Close this search box.

Leading With Your Feminine Energy With Carla Howard

Women can be great leaders that lead with empathy and emotion, but they just need to stop holding themselves back. Every woman has that feminine energy. People can combine feelings with how they lead, especially women leaders. Stop limiting yourself to what you see in the industry. Join Rosie Zilinskas as she talks to Carla Howard about letting your feminine energy come through in your leadership. Carla is a Strategic Change Consultant, Professional Speaker, and a Dream Enabler. She helps her clients, especially women, break through their limiting beliefs so they can unlock their true potential. As a woman, discover why you don’t have to lose who you are in order to lead. Learn why having a community and a sponsor is important if you want to climb the ranks in your industry. Sparkle and rise today!

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Leading With Your Feminine Energy With Carla Howard

In this episode, we are talking to Carla Howard, and I am so honored and blessed that Carla decided to come on to our show because she is incredible. You will learn fantastic phrases that Carla tells us to use in our lives, specifically in our corporate lives. Let me tell you a little bit about Carla. Carla Howard is a strategic change consultant, professional speaker, and dream enabler, whether helping corporations manage change, delivering keynotes, teaching emerging speakers how to get paid from the stage, or supporting kind and ambitious women. Carla helps people move from where they are to where they want to be. She is fantastic. Some of the tips she gives us on how to use language are incredible. One of the key phrases that I loved is when how to disagree with someone. That’s going to be coming up in the episode. Stay tuned. You don’t want to miss this one.

Carla Howard, welcome to the show. Carla, I know that you have mentored thousands of women. One of the questions I would love to ask you is, what are some of the trends you have identified in coaching these women regarding holding themselves back? The number one thing is the mindset. We, as women, get it stuck in our heads that, “We can do something when,” and you can fill in the blank from that, like when our kids grow up. We can do it when our older children go to college. We can begin to live our dream lives once we have this certification, or we’ve had so many years in corporate that now we have those credentials that we can now do the things that we wanted to do. To me, what I see oftentimes is our own mindset and the self-limiting beliefs that we set on what we can achieve and what we’re ready for that keep us from taking those steps that will create our dream lives. I agree with that. One of the easy ways that I’ve seen, and I’ve said this a ton of times on the show, is that women don’t apply for jobs. That’s the simplest way that I can say that women tend to wait until they have all the skills, certificates, or whatever before they try to get that next promotion. What are some of the other things that you have identified beside the mindset? We look and don’t see other people like us in a position. It’s interesting. I did a TEDx Talk a couple of years ago called Picture a Leader. Is She a Woman?. It was all around this study that was done, where they asked hundreds of people to draw a picture of a leader. Overwhelmingly, they drew pictures of men. I did a test with my own daughters. I built my career in corporate before I became an entrepreneur. One of my daughters worked in the same company I did. Both of my daughters do pictures of men, and my granddaughter drew a picture of a man. I was like, “What is going on here? I’m a global leader inside of an organization.” They have an example. I had amazing parents growing up who always told me I could do and be anything I wanted to do, yet I did not ever consider that I could be a CEO and that I could run a business because I never saw anybody like me doing that. It’s not even that I didn’t think I was capable. The thought that I could do it never entered my mind. That’s the other thing we have to battle. Just because you don’t see someone like you doing something does not mean that it is not a door you can walk through and should walk through. We have to talk early with the young women in our lives from the time I’m talking to five-year-olds to say, “You can do all of the things. You can be a mom and a CEO. You can be an ambitious woman and be a pilot. You can also throw pottery on the weekends if you want to.” Your choices are not limited by what you see other people like you doing. This is something that stops us in a very unconscious way because we don’t even realize that we are limiting what we can do based on what we see. I agree with everything that you said. I am shocked that even your daughters and granddaughter drew a picture of a male, especially having you as an example. I interviewed another. She is a therapist, and her program is called Chatter Girls. This is Alicia Marcos Birong. She is starting to do confidence-building workshops for girls ages 8 to 14. She said that when it comes to confidence in women, they are confident between eight. Just because you don't see someone like you doing something doesn't mean that is not a door that you can walk through. – Carla Howard Click To Tweet Nine is when the confidence peaks, but they start working on it, or they can