The amazing Steffie Allen has held board positions in over 20 organizations, worked in the coveted C-level suite for multiple companies, and raised over $50 million for educational organizations. She is the founder and Board Chair Emeritus of the Women’s Vision Foundation, a 3500 member organization that is dedicated to the advancement of female corporate leaders. She is also the president and founder of The Athena Group, a consulting firm specializing in organizational culture change, multidimensional leadership, and workforce excellence. Among many other honors, she is a 2006 inductee in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.
Yesterday, Daniels Graduate Women in Business hosted Steffie at an intimate Fireside Chat. Steffie’s humor and candor created an instant connection with the twenty students in the audience. After a brief introduction, Steffie opened the floor by inviting us to ask her questions. When everyone hesitated, Steffie broke the silence by saying, “Well, why are you here?” Once the questions started rolling, they didn’t stop, and we were treated to an hour of fascinating and enlightening advice from the wise Steffie. I took copious notes, which I will be referencing regularly. Here are just a few of her gems of advice:
- Leaders today are nation-builders. Being a leader is not about “me,” it is about “we.”
- Have an arsenal of “pocket stories”–entertaining vignettes about yourself that you can tell to your conversation partners so that they will remember who you are.
- You are a gift, but if you don’t unwrap yourself then no one will know what you are.
- Nice girls don’t make history.
- Seek out allies. Serve other people’s needs. Be a connector.
- Work/life balance is a myth. Seek harmony. You have a right to your own life.
- You have to define for yourself what it means to be a “good woman” (or “good man”)–and then live according to your core values. Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a businessperson, your choice has honor and dignity to it.
- Find a platform that will get you out into the community.
- Show your worth so that others will help propel you.
- Listen to your stomach–follow your intuition.
- “Culture eats strategy”–if the culture in a certain workplace is not healthy for you, then leave!
Steffie is the co-author of a book called Doing It All Isn’t Everything, and after listening to her fabulous advice, I am excited to pick up a copy. Steffie was an inspiration to us all!
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