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True leadership goes beyond titles and positions. I like many others believe it is a quality that is demonstrated through actions, behaviors, and attitudes. In this post, I’ll explore what it means to lead and the importance of representation as an immigrant female in a male-dominated industry. What does it mean to lead? Leadership is the ability to inspire, influence, and guide others towards a common goal.

Leaders I’ve admired are those who can create a vision, communicate it effectively, and motivate others to work towards achieving it. While some people are born with natural leadership abilities, it is also a skill that can be developed through practice and experience. I’ve seen both examples in my career.

Leadership is not just about giving orders or making decisions. It is about passionately believing in your vision, understanding the needs and concerns of those around you and creating an environment where everyone can thrive to achieve goals together. That’s what I work hard to do every day with my team. A good leader is authentic, empathetic, compassionate, and willing to listen to feedback. They are also able to make tough decisions when necessary and take responsibility for their actions. The Importance of Representation Representation is the act of being seen and heard. It’s about having someone who looks like you, talks like you, and shares your experiences in positions of power and influence. In my career experience, that’s often been hard to come by. For immigrant females in male-dominated industries, representation is even more crucial. It is a way of breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and inspiring the next generation of leaders. Representation is also important because it provides a sense of belonging and validation. When I see someone different and authentic, in a position of power, it inspires me that I too can be like them in my own unique way and achieve my goals.

As an immigrant female in a male-dominated industry, it can be particularly challenging to navigate the workplace and the marketplace, because I may not fit in the picture people used to see. However, by working hard, demonstrating my abilities and taking on leadership roles, I’ve found the chance and opportunity to challenge these stereotypes and pave the way for others to follow. I am lucky to work for an organization walks the talk, Mercer Health & Benefits, leading the way with female leadership and overall diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. Top 5 Tips for Leading as an Underrepresented Individual in a Male-Dominated Industry

1. Be authentic & confident – You are who you are, own it, embrace it! You are unique in

your abilities and have a lot to offer in your own way. Believe in yourself and your

abilities. You have unique skills and experiences that can help you excel in your field. 2. Communicate Effectively - Communication is key to successful leadership. Be clear,

concise, and assertive when expressing your ideas and opinions. 3. Build Relationships - Networking is important in any industry. Take the time to build

relationships with colleagues and industry professionals. This can help you find

mentors, allies, and opportunities for growth. 4. Embrace Diversity - Diversity is a strength, not a weakness. Embrace your unique

perspectives and experiences and encourage others to do the same. 5. Take Risks - Don't be afraid to take risks and try new things. Failure is a natural part of

the learning process, and it can help you grow and develop as a leader.

Again, let me reiterate, leadership is a quality that is demonstrated through actions, behaviors, and attitudes. As an immigrant female in a male-dominated industry, representation is important for breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and inspiring the next generation of leaders. By taking on leadership roles and demonstrating your abilities, I truly believe you can pave the way for others to follow and make a positive impact on your industry. That’s what I work to do each and every day.

If you’re interested in learning more, please feel free to reach out ( I’m happy to share my experiences leading as an underrepresented individual in the workplace. It’s only through 1:1 engagement that we can work together to make real change happen and I look forward to doing just that in partnership with women-led organizations like Mercer and RSP and invite you to do the same.

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In all the things I’ve learned in the last 3+ years, it’s that getting to meaningful change takes waaaay longer than anyone imagines. I left my last big corporate job in 2019 and at that time thought I’d be onto my what’s next within the year. Silly me, it’s now years later and I have had said, ‘this is it’ several times and I’m saying it again today, “I’m ready to make change happen.”

Meeting with a few hundred individuals in the last few years has also unveiled that making change happen means asserting control from the very beginning. And most importantly of all, control over your when. Here’s what that really means; it means regardless of all the external voices around you saying, ‘consider this, try that, just do it already,’ you have to be and are the only one that can do it. And you can’t do it until you actually get there – in your head.

The headspace for being ready to make change happen is no different than the headspace we have for deciding to begin to make a commitment to ourselves to, go on a walk each day, quit smoking or start a new diet. Nothing actually happens until we flip the switch and take the mental moment to decide we will do it.

That’s the magic moment.

No one can push or drag you to it. And, no one can flip that switch for you either. It’s all on you. I’d venture to the guess the control freak in you finds that reassuring, while the impatience you possess as a human will find it infuriating. Here’s the good news on all of that for you Ms. Overachiever, one of the keys to successfully making change is sticking to and simply doing it on your own timeline. Here's why:

  1. You know yourself best #controlfreak

When it comes to making changes in your life, no one knows you better than you know yourself. You are the best judge of your own needs, desires, and limitations. You know what motivates you and what discourages you. By setting your own timeline for change, you can work at a pace that is comfortable and sustainable for you.