start working on the confidence from 8 to 14, but then they don’t touch confidence again until they’re in their 40s. That whole time they’re in high school, college, and entering into the workforce, they’re not even cognizant that they need that confidence to continue to their jobs. How did you address the fact that your daughters and granddaughter drew a picture of a male leader? The daughter that worked with me, I looked at her like, “Are you kidding me? What are you thinking?” She goes, “I’m sorry, mom. That’s the first thing that popped into my mind.” We laughed about it, but I think it’s an epidemic. It was so conditioned. Here’s the thing, my daughter’s direct leader is a man. That person’s direct leader is a man, and that person’s direct leader is a man. She’s got me as a role model, and in her job, who does she have as a leader? She has men. It never occurred to her. The one that broke my heart was my granddaughter. I tear up a little bit when I say this because it is hard to tell. She’s eight, and it was stick figures. I’m like, “Maybe this is a woman.” I said, “Tell me about the picture.” She said, “These people are moving boxes, and this man, he’s the leader.” I said, “Do you think a woman could be the leader of these people moving boxes?” She said, “No, you have to be strong to be a leader.” I have chills when I say that loud because the first thought that came to my mind was, “We have a lot of work to do here.” It is why we’re having this conversation. My mission is to empower women and eradicate the gender gap. That’s both the pay and gender gap in the corporate world. You’re doing the same for entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and people like that. That whole story that you said has me fired up a little bit here, Carla. It should have us all fired up. The other thing that holds us back, unfortunately, in corporate, is there are some not very nice women in upper leadership. That is the fact. Not all women. Some of the most amazing leaders I’ve had are women. This is not an across-the-board statement. Where women are unkind and want to be the only candle on the birthday cake is when they can make it difficult for other women to succeed because they don’t want them to rise above them. As a woman, you look at that and think, “That’s what I have to do to get ahead. I don’t want any part of it.” It turns women off of leadership. I have experienced that in my own career as well. I’ve also experienced the most empathetic, kind, lovely leadership by women. We have to remind ourselves that we don’t have to lose who we are in order to lead. In fact, we shouldn’t. The people we lead deserve who we are to bring our empathy, have hard conversations, and say things like, “This is going to be a hard conversation. I’ve noticed something holding you back, and I would like to give you that feedback. Can we have the discussion?” There are ways to have conversations that you keep who you are, yet you lead from a place of strength. If there’s a woman reading who thinks she doesn’t want to move into leadership because she has seen the ugly behavior of women out there, and all of us have experienced it, I want her to know that she does not have to lose herself. In fact, if she focuses on tapping into her feminine leadership, she will be an even more amazing leader.
NWB 24 | Feminine Energy
Feminine Energy: Your choices are not limited by what you see other people like you are doing. A lot of people don’t even realize that they are limiting what they can do based on what they see.
  I’m glad you said that. Before I go into feminine energy leadership, I want to completely agree with you. I have had women that are managers that are amazing because they bring in that human component of the employee. I loved what you said, to sit down with the person in front of you and start right off the bat. This is going to be a hard conversation. That sets up the interaction well because the other person isn’t waiting for, “Is it a good conversation or a bad conversation?” When our kids were little, and the school would call you, they would say, “Is this Bobby’s mom?” The first thing they would say was, “He’s okay.” I’m like, “Cool.” I can relax, and I know that he’s fine. I can think about other things, but it’s pins and needles when someone calls you from school. It’s the same thing as what you said. That is the most exceptional way that I’ve heard to start a difficult conversation. The second thing to that is you ask the person, “Can we have that conversation?” That is an excellent bridge to have that conversation and for them to be open because, as you will know, if someone is not prepared for constructive criticism or feedback, they’re going to be on the defensive. They’re not going to be able to hear you. The way you set it up is perfect. I’ll give you another way that I have given feedback before. This works well with peers or with someone whom you report to, your leader. It’s bringing your femininity into leadership in a way that keeps you strong. Let’s say that I noticed something in a meeting. I wanted to let you know that I thought it was an opportunity. I would say something like, “Rosie, I value you. I can see you doing amazing things within the company. I noticed something in our meeting that might be holding you back. Do I have permission to share that with you?” Be quiet because, honestly, I have never asked that and had somebody say, “No, you don’t