I have a love-hate relationship with women’s leadership.
Earlier on in my career, I was a cookie cutter leadership coach for corporate women.
And this experience of training women to be amazing leaders is the foundation for all of the work I do today.
It’s the single thing that led me into executive coaching and I am so, so grateful for this foundation.
It has its downsides.
I’ve seen first hand how the standard women’s leadership advice could help women get better at their jobs…but not actually help them advance to the executive suite.
That’s why the work I’m doing on this podcast, in my book, and in my programs has grown beyond the standard women’s leadership advice.
I call it:
🔥 Women’s Leadership 2.0. 🔥
But even though I am all about this next-level style of women’s leadership, I know there are some critical building blocks from Women’s Leadership 1.0 that you may still be missing.
So in this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I’m going back to basics and sharing five foundational skills that every woman leader needs to know.
Because, how can you do Women’s Leadership 2.0 if you still haven’t implemented some of the basic tips that I’m going to share with you in today’s episode?
Let’s dive in.
Want to receive the recognition you deserve, step into a higher leadership position, get paid for your ideas instead of the hours you put in at work and enjoy more time, freedom, energy, and joy? Then you need to get your hands on a copy of Promotions Made Easy. Get your copy here.
What You'll Learn:
- The five basic best practices that I haven’t shared with you on this podcast before
- My story of becoming an executive coach for women leaders
- Strategies to ensure you get credit for your own ideas
- A super easy strategy for being seen as more strategic
- How to arrive to an interview feeling powerful and authentic
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Platinum Exchange Women's Leadership Program
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Join my group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time
- Get your copy of my book, Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite
- Go to StacyMayer.com/Strategies to join my email list and receive my email series, Seven Promotion Strategies that Your Boss Won’t Tell You
Hello, corporate badasses. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and super excited, as always, to be here with you again this week. So today's episode makes me a little bit nervous, and I think that's a good thing. And the reason why is today I'm going to be talking about women's leadership. And the reason why it makes me nervous is that I have a push, pull, love, hate relationship with women's leadership. And then also because women's leadership is my foundation, right? It's how I got into executive coaching. I am so grateful for everything and all of the opportunities that have been given to me in my life. And I wouldn't be coaching you delivering this podcast if it wasn't for the work that I did in women's leadership. So I have to acknowledge that, love that and be incredibly grateful for that. Also, while acknowledging the fact that I have grown and transitioned into what I call women's leadership 2.0, and that is what I teach you on this podcast and inside of executive ahead of time. And, and while normally I would be spelling out the differences and telling you all of the amazing things that I teach that differentiates myself, that makes me and my work, what I personally feel like. And as the results that I've seen in the women that I coach work quote-unquote better, for lack of a better word, is because of this women's leadership 2.0 and the work that I've been doing.
But actually today's episode, I'm going to take a step back and I'm going to go back to what I learned through teaching women's leadership and share some of that with you today because I learned a really valuable lesson on a weekly coaching call for executive ahead of time. So I was coaching. We have our calls every single week. I coach the women inside that program. If you want, if you have a question to ask, you get it answered right. If you show up to the coaching call, raise your hand. Heck, you don't even have to show up to the coaching calls. I have women who email me and aren't able to make the call live and I still answer their questions. Right? So you get a lot of coaching and time with me inside of executive ahead of time. Just want to throw that out there. In case you've been thinking about joining, you should definitely join. So one of the women actually I was talking about something and I said, okay, so here's how it goes down. There is a woman in the group who is actually inside of the leadership table, which is the next level programming after you do executive ahead of time. If you want more guided coaching for me, you join us inside the leadership table. And this woman is a phenomenal corporate badass.
And she was talking about her leadership and something that she does with her team. And she gave us an example and I'm going to share that example with you later in this episode. But she gave an example of something that she does that she's been working on for a while. And I said something like, Oh, that's like, you know, standard women's leadership practice, right? That's what I used to teach eight years ago. And when I did Women's Leadership and another woman in the group perked up and was like, wait, Stacy, can you tell us more standard women's leadership practice? Because I feel like I missed that, right? Like and because I don't teach that right, I feel like I teach kind of next-level women's leadership 2.0. And I was like, Oh, you know what? There's a lot in my brain that I take for granted that I learned through working in women's leadership and like best practices that we used to teach all the time, that I never teach anymore because I just make assumptions that people already know it, and I don't think that's always the case. So this woman said, Hey, can you put together a list of women's leadership best practices? So at least I don't miss the boat on those. Right? And I was like, Oh, yeah, of course. So I'm going back in time. I'm going to share with you in today's episodes the five things that I learned through teaching women's leadership that, you know, that I've probably never really said out loud, and maybe you've heard it before, but maybe you haven't.
