How the Take The Lead Community Powered Up in 2014

Take the Lead launch at Gammage HallWow oh wow, has this been an incredible year of achievements for Take The Lead and our mission of leadership parity by 2025! Thanks to you—whether you’ve been a donor, volunteer, course participant, you attended our amazing Take The Lead Challenge launch or you attended one of our other events—we have reached close to a million people directly and in collaboration with our almost 200 partner organizations. Not bad for a first full year of operation.By helping women to increase their knowledge, capability, confidence, and vision of what they can attain, and with your support, we are powering up women’s advancement toward leadership and enabling them to overcome the challenges they face. We know when women have economic power they don’t have to stay in abusive relationships, they won’t be sex trafficked, and they will be able to contribute their talents to the world.Kick back with an eggnog or cup of tea and watch or re-watch the Take The Lead Challenge launch event here. You can never get too much of Carla Harris’s “Expect to Win” speech or Sheryl Sandberg’s inspiring “Lean In” encouragement!Over the course of the year, Take The Lead rolled out a slew of learning opportunities aimed at helping women (and men!) shift their ideas around gender power and engender leadership parity across the board.

“I’m not afraid anymore.”— Launch Participant

Co-founder Gloria Feldt taught “9 Practical Leadership Tools to Advance Your Career” twice (email her if you missed previous courses and we’ll make sure you receive notice of the next one).

“I got my dream job 2-3 years ahead of schedule.”— Course Participant

And an extended network of teachers offered webinars and “virtual happy hours.” Here’s a look back at some of Take The Lead’s online learning events and the leaders who made our first year such a strong and interesting one.


Profile picture taken by Maggie close up.cropped even further for the websiteThe Profitability of Diversity (Sheryl Axelrod)

As founder of The Axelrod Firm, Sheryl not only teaches others how diversity and inclusiveness make organizations more effective and profitable, she demonstrates this value for other leaders in her field. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Gender diversity at the top pays: Companies with three or more women on the board outperform companies with all-male boards by 60% in return on invested capital, 84% in return on sales, and 60% in return on equity.
  • Racial diversity pays. Sheryl let us know that the most racially diverse companies bring in nearly 15 times the revenue (you heard that right) than the least racially diverse.
  • Teams that are more diverse ON EVERY MEASURE perform more effectively than more homogenous teams. In short, they’re just plain smarter. They avoid “groupthink” whereas non-diverse teams can’t help but get mired in it. How could they not?


VPColorNegotiating 101 (Victoria Pynchon)

In one hour, Victoria Pynchon, co-founder of SheNegotiates, covered the basics of negotiating your salary (whatever your field) while offering tried and true advice for how to navigate and overcome those internal (personal) and external barriers that keep women from negotiating anything in the first place. Pynchon addressed the problem of implicit bias against women – on the part of women trying to better support themselves while simultaneously doubting themselves and on the part of colleagues, managers, and bosses. Just as important as understanding how to negotiate, Pynchon put it all in context and took the wider view, teaching us how the choices we make around negotiating (and being clear about what we want!) NOW determines the kind of possibilities that become available to us later. 

BROKAW_PHOTOGRAPHY_5813-copy-203x3003 Tools to Unleash Your Power Within (Jennifer Silva)

In her webinar on how to understand personal leadership (before you think about leading others), Silva shared the definition of power we use at Take The Lead, what we call #PowerTO (versus, for example, power “over”). She spoke with women about how to best use the skills, abilities, and characteristics they already have in order to reach their full potential. Focusing on the concept of self-leadership, Silva showed us how self-perception and confidence affect our ability to accomplish our most important goals. Learn more about Jennifer’s work here. 

Leading Against the Tide: New Skills for New Times (Lex Schroeder)

In her virtual happy hour, Lex gave us a systems view of why not just gender balance, but difference, is so important in our organizations. She explained how “authenticity” is about so much more than being yourself or building trust, focusing on how the unique contributions of many are what make our organizations and systems smarter. For women leaders and trailblazers of all backgrounds, Lex spoke about how to navigate the problem of advancing a new piece of work in the world (or going about one’s work differently) while maintaining power and influence in existing teams and systems. How do you stay real at work when you’re swimming against the tide or when doing so feels risky? Lex says it’s about learning how to lead authentically, balancing an awareness of the larger system. And most importantly, following the example of leaders who are changing the game for everyone. Read Lex’s piece, “5 Women Who Lead Authentically, On Purpose, Every Day.”Interested in taking a Take The Lead course or bringing a Take The Lead facilitator/speaker into your organization in 2014? Here’s what makes Take The Lead’s work so transformative and why your organization will benefit from it.And please, join our mailing list or contact us here.We also invite you to donate to enable us to reach more people next year with our learning programs and inspiration to lead!

 “This is in honor of my daughter and her future.”— A Take The Lead Donor

Thank you to everyone – the fantastic leaders and facilitators and attendees – who joined us in 2014! Stay tuned for exciting developments in 2015.