have permission to share with me.” If you think about it, you are now in the driver’s seat. The second you say, “Absolutely,” you are now open. Your heart is open. You know that I’m coming from it from a place of, “I care about you. I value our relationship. I see you doing great things, and I think this might be holding you back.” It doesn’t feel punitive. This is gold for managers, Carla, because managing people is the hardest part of a manager’s job. Doing their day-to-day is not a big deal when they’re managing people. I know there are women out there who want to be good leaders, but they lack the language to do it. You gave us two great examples of how leaders can coach by asking permission if the person is willing to be coached. That’s fantastic. I want to talk more about feminine energy. What is feminine energy? How can women use it in leadership? Those two examples are great examples. It is when you come and show up as who you are as a caring, empathetic leader. You’re giving feedback because you care about the person. You’re concerned about, “Make it up,” the fact that they are late every morning. Let’s say that your company has a hard stop. Everybody has to be here by 9:00, and you notice somebody being late. If you go to that person to say, “I’m concerned about you. Here’s the deadline that we have to be at work on time. I’ve noticed that you’ve been consistently late. Talk to me. What’s going on with you?” It’s having the conversation. Here’s where we get twisted up in leading people, and it’s not as hard as we make it out to be. I made this mistake myself early in my career. You don't have to lose who you are in order to lead, especially as a woman. – Carla Howard Click To Tweet I watched the way men lead, and it was very direct. They didn’t show emotion. They didn’t show empathy. I’d say that’s changing a bit. This was years ago. Times are changing, and it is still often the way that men do lead. We see that as an example, and I myself did this where I didn’t show emotion. I put on the corporate face. It was buttoned up, and I led from a place of what I thought was power and strength. It stripped away all of the empathy and the caring. It left people feeling separate from me. Leadership is easier. We can lead people with ease when we speak to the emotion, “This is going be a difficult conversation. I’m concerned about you because I’ve noticed this. It seems that you’ve not been satisfied with your job lately. Here’s how it feels to me because here are the things that I’ve noticed. How does it feel to you?” When we combine feelings and who we are with how we lead, it gets so much easier. We feel like it’s going to be harder because we’re more vulnerable. We’re more open. We’re sharing how we’re feeling. I promise, it is easier, and that’s where the feminine energy comes in. When we lean into feelings and talk about things that are hard, the conversations go better, and it’s easier for us to have them. It’s easier for the person you’re talking to receive them because they see that you’re empathetic. They see that you’re treating them as a human and not a number. I’ve read a couple of articles that companies are trying to treat the person as a whole, not just the employee. They’re doing things like allowing people to have a stipend for yoga, healthcare, or any health club, things like that. They’re trying to bring in the whole person and not treat the person as an employee and forget about the personal lives of these individuals. We are in a good place in different corporations where corporations are trying to awaken to be empathetic as a corporation, not just an individual leader. We’re trending in the right direction. Not to mention that work like you do and work like I do help women realize that they can be a leader and can move up the corporate ladder because, like your granddaughter, that didn’t think a woman could be a CEO. That’s what we need to empower women in our age bracket so that they, in turn, can empower younger women. That’s the only way we’re going to help women rise. I fully believe that we have to ignite the imagination of our young people and that our young girls have to see themselves as a pilot, a CEO, and a commander in the military. Whatever it is that they want to do, they have to be able to see themselves as that. Boys need to see themselves as that as well. They also need to see women as leaders. We have these conversations that need to happen with the young boys and girls in our lives so that both genders can see a woman as a leader. What you brought up is perfect because you’re right. We can’t forget. When I say that we’re supporting women, it’s not the where against men or anything like that, but we also need to teach men. A lot of men nowadays are supportive husbands, fathers, and family members of the women in their lives, but we have to keep teaching men, especially those younger boys that women are very capable of leading as men or boys are. The other thing is that I’m a big fan of moving away from blame. We have blamed men for women not rising. We have blamed women for not getting a seat at the table. We have blamed teachers because they say, “Let’s go to page seven.” The blame doesn’t work. We need to get out of the business of blaming and start having conversations that make a difference. That’s how you change things. You don’t change things by pointing a finger. You change things through thoughtful conversations.
