[Ep#220] Empowering Women in Leadership Beyond Traditional Norms

Empowering Women in Leadership Beyond Traditional Norms 

Joining us is the extraordinary Analiza Wolf, CEO of Women of Color RISE, executive coach, acclaimed author of “The Myths of Success: A Women of Color's Guide to Leadership,” and host of the Women of Color Rise podcast. She brings her wealth of experience to the table, sharing insights into the unique challenges women—particularly women of color—face in climbing the corporate ladder.

In this candid conversation, Analiza unpacks the concept of the “concrete ceiling,” navigates the nuances of networking, and champions the need for authentic relationship-building as a means to bolster job security and career progression. She bravely shares her personal trials and teaches us the transformative power of owning our mistakes and embracing vulnerability in leadership.

We'll dissect the societal norms and biases that discourage women from seeking top leadership roles and highlight the value of compassion and empathy—as opposed to traditional views that prioritize dominance. Analiza offers her perspective on the double bind of humility versus ambition, helping us understand how to communicate our achievements without diminishing the collective effort of our teams.

It's time to challenge the dichotomy of being both decisive and collaborative and to embrace a new paradigm of transformational leadership.

On today’s show, Analiza is going to share:  

  • If you really want to change the world, women should aspire to be CEO. 
  • Be prepared to navigate the double bind (ex. Be tough AND likeable) 
  • It is possible to break through the concrete ceiling (different than the glass ceiling) for women of color – by understanding how the game is played.  



Jump straight to these golden nuggets:

04:02 Breaking stereotypes, encouraging women in leadership roles.

08:23 Emotions and values impact leadership and success.

11:07 Women transforming unhelpful beliefs and attitudes.

14:18 Creating safe space, humility, and double binds.

18:26 Reflecting on outcomes, learning, and moving forward.

21:50 Open communication addresses mistakes and influences positively.

24:41 Glass ceiling limits women of color success.

28:22 Networking and building relationships are essential.

32:06 Build visibility, generate leads, and attract clients.


Topic: Understanding Leadership Barriers for Women

  • Explanation of the “concrete ceiling” faced by women of color.
  • Discussion on societal norms and biases against women in leadership.
  • The hesitation of women to engage in networking and ways to overcome this reluctance.

Topic: Empowering Women to Aspire to CEO Positions

  • Annalisa shares her journey and motivations for supporting women of color in leadership roles.
  • Personal anecdotes and reflections on observing and experiencing leadership challenges.
  • Encouraging women to break the mold and aspire to high leadership roles.
  • Challenging the traditionally masculine view of leadership qualities.

Topic: Balancing Personal Employee Interests with Organizational Goals

  • Merging employee concerns with broader organizational objectives.
  • Making decisive decisions while maintaining the flexibility to seek input where necessary.

Topic: Addressing Double Binds and Leadership Dichotomies

  • The concept of a double bind, specifically for women in leadership.
  • Sharing successes as a means to highlight individual leadership within a team context.
  • Transforming unhelpful beliefs and attitudes.
  • Promoting humility and collaborative leadership


Aspiring Female Leaders: “When you take seats of power, that helps make that happen. And as much as I say this out loud, it seems so obvious. Right? If you wanna help, of course, you wanna be a leader because you'll have more influence.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:04:46 → 00:04:56]

The Myths of Leadership Diversity: “And one of them is, if I want to be a leader in the military, in corporations, in nonprofit, wherever it is, I need to look a certain way, which is male, often white, and I need to act a certain way, which is dominant, decisive.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:07:07 → 00:07:21]

The Double Bind for Women in Leadership: “You're like damned if you do and damned if you don't. But you can navigate this, and this is the key.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:10:10 → 00:10:14]

Effective Leadership and Tough Feedback: “To be a good leader, you need to be able to give tough feedback.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:12:49 → 00:12:52]

Encouraging Team Input vs. Decisiveness: “And so here's a double bind, that often, because we want everyone to be winning and we also care about input. Annemarie, what do you think about this? I care about your feedback. You know, how can we make this product better? We sometimes tend to, because we're trying to get everyone involved, over index, and then people think, well, jeez, Analiza can't make a decision. She needs other people to tell her what to do. It's a tough one, so that's obviously why she's asking everybody because she's not able to make a decision.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:15:59 → 00:16:29]

Leadership Decision-Making: “You decide when you make a decisive decision and when you go get input. And if you decide to get input, you don't just keep on going, right? Like Annemarie, let's ask Annemarie's friend or grandma or doc I'm like, no, no, no. Maybe ask a few people, make a decision, say it with conviction, and stay with it. You don't keep on keeping on.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:17:03 → 00:17:25]

Leadership Transparency: “I wanna own that that decision did not go as intended. And while their the intention wasn't what I wanted, it I wanna own the impact. And so, I wanna open it up for everyone to ask questions.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:20:43 → 00:20:57]

Glass Ceiling for Women of Color: “Not only is it a ceiling for women of color, it is a concrete ceiling. So that means I can't even see past it. There are no role models who look like me. I don't even know. Is it even possible to go beyond the ceiling?”

— Analiza Wolf [00:25:01 → 00:25:13]

Career Advancement Strategies: “To be able to rise in organizations, you have to understand that the game is now about, yes, you should do good work, and yes, you should build skill. But a lot of it is, who do you know? Do they know that you're working on projects that matter? And are you showing and asking for and advocating for moving up in an organization? And that's actually 60% of the work, which is weird.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:26:50 → 00:27:16]

The Importance of Networking: “it's these authentic relationships that help when we're trying to say, Hey, what strategic projects are happening in the company? What advice would you give me? You know, unfortunately, they're having a layoff, and I wanna be able to knock on someone else's door and say, hey. Could you tell me more about your work and give me some advice and maybe give me a referral? And so, it's these things that help to make it more fun and authentic, but 2, there's no such thing, especially now of a job guarantee. So, we have to recession proof. We have to build some security and networks are the way to do that.”

— Analiza Wolf [00:30:32 → 00:31:09]

Contact Analiza:

A Personal Message from Annemarie

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