Women & Power Forum

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Monique Svazlian, CPCC, ACC

Leadership & Executive Coach to Women Leaders & High Potentials


At the age of 25, while working at one of the better known Silicon Valley tech companies, I found myself faced with a tough question - What approach was I going to use to lead my teams to produce a 10,000 person conference?

I had never produced an event of that magnitude and had NO idea what I was getting myself into. For the first time in my career, I was stepping into a major leadership role and had to decide what style of leadership I was going to use to make sure I didn’t fail.

But I was in a conundrum – the only role model of leadership I had was of micro-management, more a male-centric, command and control style. I didn't have a sense of where to begin, let alone how to assign responsibilities! It didn't feel authentic to me to lead this way, so in order to succeed, I chose to use a more balanced approach.  Little did I know that this decision would be a turning point in my life and in my own leadership.

So what was the first thing I did? I asked my teams for help. Choosing to be vulnerable established immediate trus. The magnitude and scope of the project required many people to work collaboartively, so I had to quickly build relationships with people I had never worked with. I cared deeply about the eBay community and the success of the conference, so I shared this vision with my teams. Instead of anticipating and assigning tasks, I gave the decision making power to individuals and empowered open lines of communication to enable efficiency and collaboration. These somewhat risky choices, along with my propensity for playfulness and fun, helped me discover my unique authentic leadership style. This approach felt real to me; I could express all parts of myself and still motivate and inspire my teams towards success.

Having the courage to try this alternative style of leadership had multiple results: we had one of the most successful conferences to date, and my teams expressed how much they enjoyed working under my leadership. Proof enough that when you allow people to make decisions, contribute ideas, and allow them to feel part of a larger vision, magic happens. The icing on the cake: I achieved a level of success I had never imagined possible, and did so while being fully myself and remaining authentic.

This experience opened my eyes to the alternatives we have as women leaders. It doesn't always have to be a certain way. We can show up as ourselves, and bring more of our unique qualities to the table. The natural strengths and capacities we hold as women – of compassion, collaboration, and deep connection, can only add value to the table, not take away from it. By having the courage to express our feminine strengths, we can create strong collaborative environments where people thrive and feel invested in the mission and vision of the organization or project.

This experience also inspired me to delve deeper into the world of women and leadership. It led me to pursue a new career, and I transitioned into the area of coaching and leadership development to help women discover their authentic voice. My belief is that if more women can bring all parts of themselves to the table in their personal and professional lives, they will be better positioned to thrive and achieve all their dreams. My dearest hope is that by empowering women to their full feminine capacities, we can collectively change business and the world.

For those of you who like credentials and diplomas, I hold a BS in Business Marketing from San Francisco State University, and am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach trained through the prestigious Coaches Training Institute. I also hold an ACC through the International Coach Federation, and am a Certified Practitioner of the Tilt 360 Leadership Assessment. I also currently sit on the executive committee of the Armenian International Women’s Association in San Francisco, which is the city where I proudly call home.

If you’re interested in discovering your authentic leadership style, I offer complimentary consultations which you can book by contacting me. I look forward in supporting you in your journey towards full expression and authentic being.