  1. You have other priorities (damn it!)

The work we do with women each and every day is a direct reminder that making change often requires a significant investment of time and energy. And like them, you likely have at sh%t ton of other priorities in your life, such as work, family, or health. It's important to set a timeline that takes these other priorities into account. By making change on your own timeline, you can ensure that you're not neglecting other important areas of your life. Ones that also rank highly on your scorecard for success and the list of things important to you too. And that’s important to recognize too.

  1. You need to be ready

Change is most successful when you are ready for it. Let me repeat that, change is more successful when you are READY for it. If you try to make a change before you're mentally or emotionally prepared, you may struggle to sustain it. By setting your own timeline, giving yourself the time, you can ensure that you are ready for the change you want to make. This may of course then also ironically mean taking the time to reflect on your goals and motivations, while seeking support from others. Bottom line, your action might include simply waiting until the timing feels right.

  1. You can build momentum (yeah for speed!)

Making change can be difficult, especially at the beginning. However, by setting a timeline for yourself and breaking down your goals into smaller, achievable steps, you can build momentum and keep yourself motivated. By making progress at a pace that works for you, you can create a sense of accomplishment that will keep you going. And, when you’re ready (there’s that word again!) let RSP play the role of the firestarter in partnership with you. We have ways to get you to take that first step and if we’re lucky, you won’t even realize that’s what’s happening.

  1. You can avoid burnout (and believe you me, we know you’re already burned out…)

If you try to make too many changes too quickly, or push yourself too hard, you may become overwhelmed and give up. By setting a realistic timeline, you can pace yourself and avoid becoming exhausted or discouraged.

Listen, in many ways I know this isn’t anything you haven’t heard before. It’s not rocket science to say that by setting realistic goals, prioritizing your other commitments, and building momentum gradually, you can successfully make the changes you want to see happen, happen.

It’s the making change on your own timeline that’s most important and that I want you to remember not to forget. Not because it allows you to work at a pace that is comfortable and sustainable for you – that’s a nice to have of course - but because if you do it on your own timeline, you’ll be more successful. And we know success is what you’ve been aiming for all along. And we want it for you too.

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We hear a lot about the value of speed. Work fast! Move fast! No nonsense! Get. Shit. DONE!

And that’s all good. But we also know that change can take time, whether that’s time invested in planning, in preparing, in simply giving yourself the brain space to really sit with your gut, your brain, and your heart and to listen to what they’re telling you about your options.

But – hear us out – what if you could have it both ways? The time to rest, consider, think … AND still move fast? It’s totally doable, according to our January Happy Hour guests, Lauren Chitwood and Sarah Moe.

Lauren Chitwood is a serial entrepreneur. While still in her 30s, she had already started three – THREE! – successful businesses, learning from each about what motivated her most, and where she wanted to go next. Then getting on with it. How did the now-CEO and cofounder of Spiritless, a maker of non-alcoholic bourbon, make it work?

First, she acknowledges that the stakes are lower when you’re younger. Your living expenses are likely still low, you may not have kids or other dependents, and ideas of risk are very different when you’re 20 than when you’re 40+. BUT: the experience, network, and self-awareness of your superpowers you’ve gained in 20+ years of working are serious risk-mitigating factors. Use them to grease your own skids.

Ensure your next step allows you to work with people who complement your skills. A crew of colleagues who are good at the things you are not is truly the definition of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

If entrepreneurship is on your radar, consider whether a service or product business is right for you. Consulting or planning services often mean your business is your time and your brainpower – and that has finite scope and energy. Breaks are essential to keeping things moving. And while product businesses certainly need a hefty time (and financial) commitment to get off the ground, it will use your brain space differently, and tax you in different ways.

And products like Lauren’s Spiritless Kentucky 74 are an excellent choice for those of us looking to improve another pillar of productivity: SLEEP. Yep, sleep.

Sarah Moe, CEO of Sleep Health Specialists, was there to remind us that sleep is one of the three most essential building blocks of productivity-ensuring energy. While alcohol is a sedative that will help you FALL asleep, that drowsy, post-cocktail buzz will prevent you from cycling through the sufficiently deep sleep cycles that are required for physical cellular restoration.

Sarah also busted the myth that we need less sleep as we get older. Hello, fellow 40- and 50-somethings: We still need a good 7 to 8 hours per night. So this night owl is going to mix up a sleep-friendly Spiritless Old Fashioned, and work on resetting her sleep clock to get to bed a bit earlier (with help from Sarah’s upcoming sleep solutions pop-up course especially for RSPers on Wednesday, Feb. 23rd, 2022. Sarah is offering 50 percent off her regular course rate!)

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