Accelerating the Advancement of Women Leaders 


June 20, 2018

Long before you get to the C-Suite, or even take the next turn in your career journey, adopting the communications skills and confidence of a senior leader will make you stand out and enable others to see your potential.

Ironically, executive presence is something you must already possess to earn an executive position. Key to developing that sense of presence are the ability to project confidence and the ability to articulate your career story in a way that helps your boss and others understand your value.

“There’s no question you must first excel at your current job to position yourself for the next step. But part of that is showing up as someone company leaders can imagine in a larger role,” explains Katrina McGhee, best-selling author, founder of Loving on Me and co-leader of WFF’s 2018 Leadership Development Workshops (LDWs) READY TO LEAD: 5 Strategies to Accelerate Your Career. New this year, one-day workshop attendees in one of the 12 host cities will receive year-long interaction with session leaders and peers at no additional cost.

“Being seen as a high-potential leader involves developing a confident yet respectful presence and becoming as comfortable affirming your own brilliance as you are extolling the virtues of others, something that tends to be especially difficult for women,” McGhee cautions.

McGhee and fellow LDW presenter Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., best-selling author and psychologist, will share tested strategies around WFF’s Leadership Competencies for building Awareness and Insights and optimizing your Influence & Impact — prerequisites for taking charge of your career.

Workshop participants will complete WFF’s Leadership Competency Assessment prior to the session and arrive ready to tackle key areas of opportunity. “We will start from how our internal communication affects our thinking and behavior and then work out to how the way we present ourselves to others affects how we are seen and the opportunities we are given,” McGhee explains.

Although some people naturally seem to exude confidence, presence consists of learned behaviors that enable you to command attention. “A person with executive presence is one an employer feels confident putting in front of senior leadership both internally and externally,” McGhee says. “The great news is, with intention and practice, you can develop executive presence.” Consider these tips . . .

  • Start from inside out. Especially if you get nervous around higher-ups, focus on your own breathing to develop a sense of calm (which projects as confidence). Use that as an anchor to expand your focused awareness beyond yourself to your surroundings and others.
  • Use your body. Carry yourself with authority and speak deliberately. Family and friends can provide helpful feedback on things you may do unconsciously that undermine your presence — such as ending sentences as if they were questions, covering your mouth when you speak or hunching over.
  • Challenge yourself. Every time you do something you find scary and live to tell about it, you increase your confidence. Check out 100 Days Without Fear by confirmed scaredy-cat, TED speaker and WFF Annual Leadership Development Conference speaker Michelle Poler.
  • Look the part. It is difficult for others to see you as a future executive if you dress like an intern. Pay attention to how leaders in your organization dress and target a similar level of formality or informality in your own style. Your clothes don’t need to be expensive but they do need to help you project confidence and professionalism.
  • Be positive. No one loves everything about their job, boss or company. But constant complaining is boring and destructive. Figure out solutions to workplace problems and you will get noticed in a hurry for the right things.
  • Connect with people. Whether one-on-one or in front of hundreds, remember you are simply talking with other human beings. See them as someone you can help with your unique expertise and you will have an easier time focusing on their needs rather than your own discomfort.




For the first time, WFF’s one-day Leadership Development Workshops (LDWs) with nationally-recognized speakers will feature built-in touchpoints for year-long interaction with workshop leaders and peers to help participants learn, network and grow.

“We are walking every step of the way with women to cement new skills, create new habits and rewire their brains for success,” explains workshop co-leader Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D. “We don’t want to impact people for a day, we want to change their lives.”

At no additional cost, LDW participants will receive:

  • WFF Membership with additional online learning opportunities
  • WFF Leadership Competency Assessment (online measurement tool)
  • Exclusive monthly Facebook Live Webinars
  • Access to WFF Lean In Circles in host cities
  • Quarterly WFF Networking Pop-Up at one of our sponsor locations
  • WFF Book of the Month Online MeetUp


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