Golden Guidance for Female Leaders

Colleen Slaughter
June 18, 2024

Meet Colleen Slaughter, a senior executive coach, top team facilitator, and leadership development advisor. Colleen travels the world using her expertise to help leaders develop the clarity, courage, and confidence they need to uncover and live their highest purpose.

At the upcoming WOMENLEAD24 conference, Colleen is leading the can't-miss workshop, “Empowering Ourselves and Others to Achieve Balance & Success.” NAEM's Executive Director Carol Singer Neuvelt recently sat down with Colleen to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities female leaders face.

Carol: Based on your experience, what holds women back from realizing their full potential?

Colleen: What holds women back from realizing their full potential is denying their own natural gifts, such as their intuition, in order to “blend in” more with the guys. It's only once we grasp the notion that the key is not to become more like them, but to become more and more us, that we become truly powerful in our leadership and lives. It's like doing a yoga pose: throughout the practice, we remain who we are, yet we stretch to new levels.

Carol: What piece of advice do you find yourself giving women leaders most often?

Colleen: The golden guidance I give women leaders is to hone your purpose in this life and stick to it. The rest will fall into place, and you can lead from there. 

The trap many people fall into is leading from the outside-in: adjusting our behavior to what we think will be pleasing to others or to what we are told will get us a better performance review or that promotion. But what's the point of all of that if we are still dissatisfied in the end? Whereas when we lead from inside-out — following our inner navigation system based on values and purpose — we become a lot more focused, productive, and fulfilled, and our work becomes more creative and impactful. That said, uncovering our purpose is not always a straightforward process, so here's something that can help you get started.

Carol: Why is self-advocacy a critical business skill?

Colleen: Above all, self-advocacy is a leadership skill because it sets the tone for all of our relationships, including the one with ourselves. The narrative against self-advocacy (and in support of supposed humility) can convince us that finding and using our voice is arrogant. But as I mention here, humility is really about right-sizing ourselves. It's about honoring where we might need to improve and what we are already doing well.

Carol: Why is it important to empower others while advancing your objectives?

Colleen: It all ties back to meaning, which makes our lives and work more fulfilling and impactful. Yes, we could all choose to go about our days mostly thinking of ourselves and all that we need to get done. But at the end of the day, I'm sure most of us would agree that's a lonely and stressful way to live and think. Not only do we humans need each other, but our work days can also be so much more connective and productive when we get to experience a strong sense of belonging. So, switching our mindsets from “me, me, me, me” to “we, we, we, we” is a powerful move – in more ways than one.

Colleen is the managing partner of Authentic Leadership International. Join her and many other talented and successful female leaders at WOMENLEAD24 in Providence, Rhode Island, July 23-25, 2024. Learn more at



About the Author

Colleen Slaughter
Authentic Leadership International
Colleen uses her expertise to guide international leaders as they attain the clarity, courage and self-confidence necessary to realize higher levels of productivity and fulfillment in both their personal and professional lives.

Colleen’s purpose is to facilitate her clients’ transformation from limiting beliefs and self-doubts into a deeper, more powerful knowingness of how much they – and what they envision for themselves – truly matter. Her passion is instilling leaders with the clarity, courage, and confidence they need to uncover and live their highest purpose so the whole system can flourish and evolve.

Fostering human connection and compassion, and challenging conventional mindsets are ways Colleen creates impact. Clients often attribute her calm and open nature and abilities to articulate complex subjects in easy-to-understand terms and to create a safe space as catalysts for their meaningful personal insights, increased enthusiasm at work, and deepened work relationships.

Colleen’s unparalleled experience working abroad in a variety of cultures and across an array of industries gives her an uncanny ability to help individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds achieve the deep, lasting transformation they need to flourish. Clients move toward real change through a clear understanding of their goals and by aligning their intention and attention with their core values.

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