"We know, deep in our souls, that the business world will only change when women feel safe to be themselves at work. 

So, how do you more fully embrace your authenticity, especially when it’s not your usual modus operandi?

To spark inspiration, I’m sharing one of my favorite sessions from my last Reveal Your Voice roundtable experience where each woman got a turn in the hot seat while each of the other female participants filled in their responses to the phrase, “What I want to know about you is ____.”

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Dive Deeper with Journaling Prompts 

To help you express your authenticity with comfort and confidence, I've created journaling prompts inspired by this post. Dedicate some time before you enter events to reflect on your vulnerability tolerance and what parts of your life are relevant to share.

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As a woman in a male-dominated industry, it’s easy to feel as though your authentic expression isn’t on the meeting agenda. And, that’s often the case.

But it doesn’t take away from the fact that your truest voice is part of the medicine needed to heal your industry from the inside. 

There is an element of openness and authenticity that some women embrace naturally, including me. It’s my nature to be open and transparent. But there are situations where even I close up or quiet down, especially in business spaces. 

Look. We know, deep in our souls, that the business world will only change when women feel safe to be themselves at work. 

So, how do you more fully embrace your authenticity, especially when it’s not your usual modus operandi?

To spark inspiration, I’m sharing one of my favorite sessions from my last Reveal Your Voice roundtable experience where each woman got a turn in the hot seat while each of the other female participants filled in their responses to the phrase, “What I want to know about you is ____.”

The conversation that followed was fascinating. 

Each woman on the hot seat got a firsthand look at the parts of her story that she wasn’t sharing, while simultaneously learning the elements of her story that sparked the most curiosity.

Imagine having that type of insight before a pitch, a speech, leading a conversation, or leading a meeting. Or even tapping into that insight as you craft your social media.

Which is why I’ve taken the questions I received during my turn in the hot seat and distilled them into 3 categories.

If authenticity is not your forté, my hope is that by using this framework you can identify a handful of specific topics that you feel comfortable sharing. And, by identifying those topics, you can speak more openly about parts of your life that people are curious to see. 

If authenticity is your second nature, I hope this framework gives you even more inspiration about how to continue revealing your voice in a way that serves and inspires.

The 3 categories:

(1) Moments/Story

Why this? Why this industry, this company, this mission? By now, your friends and followers are certain of your passion, but where did it originate? Is there a deeper story about how you got here?

Some of the questions I was asked around my Story:

  • What were you like in high school? 
  • What was your decisive moment?
  • Why venture capital? 
  • When did you start believing in your magic?


Pro tip: When doing your normal introduction in a meeting or networking, after stating your name and title, use the phrase, “What led me here is….” It’s a great way to talk about your backstory and the pivotal moments that brought you to this place.

(2) Mindset/Psyche 

People want to know what makes you tick. Since you’re a leader, people are especially curious about how you see the world. I would argue that the leaders we respect the most are the ones who invite us to think differently, so leaning into this element can expand your thought leadership, too.

Some of the questions I was asked around Mindset and Psyche:

  • What's the topic you haven’t discussed yet?
  • Do you get angry?
  • How do you feel when you are dancing? 
  • What are your boundaries? What’s your “holy hell no?”

Of course they asked these questions, the best leaders are always curious about people.


(3) Personal Relationships 

This one is not surprising… because people are curious! But in this category, my perspective is that it’s less about revealing personal details and more about revealing how your closest relationships reflect your personal value system. 

For example: My Puerto Rican heritage is very important to me. So, I enrolled my son in a Spanish immersion school. During evening story time, we alternate between reading books in English and Spanish. This aspect of mothering my son reflects my cherished personal values, making it personal and relevant.

Some of the questions I was asked around Personal Relationships:

  • Why did you feel you needed to leave your marriage?
  • What do you want for your son?

Obviously, appropriate topics depend on the venue. Deciding what to address requires exercising common sense along with establishing and enforcing boundaries. It helps to remember that inviting people into your real life is not the same as granting unlimited access to it.

And, at the end of the day, nothing changes if you feel forced to take your seat at the table as a muted version of yourself.

If you love the idea of bringing forward your voice in a roundtable of women for feedback and support, I encourage you to join us at FORWARD: A Roundtable Workshop for Women Who Defy the Status Quo.

Learn more at https://thestefaniediaz.com/forward.