy. Men and women alike stand to benefit when we incorporate the feminine into the business world. Everyone’s work will be amplified by the power of community, connection and compassion. And we need everyone on board, regardless of gender, to actualize the global paradigm shift we so desperately need.

We want the women to take the lead and show us the potential of this new landscape. As the ideas continue to take solid shape, we can share the emerging wisdom with the whole tribe, a global community of men and women who know, value and support the importance of the feminine perspective. Our friends at OMEGA get it – how cool is it that after 11 years of their Women & Power Conference, this year they’re including men with Women/Men: The Next Conversation? Learn more about it below, and don’t forget to keep scrolling for this week’s Grace&Fire podcast with the wonderful Kris Carr.


Big love,

Chantal Pierrat

Founder, Emerging Women

LISTEN: Crazy, Sexy Woman: a Grace&Fire podcast with Kris Carr

Meet Karen May of Google: #EWlive14 Featured Speaker

Need an example of feminine leadership principles in action? Meet Karen May, Vice President of People Development at Google. Her job description is steeped in feminine values like connection, collaboration, and compassion:

“I work with leaders, teams, and companies to help them be their best. I provide one-on-one leadership coaching to help people learn and grow as leaders. I’m a thought partner through tough challenges. I facilitate teams and groups through strategic planning, problem-solving, and conflict situations. Additionally, I develop and deliver leadership development courses that are experiential and practical.”

Karen oversees a global team that supports more than 34,000 Googlers in more than 70 offices in over 40 countries.

Her team implements a broad range of developmental offerings, including executive coaching, new hire onboarding, leadership development, and peer-to-peer instruction for Googlers of all levels, regions, and tenure. That means Googlers lead classes for others Googlers on whatever they’re passionate about, including their extracurricular skills like kickboxing or meditation.

“It’s a remarkable thing to put someone in teaching mode,” May says. “In a way, you get to see the best of them.” And by providing learning experiences that meet not just their career needs but also their life interests, May creates an atmosphere where Googlers can bring their whole selves to work.

“It’s a remarkable thing to put someone in teaching mode. In a way, you get to see the best of them.”twitter

With more than 20 years of professional experience as an organizational psychologist and a leadership coach, Karen knows firsthand the importance of connection in a corporate setting. In a recent New York Times interview, she says, “Where I ended up helping people often was in relationships with others, and understanding the impact they have on the people around them, cultivating some empathy, learning to listen, learning to give other people the spotlight, learning to work collaboratively.” She adds, “It wasn’t usually from a lack of willingness to do those things, but they didn’t have a strong muscle.”

Watch Karen flex her listening muscle in this clip from her awesome conversation with spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle at the 2014 Wisdom.2.0 Conference in San Francisco:

From Starving Artist to Sustainable Revolutionary with Rha Goddess

To best support our tribe, we make sure that the speakers at our events have values that are truly in alignment with Emerging Women.

To say that Rha Goddess fits that bill is an understatement. When we watch Rha Goddess speak, when we hear her message of “embodying your truth” delivered in strong, feminine floetry, we get those goosebumps that signify connection at a core level.

Think you haven’t heard of Rha Goddess yet? Think again. She was an up-and-comer in the 90s hip-hop scene. She coined the term “floetry” that we used above. She worked with big names in the industry, and her influence on the genre can be heard in positive, powerful, political hip-hop to this day.

But Rha Goddess became disillusioned with the scene when the image of hip-hop artists started to shift to better sell shoes and soda, and she began seeing a destructive effect on the audience and community. She tells the story of her break-up and make-up with capitalism in the Tedx Talk below – a must-watch.

As she describes in the video, it took a lot of owning up to get over the romanticism of the starving artist and find a new way to heal her relationship with capitalism, society and herself in order to move forward. She had to “slow down, get real, woman up, and figure out the money,” as she puts it.

“Slow down, get real, woman up, and figure out the money.” ~Rha Goddesstwitter

Now she rocks the crowd in the name of social change as the founder of Move the Crowd, an organization which supports the next generation of entrepreneurs get the skills and information they need to lead authentically and effectively. Her mission to help people define their goals in the greater context of who they are as a whole person is resonating with people world-wide, and it resonates with us as well.

“It takes honesty, strength and courage to admit to ourselves what we really want — and then to go for it. Ultimately, we won’t feel successful until we do.”twitter

We are so excited to see her speak in person at Power Party New York. We hope you can join us, whether in-person or via free livestream.

Read more about Rha Goddess here: EW Power Party New York

>>Like what you’re hearing? Dive deeper with us this October at Emerging Women Live 2014.