Women of Wisdom is an ongoing series featuring women living their full expression and leadership best.
Today we are happy to share the wisdom of Colleen Shepherd, a heart based feminine leader, mentor and public speaker with a passion for igniting the untapped genius and potential that lives inside every woman.
What calls you to lead?
I believe that it’s every woman’s birthright to shine bright and take up space. It’s our birthright to be fully and authentically expressed for who we truly are; to find our voice and speak our truth … and to contribute our greatest gifts to the world.
My calling into leadership began at a young age when I faced traumatic experiences at home and as a young teen living on the streets. As I generated solutions to my problems and began to find creative ways to shift my experience into positive forward movement, I reached out to help others do the same.
Over the years it took a great deal of courage to face limiting patterns of shame and low self-worth. My journey from the streets to corporate CEO and community leader was marked with many struggles and triumphs as I shifted from an experience of feeling silent and invisible to boldly stepping onto the stage of my own fully expressed life.
Today I’m dedicated to liberating women from the inner barriers, habits, energic patterns and beliefs that hold us back from our greatest contribution. Those barriers that stop us from stepping into our fullest potential and expressing the most authentic version of ourselves. This may look like playing small, dimming down, withholding our truth and our voice or minimizing our own successes and contributions. It may be the felt experience of being overlooked, unrecognized and a general lack of feeling safe to be seen and accepted for who they truly are at home or in the Boardroom.
What book changed your life?
The Great Work of Your Life: A guide for the Journey of Your True Calling
The author, Stephen Cope, reveals the doubts and fears, trials and passions we will all face when we dare to live an authentic life of purpose and meaning. He uses the dharma as explained by Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita to help us transform our inner conflict and doubt about our calling, into a life of freedom and fulfillment. This book was like a mirror shining a light on my true gifts and exposing the ways that I was withholding those gifts from the world. Ultimately, this book helped me clarify what’s at stake if I don’t step up to my bigger purpose.
What conversations do you find yourself having with other women leaders these days? What are the new conversations you are wanting to have?
The recent MeToo movement is shaking the foundation of social consciousness and causing a transformation of previously acceptable social norms. It has exposed entrenched patterns of power and oppression and opened a space for women to stand forward for their voices to be heard and their bodies to be respected. This can only be a good thing!
However, my recent conversations with women leaders urge that we need to begin to shift the focus to ‘what’s next’? The MeToo movement in its current form is heavily weighted toward external blame and victimisation. This can be very disempowering for women and may ultimately have the unintended outcome of setting women back and reinforcing a lack of personal agency. What’s more, there is a widening gap between men and women and with it, the potential for a reverse oppression and further imbalance in the world.
My hope is that we will start to ask ourselves how we can heal and come together in new and more evolved ways? Do we have the courage to look inside of ourselves as women, without blame or judgement, to see where we might be complicit in reinforcing the old structures? Are there ways that I as a woman have not stood in for myself and others? How have my own internal stories about being powerless and invisible kept me for speaking my truth, or hearing others?
We have a shared responsibility as women to come together and help each other step up and feel safe to be Bold and Visible in spite of internal or external limitations. I really do wonder … what’s next?
Bonus Question: access Colleen’s words of wisdom for women leaders
Colleen is a heart-based feminine leader, mentor and public speaker with a passion for igniting the untapped genius and potential that lives inside every woman. She is a living role model for how to cultivate the courage to break through our own inner glass ceiling and truly step up to play our biggest game! She offers transformational retreats and coaching for women through her company Bold and Visible.
Colleen has over 20 years’ experience as a CEO leading corporate and not for profit companies. She holds a graduate degree in Educational Psychology and Leadership and a BA in Social Work.
About Bold and Visible
The Bold and Visible community is a launching pad, to catapult women into greater levels of leadership, visibility and authentic self-expression. Our transformational process taps into the wisdom of our body and somatic energy system. We use a mix of experiential performance-based tools such as voice and movement coaching, dance, improvisational acting, personal story telling and fashion experimentation. Working with Bold and Visible you will identify and crush limiting beliefs that keep you small; tap into and practice your fullest personal expression and unique style; amplify your leadership presence and ignite your power and influence; find your true voice, connect more effectively with others and step courageously forward to play your biggest game possible.
Bold and Visible is hosting a half day introduction workshop and launch event in the summer 2018 (date and location TBD).
Bold will be accepting applications for 6-10 women to join a Bold and Visible mastermind beta pilot program, starting in October 2018. The beta pilot will help us test and evolve our unique approach.
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