NWB 24 | Feminine Energy
Feminine Energy: You can lead people with ease when you speak to the emotion. Being vulnerable won’t make leading harder, it will make it easier. Combining feelings with how you lead will make leading easier.
  That’s so very true. We want to continue to have conversations with the young girls and the women to rise together. I know you have a Facebook group. Tell me a little bit about your Facebook group. It’s called Sparkle & Rise. It is a community for the kind and ambitious women. We have over 760 people in there now. It’s an amazing group. One of our women calls it the kindest place on the internet. We do all the fun things there. Everything we do there is free. It is a safe place for women to gather and engage with each other. We have coffee chats once a month. We do some in-person coffee chats. Here in Phoenix, we have a lot of women here I’ve met. When I go to other cities, I’ll meet other women for coffee and other areas of the country. We do little mini masterminds called Sister Circles. If a woman is having a challenge, we’ll get on a Zoom with ten of our Rise Sisters, hear what she’s going through and give her some ideas on how to break through that. It’s a lovely place for encouragement, learning with each other, and getting together on virtual events. It’s a cool community. These conversations, when a woman is having a challenge, can it be a personal situation? Does it have to be a work situation? It can be either. What we do, we call it a sister circle, and I will put it out in the Facebook group, “Sally Sue is having a challenge. She likes some help from Rise Sisters. Here’s the date and time.” We lock it down to no more than ten people then we get on a Zoom call. Sally will share the challenge that she’s having then she’ll sit silently. I record the calls, and Sally is the only one who gets a copy of it so that she can refer back to it later. Each of the women on the call will take five minutes to pour love into Sally and give her ideas on how she might break through. We all cry on these calls. In the end, Sally will say, “These are the things that resonated with me most, and these are the things I’m going to take forward.” I’ve had women say it’s life-changing. One of our women completely changed her business model. One of the women left a job that she did not love. She didn’t think she’d find her ideal job within her company. Within three weeks, she did. She applied, and she got it. We’ve had women ask for raises off of those calls. I can’t even tell you. It touches my heart, every one of them. These are free because when I stepped out of corporate into my entrepreneurial journey, I kept thinking, “I could use a mastermind. I am struggling over here.” When I went online, they were like 10,000, 20,000, and 30,000. I thought, “Why can’t we get together and help each other?” I thought, “By golly, we can, and I can be the one to make that happen.” The Sister Circles are an amazing experience to go through. Blaming doesn't work. You don't change things by pointing a finger. You change things through thoughtful conversations. – Carla Howard Click To Tweet I love that, especially because you are serving your community. You are giving back. You’re right. Masterminds are outrageous. They’re typically for entrepreneurs, but if it’s anything as far as a personal or work situation, that’s perfect. The fact that you close it at ten, it’s a perfect amount of people where they give you different perspectives. One of the things is that women, when they’re trying to work, whether it’s in their business or their career, have blind spots. They can’t see their own blind spots. For you to have that community that can point out the different perspectives, it opens up the person to see those blind spots and change their behavior and lives. That’s awesome. Congratulations on that. I love that. Back to the feminine energy, the feminine energy is for any woman, not just an executive or a manager but a person trying to move into management or up the corporate ladder. How can they use that feminine energy? I’m thinking, more specifically, negotiating. You gave us some good language previously. When someone wants to go to their manager and start having that negotiation conversation, what are some things that they can say to start that conversation? The very first thing that comes to mind is women have a tendency. I say this with love because this was me for many years to overexplain. We want to tell the whole story, all of the details, how we came to this place, and nobody wants to hear all of that. If you’re negotiating for a salary, get your facts together. Know what other people are paid in your industry. Be realistic about your contributions because if you have a challenging job and are doing everything within your job description, you’re meeting expectations. You’re not going above and beyond. You’re not. To go in and say, “I’ve done all these great things.” If that’s within your job description, your leader’s going to look at you and think, “That’s your job.” Get clear on what your job is and where you are going above and beyond, then understand where you are in the market in your pay range. If you know what other people make, then bring that in as data as well. Schedule that meeting in advance and title it something like a compensation discussion. Nobody likes to be surprised. If you think about your leader like a little ground squirrel, they don’t like to be surprised. Schedule it in advance, compensation discussion. Let’s use these 30 minutes to discuss my compensation and the next steps in my career progression, and I will go in and talk to the leader. I open up and say, “Thank you for taking this time to discuss my compensation with me. There are two topics I’d like to discuss, the first one being my current salary and the second one, my career aspiration to move into the XYZ position. Is there anything else you would like to discuss before we get going?” Be quiet because you want to open it up. It’s not a debate. It’s a conversation. See what your leader has to say. I would say, “Before we talk about the next steps, I’d love to take a few minutes to talk about my current compensation. It’s coming to my attention that there are men on the team that make $10,000 more than I do. Until I reach that next promotion point, I would love for us to talk about how we can bring my compensation up to be equal to other people on the team. What are your thoughts on that?” and then be quiet.
