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Breaking down barriers: My journey to empowered leadership

Breaking down barriers

My journey to empowered leadership

As a woman, pursuing leadership positions can be a daunting task. We are often taught to be more cautious and less assertive in our approach, leading to fewer opportunities and slower career progression. From the gender pay gap to the lack of representation in high-level positions, we are often undervalued and underestimated. However, with the right mindset, tools, sponsors, and with the help of development programs like WiLD (Women in Leadership Development), we can break down these barriers and transform ourselves into powerful and influential leaders.


Participating in the WiLD program was a total game-changer for me. I was surrounded by incredible women and leaders who shared their stories and experiences, and it was truly inspiring. We learned so much; we dove into topics like circles of trust, leadership journeys, imposter syndrome, having crucial conversations, and much more. The incredible insights we gained from each other built an unbreakable bond that was seriously empowering. The coaching sessions were definitely the highlight for me, I guess as I wasn't able to participate in the live interactions due to the time difference (I'm based in Barcelona, while the program was taking place in Ecuador and Chile).


As someone who has coached people before (in an amateur way), I was excited to be coached by an experienced and certified professional. The coaching sessions helped me to gain a new perspective on leadership, and I learned how to empower myself and others to achieve their goals. Discovering new ways to approach challenges and develop my leadership skills were part of it as well. This experience helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and create a plan to improve my performance. I feel much more focused, accountable and capable of achieving my goals more effectively.


Here are a few key takeaways that have really resonated with me from presentations of inspiring leaders, the coaching sessions and more:


  • Just be yourself! Don't worry about pretending to be someone else or hiding your true personality. Being authentic helps you build real connections with others and feel confident in yourself. If you have a unique communication style or social personality, let others know so they can appreciate and respect you for who you are. 

    • Being in tune with yourself is crucial, just as important as the previous point. If you're not completely familiar with your own strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits, it's a good idea to take some time to assess yourself. Consider asking yourself questions like: What am I feeling right now? What triggered this emotion? How am I behaving in this situation? Is this behavior aligned with my values and personality?

    • Understanding how you affect others and finding a leadership style that aligns with your personality and objectives will be easier with a deep knowledge of yourself.

  • Being able to communicate effectively is super important in life, no doubt about it. There are two aspects to this. Firstly, if you are looking to become a leader, it's essential to communicate your aspirations to others. We can't just expect people to know what we aspired to without telling them. Seek out mentors and sponsors who can support and guide you towards your goal. Secondly, you need to work on your communication skills to make sure you can express your ideas and vision clearly and convincingly. It's important to listen carefully, give feedback, and communicate in a way that inspires and motivates others.

  • Life is full of ups and downs, it's not a smooth ride. I was watching this roundtable interview with some big-name Hollywood actors, and one of them said something that really stuck with me. He was talking to his therapist about feeling frustrated with all the highs and lows in his life, and the therapist gave him a really good analogy. He said, "If you look at a heart monitor, it's going up and down. If you're in control, you're putting it in the middle, which means you're flatlining. Life is all about the highs and lows, and whenever you're in a low, it's a sign that you're going to bounce back up again." So, it's important not to be scared of failing, feeling lost, or not having all the answers. Just surround yourself with good people who support your vision and can help you find the right path. Take risks, take breaks to think things through, make better decisions, and use your creativity to solve problems.

  • Go with the flow and adapt to whatever comes your way. You need to be able to change your plans and strategies at a moment's notice to deal with any unexpected challenges or opportunities.

  • It's crucial to take care of yourself and your loved ones. So make sure you carve out some "me time" along the week. It is good practice to leave 5 to 10 minutes between mind-numbing meetings to relax, take a break, and grab a coffee (good tip from a leader I admire a lot). And when it comes to work, don't be afraid to delegate tasks to your team. Not only does this give you more time for yourself and your family, but it also helps your team grow and take on new challenges. Just make sure to offer support and guidance along the way.

  • Continuous learning - we never stop learning. Sometimes I really enjoy a Sunday reading a book, listening to a TED talk, or watching a webinar. It is important to stay up to date on industry trends, new technologies, and best practices, and actively seek out opportunities for personal and professional growth.

During the program, I had a significant realization that as a leader I have the potential to make a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of those around me. Over the course of my career, I've evolved from an Internal Communication Specialist to the Internal Communication Leader for Spain, Chile, and Ecuador. Since last year, I've been leading a team that supports LATAM countries, with the addition of another member. I'm eager to continue refining my skills and setting an example for others to follow. Without hesitation, I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to enhance their leadership skills and make a positive impact on the world.


Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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