And so today's episode is going to be for you to really check-in and say, Oh, you know what? That is something I'm already doing, or it's not. And, and so I want to offer that to you today in this episode. So before we get started, I want to tell you a little bit about my journey. So I'm going to go back in time. And, and another reason why this episode makes me nervous is that it's a little bit vulnerable for me. So I always knew that I wanted to be an executive coach. I loved coaching. I wasn't quite sure if I was going to coach corporate women, but my background is working at a hedge fund and I loved working with corporate. Individuals. And I just liked being in that corporate environment. I find that I step up to the plate, that I'm my power comes out. I talk on this podcast a lot about authentic power and the women that you surround yourself with or the leaders that you surround yourself with. And I find that when I am around other corporate badasses, I tend to elevate my own leadership. So, you know, it's a push-pull in terms of being able to be empowered by other people.
So I kind of thought that I wanted to work in the corporate world. And so when I first ventured out into executive coaching, I wasn't quite sure where to get started. Right? So as with anyone, you know, it's like, oh, well, I want to do a career pivot, but I'm not quite sure what to do. So I started working for a women's leadership organization in Silicon Valley because I was living in Berkeley, California, at the time. Oh, actually, no. At the time I was living in Palo Alto, California, and there was a phenomenal women's leadership organization that needed support, and help. Right. So I started working as a business manager for a women's leadership organization. I wasn't a coach in the beginning, and I was literally stuffing binders. So I call this my climb up from the mailroom story, right? I started in the mailroom and worked my way up to CEO. That's my story really over the last eight years. And so I was working and I used to stuff binders in the middle of the night. And I remember recruiting my mom, recruiting my husband to help me stuff these binders in our living room. And unfortunately, I would often wait until the last minute because it wasn't something that I particularly enjoyed doing and I would be stuffing these binders, getting them ready. And I was like, One day I am going to be stuffing binders for my own program, you know? And of course, my husband was like, heck yeah, you are, you know? But it felt really far away at the time.
I was like, you know, I'm just sort of supporting other coaches, supporting other people in this world. And in retrospect, actually, when I had this memory pop up, not this week, but several months ago, I actually cried because I realized how far I had come, you know, sitting in that living room, stuffing those binders and wanting something, but not really knowing how to make it happen, which as many of you probably feel that way. If your three X vision is much further from you where you are now, it can feel really hard and confused at times. So that's how I felt back in the day. But the idea that I wanted to be an executive coach and I would come to these in this support role to the women's leadership and the name of the organization was Platinum Exchange, and they're still around today. I'll link to that in the show notes. And I would come to these meetings and I would watch the other coaches and be like, I want to be coaching, right? Like it's so clear to me that I need to be up there coaching. And I was helping the founder of this, her name is Carrie, and I was helping her.
I was driving in her car one day and I remember telling her, I want your job someday, right? I want to own my own business. I want to be coaching woman. You know, this is what I want to be doing. And it's funny because also in retrospect, I look back at that and often I give advice to my women today, like, just tell your boss that you want their job someday, right? This is not something that we taught specifically in women's leadership, but it's what I believe. Right? It's true. And it really opened the door to her becoming my mentor. And really, she said absolutely. And she became my guide and showed me the way I got my coaching certification. And now fast forward to today, which is I actually had a full-circle moment when I published my book in November of last year where I realized not only did I bypass the stuffing of binders for my own program, I actually skipped it and wrote my own book. So this is what I talk about to the women inside of executive ahead of time, I'm like, you know, you could totally get a skip level promotion pretty quickly, actually. You don't even have to do all the steps. So I never even had to stuff binders for my own program. I actually skipped it and wrote a book and shared it with the whole world.
It friggin blows my mind, right? I look at how far I've come and I'm just I'm so eternally grateful. So that's my climbing up from the mail room story to where I am today. But when we were teaching in women's leadership, there was sort of these best practices, these tools that we would share that would be like the kind of these. Quotes, these reminders, things that you would write on a Post-it note that I really just take for granted, because they were just things that we would say kind of off the cuff. And as I get into this, I really want to credit Carrie Halmi and the work of Platinum Exchange and all the coaches, because they are the ones, you know, who came up with these quotes. And since, you know, obviously, as I'm starting my own program, I have taken it away from these quotes. And that's why you don't hear me say these very often because it's somebody else's work. And I do my own thought leadership now, and I have my own process that works for me and my clients and, quite frankly, produces these phenomenal results in a very short period of time. Women are getting promoted, getting paid more. And this is the work of my life and my focus. But when I look back at women's leadership and the work we did with Platinum Exchange, I realized, Oh yeah, of course, we would say that all the time.
