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How Do You Want to Get Ahead?

I was in my fourth year of university when I first went to see a female CEO speak. I was among a crowd of ambitious women in a ballroom at a convention centre, and I was hooked. I wanted to get ahead. I wanted the opportunity to be a female CEO, who led with passion and authenticity. I also wanted to have the option to be a mother too, and I didn’t want these two goals to be mutually exclusive. Most importantly, I wanted this to be possible for all women who strived like I did, but didn’t yet feel that it could be achieved.

When I took over Women of Influence seven years ago, the first thing I did was start a new series geared to emerging women in business. A generation who saw the arduous battle of the brave women who came before them, but who didn’t identify with that path. This series has gone on to attract some of the most ambitious women I have met.

Now that I’m the female CEO standing on the podium, I often ask this group: “Do you want to get ahead?” Everyone raises their hand. You want to get ahead, tomorrow. We get it. But when we get into the ‘how’ part, that’s where the uncertainty comes in.

Most people I’ve encountered often define themselves by what they do; therefore in order to get ahead, they will tell me they are focussed on getting the bigger better title, the next promotion, the major deal, the next rung on the ladder they’re on (and may have fallen onto). This is the most limiting way to advance! You put up so many barriers around you that the chances of getting ahead have been narrowed before you start.

At Women of Influence, and in my course, Find your Passion, we choose to start big (if you missed the June 2nd course, there’s another one in September!). We don’t start by asking where do you want to go next, but by asking: “What do you want to accomplish?” Followed by, “What do you want to be known for?” And, most importantly, “Who are you?” (Hint: this is not a title; titles are what we do, not who we are). For example, who I am is a strong and passionate woman that listens well and leads authentically, creatively, and always by example.

When you start with these three big questions, the opportunities to get ahead become vast, and you can see the open doors everywhere waiting to be walked through. You can also see which is the right one for you, where your unique mix of strengths meet a place where they are valued, and together you can accomplish a shared dream.

Today, I’m proud to announce that Women of Influence has chosen to get ahead, by forming a strategic alliance with Deloitte.

The collaboration will strengthen our ability to advance female leaders, promote gender diversity, and help companies create a more inclusive workforce. I knew this was the right step because I know who I am, and what I want to accomplish; I want to influence women. How I am choosing to do that is by running a company called Women of Influence, and now I’ve found a like-minded organization to increase our impact together.

To get ahead is to succeed or make progress, and it’s made easy with the end in mind, not the starting line.

So, how are you getting ahead, today?