We are just days away from kicking off our next Inspired event, “Leading with Authenticity and Intention,” is right around the corner, taking place March 4. The Inspired Leadership Series, a recurring event series, brings together local leaders, thought leaders and innovators for an evening of learning, connection and exploration.

You can learn more about the reason behind the launch of Inspired here.

Each Inspired event features a spotlight speaker who will tee up a leadership concept, followed by small group work among attendees. In just a few weeks we will welcome Carole Ann Penney, CPC, Strategic Career Coach, Speaker and Organizational Consultant, as our spotlight speaker.

Carole Ann—who also graced the stage at our inaugural ON Leadership Conference—will help attendees explore what it means to be an “authentic” leader and introduce us to three models for closing the gap between the leader you intend to be and how you show up today. Learn more about our speaker in our 5-question catch up below!

You can register for our March 4 Inspired event here!


We are so excited to have you as our spotlight speaker at our upcoming Inspired event! To start, do you mind telling our readers a little bit about you?

As a Strategic Career Coach, I help mission-driven leaders navigate their work and lives with purpose and resilience. In a world filled with so much change, we all have the opportunity and responsibility to create and recreate our own paths. I work with emerging and established professionals through one on one and group coaching, interactive workshops, and speaking engagements to navigate this new terrain. Together, we develop their meaningful career paths and authentic leadership—so that they can adapt to challenges and opportunities and intentionally make a unique, positive impact through their work.


You will be talking about how to lead with intention. What does intention mean to you?

When I was promoted to my first senior leadership position, I felt like I had to project an image of having it all together in order to prove myself to the higher ups and my peers. Inside, I was shaking. I was making it all up as I went along, shooting from the hip. I didn’t feel like I had my feet under me. So many of us come into management roles this way. Leading with intention means purposefully showing up with a strong grounding in who I am and what I stand for as a leader. Even someone who is new to leadership already has a foundation for their unique leadership style—and that’s exactly what we’ll be exploring together at the workshop!


There is much talk these days about showing up as our authentic selves—especially as leaders. What does that actually mean and what challenges do we face along the way?

From research articles in Harvard Business Review to local trainings, I’m seeing the topic of “authentic leadership” come up more and more. On the surface, “authentic leadership” seems like a simple concept that we can all get behind. Who wouldn’t want to be an authentic leader?! But as Scientific American pointed out in an article last summer, there isn’t a common definition of what it means to be “authentic.” There’s also some surprising research that makes the case for being an “inauthentic leader” which we’ll explore at the workshop as well! I’m interested in the ways that we can reflect on this concept as individuals and as peers—to help each of us develop our own sense of what it means to us to show up as intentional and adaptable leaders.


What role will authentic leadership and intentionality play in the workplace of tomorrow? Are these things *really* all that important or just hype?

I see so many mission-driven leaders teetering on the edge of burnout. I believe that intentional, authentic leadership is one of the keys to sustainable leadership—and that’s something that all businesses and organizations need to be concerned with. In this job-hopping, gig economy, companies need to support and retain talent, and professionals need to develop their resilience to challenges and change. Having a firm foundation for your leadership means that you can be both adaptable and impactful.


What is one way attendees can prepare for your speech?

Reflect on where you are in your leadership journey. Leadership is not a destination or a status—it’s a practice. And we’ve all been practicing it since we got to be the line leader in preschool. Whether you’re preparing for your first formal leadership role or have been a leader for many years, ask yourself: What does it mean to me to be an authentic leader? How would I characterize my leadership style? Come to the workshop with thoughts and a willingness to share!