Leadership Insights from Charlene SanJenko, PowHERhouse Founder + CEO

Advancing Women in Courageous Leadership. How is IWD 2020 different than any other?

Are women ready for our invitation to be powHERful leaders in the next decade, including stretching beyond what we currently believe is possible? I believe that starts with the very conversations we're most afraid of. And women are ready to lead these difficult conversations.

I'm reflecting on my 20-year journey for HER on International Women's Day. This journey can be summarized in two simple sentences:

  • It's 2020, and every human deserves the opportunity to experience their full potential.

  • Expect IMPACT. PowHERhouse delivers on the HOW of leadership for HER.

I was recently asked to share some remarks for an upcoming webinar for an international industry association on our mobilization work. Here are my answers that guide our work in 2020 and onward.

PowHERhouse. Mobilizing HER Potential to Lead.

  1. What are the gaps you continue to see for emerging female leaders?

In any industry, women are either represented in a healthy way or they are under-represented. In terms of gaps, the top three I see over and over again are:

  • Lack of a clear path from A to B: From where we are now to where we ultimately believe we can get to when our leadership potential is fully realized.
  • Lack of access to positive role models: If we SEE it, we can BE it. Women spend a lot of time and energy trying to ‘figure things out’ rather than being able to learn best practices, insights, options & pivots from those who have walked before them. We could be much more efficient and effective in our journey.
  • Lack of access to opportunities we are ready for: The key part of this answer is the word ‘READY’. We also need to take personal responsibility to know what we are ready for, to be watching for it, ready to speak to it or about it, and not afraid to ask. This is where words like ‘confidence’ and ‘capacity-building’ get thrown around, but honestly, it is readiness. Do your part and BE ready. ASK for what you need. And put your HAND UP and STAND UP to the opportunities that you know you are ready for. GO!
  1. How are you working with partners to bring this to the forefront and support?

Having the opportunity to work alongside multi-year mobilization partners gives us the opportunity to do what we do best, mobilize HER potential to lead by taking positive and progressive action on the HOW. A lot of organizations ‘want’ to do the right thing but struggle with what that is and then how to take consistent and accountable action. That’s where we come in.

Like any other top priorities in business, our work begins by asking good questions, doing a needs assessment, and developing a strategy well-matched to the team we get the opportunity to ‘play’ with. At PowHERhouse we always say, we may not have all the answers, but we’re certainly willing to ask the tough questions.

As a former competitive athlete and performance coach, I know the importance of having a performance plan to follow while at the same time always observing, adapting and refining to ensure your plan remains nimble, dynamic, flexible, relevant, and traction-worthy!

  1. How did the PowHERhouse slogan “People Power: Powering Up Your Purpose, Performance & Potential with PowHERhouse” originate? What are the factors behind it?

At PowHERhouse, we believe that people operate at a tiny fraction of what is ultimately possible in terms of experiencing the full potential of our human experience. We see this demonstrated in sport and entertainment, and now we are beginning to see it demonstrated in leadership.

Humans all crave a sense of purpose and belonging. Our ‘community’ at work provides us with the perfect opportunity to amp-up the experience we are looking for in our daily lives in terms of contentment, contribution, and fulfillment.

In some cultures, each community member is encouraged to discover and develop their gift, strengthen it, realize its fullest potential, and then contribute it back to the community to strengthen and support the collective whole. This is the Indigenous-influenced factor that drives our slogan, “People Power!” forward, every day.

  1. Where do you see tangible wins for the next decade?

Our ultimate goal is to spark a renewed sense of excitement, focus, aliveness, even urgency, on priorities targeting people-focused performance to realize the potential for those under-represented in leadership.

Here are three tangible wins that we believe are possible over the next decade with a consistent commitment to mobilization.

  • Clear evidence of strong women leaders moving up the pipeline;
  • Recognition and amplification of positive leaders and inspiring role models;
  • A clear path towards advancement with a culture that activates and celebrates the full potential of all, resulting in an increased sense of fulfillment and meaning at work and from work.

It's 2020, and every human deserves the opportunity to experience their full potential.

I believe women are ready to lead with intentional and united action in this decade in a way we have not yet fully experienced.

PowHERhouse. Mobilizing HER potential to lead on International Women's Day, and every other day!

Learn more about Charlene here.

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