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Meet Barbara Swinney, Leadership Coaching

What does Empowering Women in Industry mean to you?

In a period of six months, I experienced a major shift in my career (in the wrong direction…so I thought), I got a divorce, bought a house, sold a house, sent my firstborn off to college, and started a life and leadership coaching business to empower women in leadership as they transition through life-changing events. All of this in the middle of experiencing the roller coaster ride of my own healing process, and fastening the seat belts of my two daughters as they navigated their new reality. Nobody could help me. I trusted no one to give me the grace that I needed should my performance fall below the level of excellence to which I had become accustomed. So I suffered in silence…I powered through. I recognized that this was not just my story. This was the story of many women in leadership. Instead of having a place to process our personal problems while leading in our professions, we stuff them; we put on our Ruby Woo Lipstick, our finest suits, and stylish heels, paint a smile on our faces…and we walk—confidently insecure—bound by the expectations of others, paralyzed by self-judgment; and completely afraid to give any indication that we are not OK. This is why empowering women in leadership is so important to me. This is why I became vigilant about helping women, like me, transition through life-changing events, while managing the demands of their roles as leaders; this is why I wrote the books, “It’s Always DEEPER” and “Leading the DEEPER Way”. This is why I host DEEPER Women Speak® and DEEPER Women Lead® Conferences—events that provide a personal and professional development platform for women in leadership to share their stories, their experiences and knowledge to empower other women to go after their healing, to go after their dreams, to lead, and to become DEEPER Women®!

How did you get started in your field?

I have been an educational leader for more than 20 years. I chose the field because I wanted to impact the world by impacting its most precious commodity, children. However, as I ascended in my career, I accepted leadership roles and progressed pretty quickly; leading in the roles of Assistant Principal, Principal, and Assistant Superintendent. As I served in one the largest school district in the country, I found that impacting the world included impacting its leaders. I strongly believe that leadership matters, but what matters most is who you are as a leader. Regardless of the industry, the most effective leader effectively leads herself...before she can effectively lead others. Thus, I became a Certified Life and Holistic Leadership Coach to empower women to be effective leaders in their own lives and in their businesses and organizations.

What do you love most about your job? What are you most proud of?

The most rewarding part of my job as a life and leadership coach and an educational leader is seeing other women, in educational and organizational leadership, come into who they are as leaders; seeing them engage in true leadership; seeing them become empowered leaders in their own lives, and effectively leading others.

What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work?

Anyone who is planning to enter the world of leadership should understand that who you are, at your core, matters in what you do. Ultimately, leadership is not about you! It's not about control; it's not about manipulation, and it's not about power. Leadership is about service; caring for the people you serve; empowering those under your leadership, and producing other leaders.

Anything else you would like to add?

Authentic Living-Authentic Leadership: Leading from the Inside Out Who you are as a leader and how you show up every day...matters! My talks and training sessions are engaging and interactive and focused on the just that-the the “who” and the “being” parts of leadership...true leadership. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of purpose-driven leadership, vision casting, examining life and leadership practices, and eliminating barriers to effective organizational leadership, team leadership, and self-leadership.

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