The Secret Sauce of Success

Strata Leadership Shares Lessons Learned in Leadership

It’s a remarkable time to be a female leader. Nearly half of the workforce in the United States are women, with younger females entering the professional world more educated than men and making more money to men their age than their mothers and grandmothers decades ago.

There’s no question, though, we still have miles to go in terms of supporting women with families, offering more flexible and female-respected work cultures and advancing pay scales.

As a business leader for more than 18 years, I’m a firm believer in women supporting, not competing, with other women. Because together, we can do more! I’ve been fortunate to work alongside and manage teams of women who are incredibly successful in their careers.

So what’s the secret sauce for that success? Here are the leadership tips I’ve learned in my own professional journey. 

1. Be confident, yet humble and kind. Confidence breeds huge amounts of respect and motivates others to join you, whether that’s in leading your team, making decisions or building relationships with clients, shareholders or donors.

2. Eliminate self-doubt. Life has a way of presenting unexpected challenges, some of which you don’t always think you can tackle. But in most every instance, you can accomplish far more than you could ever imagine. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

3. Take the initiative, and don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. Your tenacity and go-getter attitude will be noticed by other leaders around you, plus you’ll likely learn something new and exciting in the process.

4. Ignore the background noise. There will always be someone who doesn’t agree with you, but the firmer you stand on your character and values, the quieter the naysayers will be.

5. Set boundaries when it comes to responding to work after hours and when you won’t. Set an example for those around you that life is much bigger than a title, job duties and a position.  

6. Do one thing for yourself every day, whether it’s a workout, talking to a friend for a few minutes or indulging in a favorite food. In order to be fully present in your role as a leader, you have to be in a good place mentally, and making time for self-care is imperative to achieving that mental stability.

7. Be OK with not having work/life balance. It doesn’t exist anyway! Focus instead on doing only the things in your life that fulfill you. Say no to all the rest, and don’t apologize for it. When we commit to tasks or commitments that drain us, we don’t have the energy to be present and joy-filled at work or at home.


Erin Engelke, APR is the Executive Director for Calm Waters, a nonprofit in Oklahoma City that serves children and families who have experienced loss due to death or divorce. She is a public speaker and trainer for Strata Leadership as well as a writer and blogger for her personal brand, Beauty in the Busyness,


Strata Leadership is passionate about serving value-driven leaders who believe in elevating the lives of their team with value-driven solutions. As a full-service organizational development firm, Strata Leadership is devoted to providing character and competence based solutions to equip employers and/or individuals in the following areas: training, coaching, development experiences, and organizational development consulting. By providing direct access to our Faculty Members of researchers, writers, trainers, and coaches we are able to provide the necessary blend of academic preparation and real-world experience to serve as trustworthy guides.

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