NWB 24 | Feminine Energy
Feminine Energy: If you’re negotiating for a salary, get your facts together. Women have a tendency to over-explain and nobody has the time to hear all of that. Get clear on what your job is and where you are in the market.
  We think we have to come in and talk and talk. We do not. You have to engage that leader in a conversation and do it in a kind way so that they don’t feel like you’re there pointing the finger. Those would be my recommendation. Set it up in advance and title it. Your leader knows what’s going to happen and come at it from a place of kindness and open discussion. That is fantastic advice, especially titling the meeting subject compensation discussion. No leader wants to be surprised with you coming in and wanting to ask for a raise or discuss compensation. They want to be prepared and probably will do a little bit of homework in advance of your meeting. That’s good because you’re being direct. In the past, I would title something like career development conversation. The one thing that I wanted to talk about was compensation, and that goes for anybody. Now we can switch the narrative to be transparent and direct. More than anything, that kindness and that empathetic spirit of the conversation will get you down the line a little bit better and open up that dialogue with your manager. My community is for the kind and ambitious women. I’m very glued to this fact. Many people think an ambitious woman is just that. She’s ambitious. They don’t think about you can be kind and ambitious. We are kind people. We don’t have to choose. They’re not mutually exclusive. If everything we do is focused on being kind and ambitious, then we will rise faster. Harvard Business Review did a study several years ago where they asked people, “Would you rather work with someone competent or likable?” Likable won out by far. Harvard Business Review coined the term lovable stars. They said the people who are both competent and likable are lovable stars. That’s where I want women to get to. You get to be the lovable star. You can be kind. You can be ambitious. You can grow your career and be empathetic all at the same time. We do not have to choose. That’s pure gold, Carla. I like it. I liked that you said kind and ambitious don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can be both. This is why I want to have these conversations to showcase the fact that you can be and by no means are we saying to be perfect because nobody can be perfect, but you can be kind. You can be a go-getter and have those empathetic conversations. That’s fantastic. I know in the past, we talked about women acquiring a sponsor. Can we talk a little bit about that? Yes. We hear a lot about mentors. We need a mentor, someone in a position that we aspire to be in and that will coach us on how we can get there. A sponsor is very different. If you think about a sponsor, this is going to be the person who brings your name up behind closed doors when decisions are being made for the next significant promotional opportunity or position on a project. The reason why this is different is because many times, these opportunities are not posted anywhere. This is senior-level executives in a room talking about who’s ready to take on a significant opportunity. If everything we do is focused on being kind and ambitious together, then we are going to rise faster. – Carla Howard Click To Tweet If you do not have a sponsor in that room, your name will not come up. Depending on your industry, traditionally, these are going to be men because it is men who are sitting in the CEO seat. It is men who are typically the direct reports with the exception of HR. A lot of times, you have an HR, senior leader, or C-Suite in the room. Typically, if you do the math, you’re going to need to find a man to be your sponsor. The way that you do that is through a relationship. You reach out to someone. First of all, you do your homework, and you look at your organization. Who is the CEO? Who are the CEO’s direct reports? Who do you admire? Who do you like the way that they lead their teams? Who would you like to lead like? You reach out and ask them if you can have coffee or whatever is culturally acceptable in your organization. Maybe it’s a Zoom call these days. Let them know that you admire their work and would like to learn more about the company and get their feedback on a couple of things you’re working on. You will then have a conversation. In the end, you can say, “I’ve learned a lot. I would love to continue to meet with you. Would you be open every 4 to 6 weeks to another coffee or a call?” You build that relationship. Over time, you will be in a position where when that conversation starts, that senior leader will say, “Rosie would be the perfect fit for this project, and here’s why.” They’re going to know what you do. They’re going to know what your aspirations are. They’re going to trust that when you come in and take that position, you will make them look good. That’s great advice. A sponsor is someone that’s going to be advocating for you when you’re not present. It may not necessarily be your direct manager. It can be any leader. Hopefully, a leader that is in that