Unlock Your Potential with Executive Presence

By Brenda Jin

A few years ago, my manager told me that my coworkers thought I was “negative”. Words can’t describe how disappointed I felt. I’m an action-oriented person and don’t think of myself as negative at all! This feedback was especially painful because it was the “double bind” — a situation where women are perceived poorly if they speak up, but perceived even more poorly if they don’t. When I spoke up, people felt that I had come in “guns blazing”, but if I didn’t say anything, I was not going to be perceived as a competent leader.

Fast forward to now, and my coworkers no longer regard me as negative. I’ve learned how to influence others and lead difficult conversations at work without compromising my values. I’ve deployed these skills through unpredictable and tough situations, even when opposed by more senior coworkers. This blend of skills is known as “executive presence”.

How did I go from being poorly-perceived to developing executive presence? I got a lot of help:

  1. Psychotherapy, during which I began to discover my emotions and how they affect my relationships
  2. Vocal coaching to learn how to communicate with authority and warmth
  3. Personal training to build strength, refine movement, and improve posture

Not only did I get a lot of one-on-one help, but I also integrated and applied everything I learned to my communication and relationships at work. Through this ongoing process, and through helping my mentees with similar issues, it has become clear to me: executive presence is learnable and teachable.

I can’t mentor each and every one of you, but I want you to have access to the same skills so that you can unlock the full potential of your career. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Expansive Voice to create a 4-part workshop series: Developing Executive Presence. Our team consists of Expansive Voice’s founder — exercise and holistic life coach Nicolette Amarillas, along with licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Kat Dahlen deVos, and sales and business development professional Lindsey Dyer, M.Ed.

I want every woman to have access to the skills that have helped me advance my career. Through hands-on exercises, we will teach you how to represent yourself authentically and powerfully at work. We’ll do that by teaching how to use posture to communicate your strengthsimprove your storytellingdeconstruct blockers to your success, and navigate difficult conversations.

No matter your level, you can start developing and using these skills today. Hope to see you there!

Brenda Jin is a software engineer and advocate for women’s empowerment and education. She taught herself to code in 2013 and is passionate about sharing the professional, leadership, and communication tools to support women in their careers.