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Sally Helgesen

Cited In Forbes As The World’s Premier Expert On Women’s Leadership

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Sally Helgesen, cited in Forbes as the world’s premier expert on women’s leadership, is an internationally best-selling author, speaker and leadership coach. She has been ranked number 6 among the world’s top 30 leadership thinkers by Global Gurus, honored by the coaching consortium MEECO for her transformational influence on organizational cultures and chosen as the Thinkers 50/Marshall Goldsmith world’s top coach for women leaders.

Sally’s most recent book, How Women Rise, co-authored with legendary executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, examines the behaviors most likely to get in the way of successful women. It became the top-seller in its field within a week of publication and rights have been sold in 15 languages.

Previous books include The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership, hailed as the classic in its field and continuously in print since 1990, and The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, which explores how women’s strategic insights can strengthen their careers. The Web of Inclusion: A New Architecture for Building Great Organizations, was cited in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books on leadership of all time and is credited with bringing the language of inclusion into business.

In addition to delivering leadership workshops and keynotes for companies around the world, Sally has consulted with the United Nations on building more inclusive country offices in Africa and Asia, led programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Smith College and been visiting scholar at Northwestern University, U-Nordic Stockholm, and the Lauriston Institute Melbourne AU. She is a contributing editor for Strategy + Business magazine and a member of the MG 100 Coaching Network and the New York and International Women’s Forums. She lives in Chatham, NY.

How Women Rise: Keynote and Workshop

Women’s distinctive strengths and behaviors provide them with many advantages. Yet the very habits that help them early in their careers can hold them back as they seek to rise.

In both her keynote and her workshops, Sally draws on her work with #1 ranked executive coach and New York Times best selling author Marshall Goldsmith to help women identify and address the habits most likely to get in their way as they seek to move to a higher level.

Women’s distinctive strengths provide them with many advantages. Yet the very habits that help them early in their careers can hold them back as they seek to rise. In this keynote, Sally draws on a wealth of vivid real-life examples to help participants identify and address 3 or 4 habits most likely to undermine them as they seek to move forward in their careers. This keynote is highly interactive.

How Women Rise Workshop or Master Class

In this interactive workshop, aimed specifically at senior and high potential women, Sally works with participants to identify and address the 12 habits most likely to hold women back from reaching their full potential. The content and exercises unfold in four highly interactive sections and concludes with a template for action that participants can use to make positive behavioral changes in any situation.

Visionary, Connected, Intentional & Present: A Workshop for Women Leaders

In this seminar or workshop, Sally offers concrete, actionable practices for women seeking to position themselves for the next level of leadership, strengthen their professional reputation, showcase their talents, increase their capacity to contribute to their organizations and diminish stress.

Sally’s work with women leaders around the world has demonstrated that women who sustain power and influence share four characteristics. They are visionary, connected, intentional and present.

To be visionary means to concisely articulate a distinctive vision, passion, point of view or commitment based on what you authentically notice and to manifest it as part of your personal brand

To be connected means to confidently leverage internal and external networks in order to enlist support for your vision, based on the recognition that its benefits will be both worthwhile and reciprocal

To be intentional means being able to distinguish what to embrace and what to let go as you move to a higher level and assume more responsibility in the world

To be present means exhibiting leadership presence by being fully in the moment, a balancing act that requires setting policies around how you use time and technology in order to improve the quality of human interactions

This workshop for women is optimally delivered in two segments.

The first segment is a 45-minute interactive presentation that shows how cultivating these capacities can help women at every level improve the quality of their lives at work. This session mixes original content, fresh research, brief case studies and lively Q&A.

The second segment is a 90-120 minute workshop that gives participants a chance to explore and practice key capabilities and gain a clearer idea how specific techniques could benefit their career development. Skills explored include building a persuasive and memorable elevator speech, identifying and engaging a strong web of influence and support, leveraging the power of peer coaching in order to make specific practice improvements and holding space in order to cultivate presence under pressure.

Specific objectives for the program include helping participants to:

  • Articulate a clear, concise and authentic vision
  • Frame what they see in the language of benefit
  • Enlist allies who can assist them in acting on their vision
  • Identify what behaviors they need to embrace and what behaviors they need to let go of to move to the next level
  • Create a personal accountability system
  • Build a stronger and more distinctive leadership presence

Participants will come away from this presentation with:

  • An enhanced understanding of what they have to contribute at a more senior level
  • Practices that foster more intentional and productive career development
  • A means for strengthening their personal webs
  • Techniques for enhancing their leadership style
  • Guidelines for protecting their creativity and maintaining morale
Tapping the Power of The Female Vision

Women’s distinctive vision— the power of what they notice, what they value, how they connect the dots– offers a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace. Yet because women’s ways of seeing have not been recognized or understood, women’s potential to make strategic contributions is rarely fully engaged.

In this keynote, Sally draws on insights from two decades of groundbreaking research to help women use the power of what they see to position themselves as visionary leaders.

