Emerging Leader Spotlight: Sophie Miller Chatfield

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing to take the lead in her career. We invite her to share how she achieved her current position, what obstacles she encountered on her climb, as well as tips for how to be a rising woman of influence. This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Sophie Miller Chatfield, who has recently moved to the United States from Australia.

Sophie Miller picFavorite leadership quote: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren Bennis

What is your leadership style? My leadership style is very egalitarian.  I think that people will only listen to and follow someone they respect, so the key is to create a relationship based on mutual respect and communication.

When I communicate with people, I am clear and direct with both positive and negative feedback and encourage people to be the same with me. I firmly believe that when making and implementing a decision that will affect the lives of others, there has to be clear explanation, a forum for debate, and buy in from the affected parties in order for it to be truly successful.

Above all, I am a humble leader. I am quick to ask for help and admit mistakes so that I can continue to evolve my leadership skills to benefit the entire group.

What is the next step you plan to take in your career to develop your leadership skills? I have just left my previous position as 2IC (second-in-command) of a group of paralegals to immigrate to NYC, so I am in a transitional stage of my career.

I am currently looking for a new job and have been interviewing at various corporate firms, finance firms, and start-ups. Moving to the United States has been a huge learning curve for me because there is a cultural difference in terms of leadership styles between Australia and America.  I am absorbing everything that is thrown at me and amending my leadership and social skills to (hopefully) incorporate the best of both styles.

I am learning to be more direct and decisive. I’m learning to listen more closely to what people want and need. The next step after this will be to put all of these new techniques and social observations into practice.

What are some top tips you can recommend to other women who want to be recognized as a high potential emerging leader? One tip is to say ‘yes’ to a challenge. Remember, you really have nothing to lose by pushing yourself further.

Another is to accept that you and those around you will make mistakes.

Finally, you need to learn to accept any blame with grace and professionalism, even if you feel that it is unjustified. This will set you apart from the majority.


Sophie, you are a gem! We wish you much success as you take on “The Big Apple”. With your sincere straightforward and direct leadership point of view, you are assured to be a huge asset to any company. All the best!

Ann Roushar

Ann joined Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc. as Operations Manager in 2011. Her background is in events and program management, however, with the launch of Be Leaderly, Ann has discovered a new passion for the communications side of the business, including blogging, social media and graphic design. Ann’s vision for this blog is to make it a “must have” resource for women in business, a virtual space where women can feel comfortable about sharing their career wins, woes or worries. Follow @ann_roushar on Twitter.

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