WICT Executive Development Seminar: Leading with Power and Authenticity
By Ingrid Laub
I’ve never felt that there were professional doors closed to me because I’m a woman, or experienced overt discrimination in the workplace. The WICT Executive Development Seminar on Leading with Power and Authenticity opened my eyes to the often unconscious institutional gender bias that still exists and the need for women to support ourselves and each other in our professional development.
I was fortunate to experience this 2 ½ day class – created especially for WICT – thanks to a scholarship from the WICT New York chapter. The course has been taught by Elaine Yarbrough, Ph.D. for 25 years. She was joined by her colleague (and daughter) Lindsay Burr Singla, MS. Through a variety of methods including lectures, mentoring groups, individual discovery, working with partners, and even meditation, we learned to acknowledge our challenges but not let them stand in our way. We experienced a lot of laughter and quite a few tears as we listened to each other, learned to embrace our best selves and discovered strategies to become empowered leaders.
The focus of the first day was purely professional. We discussed “feminine” and “masculine” traits and the fact that we don’t need to deny our femininity to be strong leaders. We talked about the benefits of a diverse workforce, barriers to female career advancement, and how to envision and activate our goals. Three successful women (Andrea Fasulo, SVP Retail Marketing & Consumer Products Planning, Nickelodeon; Kim Gibson, Senior Director, Customer Operations, Cable One; and Angela B. Turner, SVP Affiliate & Consumer Marketing, REVOLT TV) joined us for a frank and open discussion about their own obstacles and achievements.
Day two was devoted to exploring our personal journeys. While I enjoyed drawing my life story in pictures more than I expected – and found sharing that story with two other participants somewhat cathartic – I did feel that the connection between the day’s curriculum and the ultimate goal of becoming a more powerful leader was a little tenuous. The real benefit for me was creating connections with some of the others in the group. Supportive relationships with colleagues, mentors and sponsors are vital to a successful career and I added about 40 amazing women to my network.
The third morning we tied together the lessons of the previous days and had our graduation. I returned to the office the following week energized and excited to forge ahead with my career as a powerful and authentic leader.