So I'm just going to start with the example of the woman who was talking inside of Executive Ahead of Time, and she was sharing an example. And what she was talking about was so she was in a meeting with the leadership team and there was a man who spoke up in the meeting and she had came up with this idea and had been talking about this idea of something that she was working on. The man said the exact same thing that she said and basically took ownership of her idea. Right. So this is something that you may have experienced, unfortunately, where somebody else takes credit for your idea, especially if that person is higher up than you. And sometimes they may not even know that they're doing it, but 90% of the time they kind of do, but they're just like, oh, I'm in charge. Like, I can take that, right? She's down there. And so she works for me, so I can just take her idea and run it up to the CEO and say, it's my idea, right? Like that's what I do. And you'll see that a lot in companies. And if you have an experience that directly, good for you. Right? So this particular woman was sharing how she handled it and she said that basically in the meeting itself, she raised her hand. This is an in-person meeting, but you could totally do this on Zoom as well, where you could sort of raise your virtual hand or even speak up and you could say, Oh, I'm so glad that you like my idea.
Right? Stop talking. Full stop. I'm so glad that you like my idea. Right? I just raised this idea yesterday to the CEO, right? Or something like that, where you bring the conversation back, like, so you're not negating that person's idea, but you're basically saying, hey, isn't that great? And then he's like, Yeah, I have this wonderful idea. And you're like, Oh my God, that's so great. Because I also have that wonderful idea. Actually, I was just talking about it, right? And so we're taking the high road. We're not making that person look stupid in public or anything like that, but we're basically owning our own responsibility and the credit where the credit is due. Right. I'm the person who came up with that idea. And so I said, Oh, yeah, that's like standard women's leadership, right? When somebody takes your idea, you just say, Oh, I'm so glad that you like my idea. And of course, the other woman in executive ahead of time was like, What? I never even thought about that, right? So I was like, Oh, I have to create a podcast episode of all these women's leadership isms, you know? So that's one you can write that down, take it, do what you want with it.
Another thing that we use to talk about is if you want to be seen as more strategic, use the word strategic, and this one I loved, I thought this was frickin brilliant. I think Kerry said this at one of our, you know, one of our weekly meetings. And I was like, what? And she's like if you want to be seen as more strategic, use the word strategic. And this is such a simple tool that you can begin to implement yesterday, right? So whatever it is that you want to be seen as quote-unquote, more of, just start using that word in a conversation. It's so frickin brilliant. It works every single time and you need to start doing it yesterday again. Simple to me in my mind, but maybe you've never thought of it. So I'm glad and happy to give that and throw that your way. Something else that seems obvious to me, but maybe not obvious to you is if you're physically in a meeting and now that you're going back into the office more and more, and you would normally be cold in the conference room, wear a sweater, right? This was literally like we would actually go through these checklists of things and say, wear a sweater. And the reason for that is, are women tend to not wear the same clothes as men, obviously.
And so we'll be wearing like short-sleeved shirts and things like that in meetings. And the recommendation is that instead of sitting there with your arms crossed, like rubbing your arms right. Cold as can be. Wear a sweater, wear a sweater, wear a jacket, and come dressed appropriately for the temperature of the room. I thought that was so fricking brilliant because it's a simple thing. You can start doing it today. But what we're trying to do and in the work of women's leadership, is create a level playing field as best as possible. Right. And so if the men are dominating the conversation, like literally just through their presence, like, let's say the room is filled with 90% men, their voices tend to be deeper. They tend to have stereotypically a sort of interruptive nature, right? So the voices get louder in the room. They're interrupting each other. They're talking over each other. There's like this testosterone growing in the room. And then you're like, I'm not interested in playing this game. So you play small, right? And so it's like we can set ourselves up for success just by wearing a sweater. Another example that was so brilliant, I thought, was that I think that it's like, Oh gosh, I don't have the percentage in front of me. But, you know, the majority, say of CEOs are over six feet tall. Right. There is an actual percentage of the number of CEOs that are over six feet tall.
And the same goes for men in the room that you're in physically. This is only if you're in the physical room. And the suggestion was to raise your seat up a little bit higher. And this also forces you to sit up straighter because when your seat is a little bit higher and maybe you even have heels on. Right, which is awesome, wear your heels or don't wear your heels and you're sitting up straighter. You're going to take up more space, right? You're going to be ready to interject as needed. And I guess how to translate this into the virtual world is to turn your camera on. Right, be ready. Have the intention to interject as needed in the conversation. Right. So again, these are just standard practices that we would talk about. And sometimes they kind of like I would take them for granted. They would sound a little bit silly to me, but they really do help, especially when we're looking to even the playing field. Right. We're looking to be included in the conversation. Another person that we would talk a lot about in women's leadership, as we talked about Amy Cuddy and Amy Cuddy had developed a practice and we'll link to her TEDx talk in the show notes called Power Poses. And this is a way of getting energy into your body. So some people would call it faking it until you make it.