C-Suite level. You don’t want it to be your direct leader. You want it to be outside of your direct leader, and you don’t want it to be their boss. I recommend you get into a different vertical in the organization when you start thinking about a sponsor. I have had a situation where I built an amazing relationship with my sponsor and had to go to them because I was having a serious problem with my leader. I said to them, “I am struggling, and I need some guidance. Do you have a few minutes?” We went to coffee. I shared what was happening, and he did a little bit of blocking and tackling from the other side and gave me some good advice on how I should handle the situation. Had it been my direct leader, I would have nobody to go to. Had it been their leader, that puts me in a very risky position because either there might be a backlash against that leader, or they may go right to them and say, “I was talking to Carla, and she said such and such.” I needed someone I could trust in a different vertical in the organization to help me when things got tough. That’s another thing you can use your sponsor for. Don’t find someone in your vertical or use your direct leader for that role. That’s perfect clarification on that. That’s good. You’re a strategic change consultant. What does a change consultant do?
NWB 24 | Feminine Energy
Feminine Energy: In a room full of senior-level executives who are talking about who’s ready to take on a significant opportunity, your name will not come up if you don’t have a sponsor.
  A few years ago, I got laid off from my corporate job and had to make a decision, “Do I go find another corporate job? Do I launch fully into my business?” which I had started as a side hustle. I launched fully into my business. Strategic change consulting is all around teaching leaders within an organization how to lead change successfully. It’s how to help people transition from the way they do work now to the way they do work tomorrow. You partner with the technology or the reorg group. The focus is on leading, how to get people to successfully make transitions and stay doing work the way you want and need them to do. That can be some system implementation. It can be a reorg within an organization. Now, I primarily work in mergers and acquisitions. There are a lot of technical pieces to that. Anyone who’s ever been through an acquisition, whether you’re the acquiring company or the company being acquired, there are all of the emotions that go along with that and all of the changes that happen to the people. My focus is on how we support those people. How do we help them get that feeling of safety back? Now, we’ve got to integrate these two companies so that we can work as one. There’s a lot of leadership coaching that goes along with that, and that is the work that I do now. You’re also a dream enabler. Tell me about that. I love that title. I struggled with what to call the work that I do under that umbrella. The dream enabler is focused around helping people get from where they are now to where they want to be tomorrow. There are a couple of different ways that I do that. My Sparkle and Rise free community is part of that, helping women know they have a safe place and helping them through sister circles and different things to get to where they want to be tomorrow. The other way that I do that is I have a membership for the kind and ambitious female entrepreneurs where we do co-working. We have business talks and help each other grow our businesses. I’m also a keynote speaker. I speak on both topics. I speak on the change leadership side and also speak on issues that women face as we are building our careers and our dream lives. It’s things like Is Your Inner Critic Designing Your Future?. It’s one of my talks. Another one is Speaking with Confidence – Tips for Ambitious Women and their Allies. You get the theme there. Because I’m a keynote speaker, I’ve had so many people ask me, “How did you bridge from free talks to getting paid thousands of dollars for a keynote presentation?” I built a program called Get Paid from the STAGE. It’s a six-week program that helps speakers create the package. I give them opportunities to apply. Dream enablers focus on helping people get from where they are today, to where they want to be tomorrow. – Carla Howard Click To Tweet We bring in an event organizer to share the things that she sees from her side to help them transition from free speeches or free talks to getting paid for the value they deliver. You can see the theme under that dream enabler umbrella. It depends on what your dream is. If your dream is to be a professional speaker, I can help you with that through my Get Paid from the STAGE program and my free challenge. If your dream is to build your entrepreneurial empire, we do that in the Rise Sister Membership. I have a Facebook group where it’s not as intense as the things we do. It’s much more supportive and bringing sisters together there if you’re dreaming of a community where you can go in and engage and get that support you’re looking for. You do it all, Carla. That’s awesome. I love that dream enabler piece because you’re helping anyone figure out what they want to do. The Great