How we show up as female leaders is important, and not just in our strength of leadership, but in being open to the emotional, strong, smart messes and powerhouses that we can be at any given time.

Have I cried at work? Yup. Have I cried in front of my team, out of joy, frustration, or pride? I sure have. Being that open and vulnerable in front of my teams has helped me be human and someone they not only connect with but can aspire to be. As leaders, we aren’t in some ivory tower looking down on people but amongst everyone, in the trenches together, understanding what it takes to win and move things forward.  This attitude has helped me create teams that are forever connected to each other, ones that drive collaborative culture and bring that vision to their teams going forward. 

I am decidedly not for everyone; it took me a long time to figure out that not only was that okay, but it’s a benefit to me. Showing up as my whole self daily has been core to getting me where I am. It has hurt me at times, but more often than not, it has been the differentiator between me and someone else.

As women, we try to play the game and be what everyone wants us to be versus what we want for ourselves. How do we want to show up? Who do we want to be for our team? Who has showed up for us, and what did that mean? I was lucky to have strong female leaders to look up to who showed up as their authentic selves every day, but personally, it took me some time to get comfortable with that.

This attitude has also helped me thrive in leadership positions outside of my career, fulfilling me to no end. Showing up as a female leader is important for communities to drive forward, not just in organisations where female leadership is typically accepted. Creating a social justice group in my community with four other women, leading our wellness and substance abuse organisation, or serving as a board member on our town's Educational grant process have all showcased what female leadership can and should be. I have not shirked from my beliefs or who I am to drive these organisations forward. If anything, it was why I was selected to lead many of them.

The key to evolving female leadership isn’t some secret. It’s having more women accepted and elevated in boardrooms. Allow them room to breathe, expand, and create their own space and definition of leadership. Judge them as individuals, for what they each distinctly bring to your organisation, not against outdated standards of what leadership should be.