Tips On Being A Female Leader
By Michelle Besharati
On October 11th, we had the pleasure of having Kimberly Armstrong provide a training session for Junior League members. Kim is a lawyer by trade, but has worked in public service for over 20 years. She is a strong advocate for women, and prides herself as a mentor and female leader within the community. She has served in a variety of roles within government, including Deputy Attorney General, Deputy Minister for the Status of Women, and is currently the Deputy Minister of Seniors and Housing.
The format of the training changed last minute, and instead of doing a formal presentation, Kim decided to speak on a variety of topics that would benefit such a diverse group of women. Kim opened up the floor to allow members to ask more directed questions that pertained to situations they encountered in their own lives and careers.
Throughout the training session, she touched on some very interesting topics. Here are the highlights!
- Don’t be afraid to approach someone to be a mentor. Even if you don’t know them or have never met them. Most people would be flattered that you’ve asked and would give you some of their time.
- Take a 3-step approach to asking someone to be your mentor:
- Email them to ask if you can buy them a coffee
- Be specific in what you want to discuss in your invite so they don’t go into it blind. (Something like “I’d like to meet to discuss how you obtained your current role”, or “How you would deal with this specific situation”)
- Follow-up with them, and be sure to thank them for their help.
Building your network
- Think of the 10 people you would contact if you were looking for a job:
- Do they all work in the same or similar industry?
- Are they all around the same age?
- Do they have similar backgrounds?
- If the answer is yes to any of these, now is the time to start expanding your network. Try to have a mix of people you feel comfortable reaching out to if you need assistance in your career.
Journaling and Mindful-Practice
- Kim had mentioned a book called Tools of Titans, in it is a compilation of interviews with industry leaders asking about what tools they use in their daily lives that have made them successful. Over 80% of those interviewed said daily meditation and keeping a gratitude journal have helped them enormously.
- Being mindful is to be present, composed and to pause before reacting to a situation. Kim has provided a resource to assist with meditation and mindful practice.
- Kim also referenced Margaret Heffernen’s TED talk on building high-achieving teams, here’s the link:
- We all have biases, whether we’d like to admit it or not, sometimes we’re not even aware of these biases which is even scarier. The first step to dealing with an unconscious bias is to identify it. Kim has provided some great links to identify bias and combat them.
- Harvard University – Test to identify implicit bias
- How to manage unconscious bias:
We had a great time with Kim, and engaged in a lively conversation throughout the evening. Stay tuned for our next training event in February!