And I don't really like faking it until we make it. I think that's not that useful, and especially so this is going to take me on my rant about the work that I'm doing today. But if we fake our way to the executive suite, what's going to happen is we're still going to be isolated. We're not going to have that voice at the table. We're going to constantly feel like we have to prove ourselves. And, you know, so I'm not interested in anything faking it, but I am interested in setting you up for success. And so she gives an example of before an interview in general, you're staring at your phone, you're kind of swiping through emails. Maybe you're even looking down at your notes. And think about this. Even if you prepare for an interview virtually right. What are you usually doing right before the interview? And some people, truthfully, I would recommend giving yourself very there's like two camps, right? So let's say you have an interview coming up and you want to give yourself zero time. So you book the interview right after a meeting that you had. I think that's fine because you're going to show up as that corporate badass. You're going to be like ready to go, oh, wait, now I realize I'm going off into what I think this is what I always do, right? Everything you hear on Maximize Your Career is about me.
It's my brain. So I basically take what I learned in women's leadership and change it into what I believe and what I see actually works. So that was sort of a tangent that I realized I was going on. Bring it back so simplistically, Amy Cuddy would talk about power poses, and quite frankly, what she would say is Put your hands on your hips in a Wonder Woman pose in the bathroom before going into an interview versus staring at your phone. Right. So that's a good tip. People would use it. It works. Okay. But the idea is that you come to an interview ready, powerfully, and authentically. And then, you know, as I said, I was going off on a tangent and maybe I'll record another podcast episode about how I truly think you can show up more powerfully in interviews. But just from the simplistic standpoint, putting your hands on your hips like that could work for you, right? That could be enough to get you into that powerful place. Let's see. Another thing is to stop. Taking notes. So women a lot of times will be the note-takers in meetings and maybe they're not even volunteering to like do notes afterward. But you're staring at your desk and you're taking notes, and we want to stop doing that. We want to be present, and be engaged in the conversation versus taking notes which disengages it.
And as I'm sharing a lot of these meeting ways to show up in meetings tools, I realize that a lot of them are different, virtually like literally what I would tell you, we'd never talked about virtual meetings so much because when I was doing it Platinum Exchange, most of the people were in person. But now even virtually basically the answer to that would be to turn your camera on. Right? Like so many of us don't have our cameras on and we're kind of like looking off to the side. So we want to be prepared, ready to engage versus checked out or staring or typing on your screen or anything like that. So I do think that is a good tip. Another statistic that I thought is really useful, and this comes from Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, but it's she quoted in her book, which I think that there's been some debunking about this percentage that she used. But let's just say I think there's still truth to it. Men apply for positions if they meet just 60% of the requirements, while women only apply if they meet 100% of them. And so whether the percentages are slightly off or not, I think that the point in terms of women's leadership is to apply for the frickin role. Like put yourself out there, raise your hand, and speak up. Right. These are all standard women's leadership tenants.
And I think that there's a huge amount of value to all of this in terms of being able to put yourself into the arena, as Brené Brown would say, to show up, to do hands-on the hips, Wonder Woman pose before going into a conversation. Be willing to turn your video on. If you're finding yourself with arms crossed repeatedly and in in-person meetings wear sweaters you know and be willing to say use the word strategic in conversations. If you want to be seen as more strategic, be willing to say, thank you so much. I'm glad you like my idea. If somebody else takes credit for your idea, all of those things are so incredibly valuable because it gets you in the room. Right. And this I 100% agree with. So even as I create women's leadership 2.0, basically where I'm starting from in everything that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time is the basic assumption that you desire to be a corporate badass, right? You are a corporate badass and you desire more. You want to have that voice at the table. Whether or not you want an executive title or not is kind of irrelevant to me. But it's more about how can we claim our voice at the table, not just the seat at the table? And it starts with literally all of these tenants, this willingness to show up, to put ourselves out there, to equal the playing field in terms of our voice, our confidence, and how we're engaging in conversation.
And then and this is where, you know, I created an entire business and I like to call it at this point. I just think it's a frickin legacy that I'm creating. I'm truthfully bringing more diversity to the leadership table, because not only are we engaging in the conversation, we're getting the titles, we're getting the higher pay, but we're also being included, right? And so everything that I teach from 15-minute ally meetings, from the willingness to stop doing what you're good at, to step into that executive level of communication, to go after your three X vision is, is in fact, women's leadership 2.0. But we don't want to forget our roots. We don't want to forget the basics and where these tenants came from and why they work, whether or not you agree with Sheryl Sandberg's Lean in philosophy or what we are teaching in what we're teaching in platinum exchange, like all of those things is so important to just get you included in the conversation. And then once we do that, we can go and do more, which is how can we maximize our career, get ourselves into those positions of influence and power to really create change at our organization from the C-suite out. All right, everyone, thank you so much for listening and I'll see you next week.
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.