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Women’s Leadership 2017: 10 Paths Toward Empowerment in Your Work and Life

Kim Ferenchak February 8, 2017

The Oswald Women’s Leadership Council has defined 2017 as The Year of Empowerment.

Empowerment for women is distinct from empowerment for men; considering both paid and unpaid work, women are less likely to be able to carve out time for education/professional development, strategic networking, community involvement, leisure activities and self-care.

It has been well-documented that companies greatly benefit from increasing leadership opportunities for women, (it is estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational effectiveness*).

As more businesses take part in gender equality measures and see revenue increase as a result, the case for empowering women will continue to gain momentum. Women should be more confident than ever that they are operating on a playing field that becomes increasing more level with each passing day.

So now that the flywheel is moving, what are specific items women can do to take advantage of today’s opportunities?

  1. Be intentional about your to-do list
  2. Carve out time for strategic networking
  3. Become involved in a cause which you are passionate about
  4. Cultivate your strengths around your passions
  5. Trust others and yourself
  6. Develop meaningful workplace and industry relationships
  7. Be sure to align yourself with people whose talents complement your talents
  8. Appreciate that other empowered women make choices that are different than yours
  9. Become mentors and sponsors of other women
  10. Find courage to ask for support when needed – all successful leaders have been there

Empowerment is progressively possible based on the reality that women’s economic equality is good for business. What it means to be an empowered woman varies based on individual circumstances.

Empowerment looks different for different women. For some it may mean greater flexibility relative to work schedules. For others, it may mean the opportunity to learn things, improve networking skills or to have access to higher education. Women must stretch themselves to be independent thinkers and have the confidence and skill to clearly articulate their ideas and goals. Only then will women truly have control over their own destiny.

Envision yourself to be an empowered woman. You are self-reliant, positive, energized and resilient. Confident in your charge, you work not only to advance your personal goals, but also to the goals of emerging women. Your empowerment will lift yourself and others, giving women a broader and stronger influence on society today and in the future.


*McKinsey & Company. [25] McKinsey & Company. Women Matter 2014. p. 6, via UNWomenorg, Economic Empowerment Facts & Figures.

About The Author:

Kimberly K. Ferenchak is Vice President and Practice Leader of Executive Risk at Oswald Companies. With specializations in management liability, professional liability, environmental liability and fidelity coverages, she combines her product and market knowledge to solve business challenges that arise daily. She advises clients in areas such as prudent corporate governance, mergers, acquisitions, and cyber liability, among other specialties.

In addition to her practice, Kim is a frequent speaker on her topics of expertise, including executive risk, cyber risk and liability, and more. She is Co-Chair and a founding member of The Women’s Leadership Council at Oswald. The Council was created to inspire, engage, and advocate for Oswald Employee-Owners, in support of professional and personal development, and an inclusive environment that advances the success of women and the organization. Connect with Kim direct via email at

The Oswald Women’s Leadership Council, developed in 2013 to inspire females at all levels to empower, develop and advance, has focused its 2017 education efforts around Empowerment. Read earlier articles from the Council on its web page.


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