Resignation is winding down a little bit. We’ve started now to hear about layoffs in different organizations. I know 7-Eleven had a huge layoff. When it comes to dream enablers during this pandemic, so many people have left corporate to become entrepreneurs. This is a great opportunity for someone that’s trying to figure out how to do that to talk to Carla. Carla, I’m curious. I know you said you do mergers and acquisitions and work with leaders. I’m assuming some of those people are men. What are some actions that you observed that men do versus what women do to advance in their careers? I don’t think there’s that big of a difference in terms of the act that they take. I don’t see a big difference there. The difference is in the way that we have the conversation. It’s less what they do and more how they do it. They network, and we network. They showcase their accomplishments, and we showcase our accomplishments. We do it differently. The biggest challenge I see with women, and this is my talk that I do around speaking with confidence, are many times we try to share our accomplishments but diminish them in the process. Instead of saying directly what we suggest or what we’ve learned, we couch it by saying something like, “This might not be a good idea, but I was thinking that maybe we might want to.” Instead of in the room saying, “I have an idea I’d like to share for consideration,” then say it. The other thing that is different is that men will disagree with the idea being shared if they have a different position. Women are afraid to disagree. We either don’t say anything or couch it. Have that hip pocket phrase ready for when you want to disagree. My favorite one is this, “I see it differently. Here’s what I’m thinking.” It’s still strong. I’m not coming in and saying, “I agree with you, but I’m thinking this,” because all of that takes away your power. If you simply say, “I see it differently. Here’s what I’m thinking,” you’re still powerful. You’re still sharing your idea, and you’re not diminishing. I don’t think there’s a difference in what they do. There’s a difference in how they do it. I was cringing when you were saying those things. We need to stop couching the things we do or how we say things. I also want to go back to you saying that we overexplain. You’re right. I had someone who was a business owner. She said, “When I’m coaching men and women, the men, if they have to cancel a meeting, they’re like, ‘Can’t make it. See you next time.’ The women are like, ‘This came up, and that came up. I’m so sorry. I’ll try and make it up. I apologize.'” That’s the second piece of it.
NWB 24 | Feminine Energy
Feminine Energy: Don’t come in and say that you agree with the men in the business. That takes away your power. Simply say that you see it differently. You’re still sharing your idea but you’re not diminishing.
  We are constantly apologizing for no reason. “I’m sorry, but can I ask a question?” That’s awful. We need to be cognizant of how we’re saying things. We need to quit apologizing when we haven’t done anything wrong, and we need to stop couching. Carla, that is great because you said that men don’t do things differently. It’s how they say things that make an impact. That’s critical for us to understand. “I’ve been thinking men must do something different because I don’t coach men. What is it that they do that they’re doing?” I’ve had that in the back of my head, so I’m glad that you were able to clarify for me that they’re not doing anything differently. It’s how we present the same thing. I like the phrase you said, “I see it differently, and this is what I’m thinking.” That is brilliant because you don’t have to say, “I disagree,” then put yourself on the defensive because that’s how you feel. If you say it the way I mentioned, it’s softer and direct, and you still keep your power in that conversation. You’re opening it up for collaboration. That’s the difference. If you say, “I disagree. Here’s what I think,” you’re putting an exclamation point at the end of it. The trick is to share your idea and open it up for collaboration because that’s where we’re best. I like that. This has been so fantastic. Before we close, I want to ask if you can provide us. You have already provided a ton of good information. Can I ask you to provide us with two concrete tips that women in corporate can use to start making that next move in their careers? I’ve got two at the top of my mind. The first one is to network like crazy. Get to know people. Take notes on the little things that they tell you. Use LinkedIn. LinkedIn with every person whom you have a relationship at your organization with and every vendor whom you have conversations with. Always send a personal note and say, “Nice to meet you in the XYZ meeting. I would love to connect on LinkedIn.” They are going to change jobs. You are going to change jobs. You are going to lose contact with these people if you don’t find a way to stay connected, and LinkedIn is an amazing way to do that. The second one is to develop your speaking skills. Learn how to present. Go to Toastmasters. Make sure you are honing your ability to speak not only in public but in your presence. It is going to help you in