Not to toot our own horns, but let’s face it: women have unique skills and experiences that make the world a better place.

For a our very first Changemaker Chats, Leith Greenslade challenged a room of women to bring these skills to bear by unleashing their true public potential. “I’m going to get real honest with you,” said Leith who delved into some shocking stories and stats about the dearth of women in positions of leadership in both private and public sectors. And as a global activists for maternal and child health, and sitting on numerous boards, Leith knows a thing or two about being a leader.

So what’s a young Changemaker to do? You can start with being vocal, getting each others backs, and shamelessly going after what you want. Here are some of the key problem areas discussed with Leith. You’re going want to copy/paste these somewhere handy.

And thank you for the wisdom, Ms. Greenslade. Keep on making change.

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January 2015 Changemaker Chat

On being the only woman in a meeting 

If you’re trying to have your voice heard in a male-dominated meeting, do what the pros do. Prior to the meeting, reach out to one or two of your male colleagues to float your ideas and get them on board. A little politicking helps you gain the confidence, support, and attention you need to be heard.

On fighting your way to the top and then finding it pretty lonely up there

The higher you go, the fewer women you’ll find at the top. So it’s our job to even things out. Say something to your senior management about the need for more women leaders in your company. And take actionable steps to increase opportunities for women: either through mentoring programs, executive education, or even informal check-ins.

On asking for the job you think you deserve

You’ve identified a critical need at your organization and you have what it takes to tackle it. Don’t wait around for your superiors to tap you as the person. Write your job description and pitch your position. Just make sure to have all of your supporting evidence—your track record, skills, and plan to get things done.


On not being cut out from a job when you’re on maternity leave

For many, maternity leave is a great time to completely detach from work. And if you can do that, Amen sista! Others might fear that they might slip out of contention for that next assignment or promotion when they take off to start their family. It doesn’t have to be so. Create a maternity plan for when and how you would like to be a part of the work. It might be just a once-a-week email update, or something more involved. Think about what will work for you and pitch your plan to your management.