Leaderly quote: Leadership is taken, not given.

I once had the pleasure of interviewing Katherine Durham for a webinar in my series for emerging women leaders. Our discussion centered on advancing authentically, and how to build a successful career while remaining true to yourself.

Durham, who is Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President, Individual Disability Insurance with The Standard shared some advice that I’ve never forgotten.

“Leadership is taken, not given,” she said, adding “Don’t wait for that opportunity to arrive on a silver platter.”

If you’re interested in advancing into a leadership role, you need not wait for permission or an invitation to be a leader. According to Durham, you can assume the role and show up as a leader regardless of the position you hold in your company.

“How do you conduct yourself?” she asked our audience to consider. “Are you able to handle conversations with lots of people across the organization regardless of their level? Don’t think ‘I’m an individual contributor, so I couldn’t possibly talk to a director, a vice president or senior vice president.’ Have the courage to speak up and be in the game. Make sure you are heard. Overcome your fear, trust yourself, and go for it!”

So don’t be shy about speaking up and looking for opportunities, every day, to demonstrate your ability to lead. “Conduct yourself as a leader,” Durham says, “and it will become part of your personal brand.”

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Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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