multiple ways. You may never desire to become a paid speaker. You might. You may say, “Carla, I’m never going to want to speak at a conference.” I still want you to work on your presentation skills. It’s going to help you in one-on-one conversations. It’s going to help you in your leadership journey. When you’re the one that they go to present something at a company-wide event, you are immediately set up as a leader. Your level of influence inside that organization is going to go up. Those are my two top tips. Those are great. Networking is pretty common, but you send an extra personal note and stay in touch with those people because they changed jobs, you changed jobs, and who knows if maybe they end up working at a company you want to work at. You want to maintain the networking. I am part of Toastmasters. I go to Toastmasters every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. I love Toastmasters because it’s a safe place where you can go and start developing and honing your speaking skills and everything we’ve talked about. You have showcased that language is important. Language comes from the ability of you being a good effective speaker. If you’re afraid to use your voice, Toastmasters is the perfect place for you to start and hone that. You do speeches in a safe space. Typically, speeches are 5 to 7 minutes. It gives you a great opportunity to practice. Nobody’s going to judge. They are going to give you feedback so that they can help you continue to advance, but I love it. Down the road, I’m going to have you back so that we can talk about all of the things that you do with your confidence speaking talk because you have provided so much excellent value. We often speak in abstracts, but you have been good at giving us phrase after phrase that is excellent and how we can apply it to work. I’m personally going to start implementing a couple of the suggestions that you’ve made because this has been gold. Before we close, I’d like you to say any final thoughts that you want to share with the folks reading. I appreciate that, Rosie. I’ve so enjoyed the conversation with you. My final thoughts are this. If you have a dream in your heart, it’s there for a reason. Don’t push it away. If you’ve not seen someone else do what you do, you get to be the first one. Don’t hide that light. Think about what your dream life looks like and take small steps towards that every single day. It is achievable for every single one of us. Here’s another thought that came to mind. You keep saying, “Maybe you’re the first.” Kamala Harris is the first. They have shown picture after picture of little girls seeing someone that looked like them on TV, be the Vice President of the United States. That is a perfect example. If you’ve not seen it before, it is possible. Carla, thank you very much for your time. This has been an amazing conversation. I’ve had a great time, and I’m going to have to have you back on the show. I would love that. Thank you so much. Thank you.

What a great conversation with Carla, I have to say I am surprised by how much content she gave us, specifically with all the phrases. One of the realizations that happened to me is that men and women are not doing many things differently. They’re doing the same actions. It’s just how they phrase whatever they’re asking for. That’s important because I’ve been wondering, “What do the men do that women don’t do?” Carla clarified that for me in this episode. That’s fantastic. I am formally inviting Carla onto the show again so we can do a session called Speaking with Confidence with Carla Howard. That’s going to be great because we’re going to dig deeper into what we can say specifically to continue to be strong in our ask, networking, negotiations, and all that stuff. There’s more to come. Before the end of 2022, we will have that. Let’s do things I will share with Carla’s two tips. Tip number one, she says network like crazy. Get to know people. Take notes on things they tell you so you can relate back to them. Use LinkedIn to connect with every person and vendor you have a relationship with because they might leave their jobs, and staying in contact with them on LinkedIn is good. Tip number two is to develop your speaking skills. Learn how to present. Go to Toastmasters. Make sure that you’re honing your ability to speak in public and hone your presence. Just because we’re suggesting that you hone your speaking skills doesn’t mean that you’re going to go out and be a public presenter or speaker. If you’re having a conversation with your manager on how to ask for that raise, your speaking skills can help you figure out what to say, how to say it, and all that good stuff. Carla gave great information on how to have that conversation. With that, the last thing is always to remember to be brave, be bold, and take action.

Important Links

About Carla Howard

NWB 24 | Feminine EnergyCarla Howard is a Strategic Change Consultant, Professional Speaker, and a Dream Enabler. Whether helping corporations manage change, delivering keynotes, teaching emerging speakers how to “Get Paid From The STAGE!!!”, or supporting kind & ambitious women. Carla helps people move from where they are to where they want to be.