Personal Reflections

“Stepping into the Power of Feminine Leadership” by Karen Wilhelm Buckley

By July 9, 2012 December 6th, 2022 No Comments

The 3rd Act welcomes Karen Wilhelm Buckley, writing our guest blog:

“You are a great type A facilitator – driven and focused on results. We achieved the impossible in this three day meeting.”

In the late 1980’s I loved this feedback. A highly resistant group of 65 managers from eight departments developed the first ever company-wide communications plan and I was proud of what we achieved.

But, I had no idea the personal cost, how much of my authentic feminine self I left out of the equation. In many ways, She wasn’t invited.

As a woman in my 30’s, consulting with predominately male corporate and federal government clients, I adapted a tough, highly focused approach to command respect. Like the teacher who showed no mercy until December to keep the class in line, I held back my funny, encouraging, and compassionate sides.

While privately raging that women weren’t yet equally hired into the senior levels of decision-making, I assumed we were making progress. That it was just a matter of time. It wasn’t until my late 40’s that I got it. Not only were significant numbers of women still missing at the top but equally important, the distinctive talents, perspectives and wisdom of women were also excluded from the key conversations.

For the most part, like me, the women who made it adapted a tough, more masculine approach because that seemed the best way to not be singled out. To do that, we demoted our feminine wisdom, values and vision, and too often that of other women as well. Can any of you relate?

Now, in my late 50’s (turning 60 this year!) I’m unequivocal about showing up in the world as my whole authentic feminine self in every client situation. Her competence, her insights, her difference delight me and I still get great results.

I love the place of knowing that arises from a wise woman’s natural connection with life, her caring compassion, and soft tenderness.  I appreciate the part of her that juggles clients, children, elderly parents, neighborhood, and community to build webs of support. I honor the way she prioritizes the broad context of any action and checks for potential consequences for generations to come.

Yet, women around the world still speak to me about their personal doubt and lack of confidence in their feminine approaches, gifts, and talents. When I speak at women’s conferences the #1 question is: How do I bring my feminine wisdom into a competitive work environment and not get passed by for promotion?

This is why I put together The Next Octave Women’s Leadership Webinar. Women need models and methods based in feminine wisdom in order to develop as authentic, powerful leaders whether they work in corporations, nonprofits, community organizations or small-business.

It’s up to us to step into our power as a vital, creative, catalytic wise feminine leader. As we continue to integrate the best of our feminine and masculine sides into a leadership that produces significant results, we benefit not only the company but fulfill ourselves as women as well.


About the Author:

Karen Wilhelm Buckley partners with women leaders and their organizations to create authentic leadership presence.  Her Wisdom and Power of Women Leaders and Next Octave Leadership programs have engaged hundreds of women in the United States and Europe since 2003. These speaking engagements, retreats and forums invite businesswomen in the United States and Europe to recognize the necessity of their wisdom, power and leadership for a sustainable, healthy, and loving world.

As Principal of Communicore Consulting, and Director of The Wisdom Connection, Karen partners with leaders and their organizations to help them develop wise leadership. Karen is an executive coach and consultant bringing experience and expertise to the field of organization development.

Visit Karen’s blog for more on women, wisdom, and leadership. (


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