Thursday, May 13, 2010

Being an Authentic Leader

Last night we hosted the inaugural ATHENA Leadership Forum in Chicago. The purpose of the event was to bring established women leaders together with emerging women leaders to network, discuss leadership issues and of course, to celebrate each other.

The discussions center around the attributes of the ATHENA Leadership Model. The ATHENA Leadership Model identifies eight attributes of leadership that reflect women's unique ways of knowing and leading. It is unique in that it focuses on personal attributes of strong, successful leaders.

One principle that I particularly resonate with is 'Authentic Self' ~ understanding who you are - your values, beliefs and what you stand for and demonstrating behaviors that align with your values and beliefs. A leader who possess a strong sense of her 'authentic self' is one who is ethical in all circumstances, delivers on commitments and accepts responsibility for her actions.

Those at the table had a very lively discussion about being authentic and one of the comments made was to 'only fight the battles that really matter to your authentic self'. I was not at that table but would have loved to hear the discussion around that statement!

So I ask you...What matters to you? What values and beliefs are you willing to fight the battle? What battles are you fighting that aren't really your battles at all?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

As I reflect on our recent ATHENA Leadership Summit, I can’t help but be reminded of the many comments that I heard from established women leaders who were thrilled that so many emerging leaders attended. They expressed how much the younger leaders added to the overall experience and how much they learned from each other!

I also heard from many ‘younger’ emerging leaders who were so glad to be in a position to not only learn from more experienced women, but to be heard as women, professionals and leaders.

The comments from our attendees excite me because I witnessed leaders and emerging leaders coming together as one voice. It reinforces for me the principal behind ATHENA’s new program, the ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Day, an annual program established for women leaders who want to extend a hand to the next generation of leaders. Each year, on one day, we can all be part of a global event celebrating ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Day. Thousands of women leaders and emerging leaders from around the world will gather to celebrate women helping women ~ and together, we will accomplish great and mighty things.

We can influence our next generation of women leaders. We can do that by bringing them to the table to discuss what it means to be a woman leader. We can introduce them to our colleagues. We can be a role model. We can come together as one and say that it’s important to help other women in their leadership journey. Won’t you join us as we come together as one to celebrate women helping women?