As women of culturally diverse backgrounds, many of us aren’t taught the skills we need to move up. It’s not expected that we will move up, because there are a number of barriers facing us and we are not used to seeing women who look like us in positions of power. When we do have success and find ourselves rising to new levels, we often end up learning by trial and error, which leaves many of us feeling like we’ve been dropped right into the deep end. 

The first time we negotiated salary was when we landed our first career jobs. (How many of us accepted the first offer we were given?) The first time we managed staff was the first time we became a manager – there’s no bootcamp. In most companies, there’s no additional training for new managers. So, we find new challenges at each new threshold we reach in our careers.

To have a competitive advantage, we cannot be passive. Personal advocacy is a skill set we all need to move up, to create better long-term results for ourselves, and to communicate our worth to the people we work with/for. 

What underpins strong personal advocacy?

1. Build a foundation for your thought leadership

Get clear on your strengths and what areas you want to build thought leadership on. Speak and post about your interests. Demonstrate your expertise online and in-person. People in your network will begin to associate you with your area of expertise and your skill set. By building your thought leadership, you will have a foundation to stand on when seeking new opportunities. (If you aren’t clear on your value or where you want to go, download our complimentary worksheet to identify your interests, values and strengths.)

2. Prepare

Do your research and your prep work. If you’re negotiating salary or asking for a raise, know what industry standards are and build your case based on your experience. If you are putting yourself forward to lead on a project, be able to discuss how your skill set makes you the right fit for the opportunity and to break down how you would approach it. Anticipate questions or reservations your audience might have. When you come in prepared, not only will you feel more confident, but you will present as professional and knowledgeable. 

3. Embody your worth

Embodying your worth can be a challenge – see last week’s blog on Imposter Syndrome for a case study. It is the most effective piece in creating results through personal advocacy. Not simply the belief in yourself, but the full presence you command when you own that worth is that secret sauce that makes others believe in your worth as well.


If you’d like to learn more about personal advocacy and deep dive into some of the key tools you need, Veza Community is hosting a morning talk on September 26th featuring 3 women leaders from different sectors. Get your tickets for Personal Advocacy: The tools you need on your leadership journey today.

Until September 6th at 11:59pm, use early bird discount for 20% off tickets: AdvocacyEarlyBird

*When we refer to “women,” we mean all people who identify as such.