Using vivid examples, she provides a clear blueprint that shows women how to:

  • Articulate a strong vision based on what they most authentically notice
  • Frame their intentions in a language that compels attention and respect
  • Enlist allies who support what they are trying to achieve
  • Hold themselves accountable for their own progress
  • Build the strong presence that visionary leadership requires

Sally also shows how organizations can make better use of women’s visionary capacity to:

  • Develop information about internal and external relationships, shifting markets, and potential conflicts
  • Analyze data in a comprehensive and nuanced way
  • “See around the corners” to anticipate future business needs
  • Make decisions that address both long and short term goals
  • Improve customer experience at every point in the transaction

Participants will come away from this program with:

  • Enhanced understanding of what they have to contribute to their organizations
  • Tools for increasing their visibility and influence
  • Practical ways to leverage relationships rather than just build them
  • A proven means for strengthening their webs of support among both men and women

Acting on The Female Vision can be delivered in formats ranging from a 45-minute keynote to a half day seminar. The major practices also provide rich material for breakouts or workshops that follow on from the keynote and adapt well to frame the conversation for panels of women leaders.

Sally has delivered customized versions of this content for women in financial services, health care, technology, consumer products, partnership firms, associations, media companies, educators and non-profits.

Leading from the Center of the Web

In this seminar, which can be delivered as a keynote or expanded into a workshop, Sally demonstrates why today’s VUCA environment– volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous– requires leaders who can leverage the power of inclusive webs.

Drawing on her influential research for The Web of Inclusion and Thriving in 24/7, as well as work in sectors ranging from security to energy, technology, financial services, health care and the law, Sally shows how three key trends are transforming organizations in the global marketplace, identifies the four essential skills that leaders must cultivate in order to fully engage talent in the new environment and shares actionable practices for developing these skills.

The three key trends shaking up organizations– and keeping them shook up– are:

  • The erosion of traditional barriers that defined the industrial workplace
  • The impact of highly targeted niches on how people live and work
  • The need to build sustainable cultures capable of adapting to endemic uncertainty and disruptive change and minimize the impact of talent burnout

Flourishing in this environment requires specific capabilities. These include:

  • Skill at aligning people with profoundly different values, perceptions, and life experience around the pursuit of a common goal
  • The capacity to draw strategic innovations from the broadest possible base
  • An aptitude for fostering engagement and communication across multiple levels and geographies
  • Prowess at building self-renewing cultures that enable individuals to self-renew

These skills can flourish at every level when leaders:

  • Recognize and support non-positional power
  • Hire for characteristics
  • Evaluate contribution in context
  • Create advance buy-in for crucial decisions
  • Assure congruence in the conversation about what matters
  • Create permeability at the edges
  • Enable tolerance at the margins

In the keynote, Sally provides real-world examples of how these capabilities work; in the workshop, she offers exercises, reflections and real-time case studies that enable participants to explore the specifics how of these practices would work for them.

Takeaways participants can expect:

  • Valuable insights into how diversity, complexity and speed impact their own experience and that of their workforce
  • A fresh template for identifying and evaluating non-traditional potential hires
  • Actionable ways to make more nuanced decisions, increase contribution, develop new skills, and maintain morale in a high pressure environment

Practices that foster a more intentional and productive working environment

Building an Inclusive Culture

Diversity defines the talent base in organizations today—both demographic diversity and diversity of values. Yet organizations still struggle to engage the best talents of diverse employees in meeting core strategic and business needs. As a result, diversity efforts remain silo’d, internally focused and under-leveraged.

In this keynote, Diversity Expert Sally Helgesen draws on 17 years of work with diverse teams around the globe to show how organizations can engage the full talents of all employees in meeting marketplace demands by creating the conditions in which inclusive leadership can thrive. Recognizing that inclusion is not an ideal but a practice, she demonstrates how to define, encourage, model, mentor, measure and reward inclusive behaviors. Sally articulates the specific leadership competencies that support diverse and inclusive teams.

These include:

  • Integrating the contributions of heads and hands
  • Eliciting embodied as well as articulated knowledge
  • Setting parameters that enable people with differing values and capabilities to collaborate and achieve consensus
  • Harnessing the capabilities of the informal power structure
  • Developing buy-in at every stage of an initiative
  • Communicating directly and transparently across silos and divisions—no taboos beyond civil discourse

In this session, Sally also shows how leaders can use webs of inclusion as both a structure and a method for deploying talent. She shares up-to-date case studies that demonstrate how webs can address specific business challenges while breaking down organizational divisions, getting resources to flow, and vastly expanding a team’s capacity for innovation.

This program offers participants:

  • Increased understanding of how to use diversity as a market resource
  • Specific techniques for leveraging diverse employees to expand market insight and customer outreach
  • A plan for using internal webs to transform employee resource groups into strategic assets in the “new general market”
  • A template for integrating market intelligence and diversity outreach in order to strengthen both

This topic can be delivered as a one-hour keynote or a half-day working session.

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