Power Partnerships: Promoting gender balance throughout all levels of leadership

A group coaching program tailored to the unique needs of women leaders. The program was designed in Europe by Open the Door Leadership a group of passionate, inspired and energetic women who get what its like to be leaders in today’s world. Women from
Unilever, TomTom, NATO and Uniresearch have all participated in the program.

The first phase, Strong Self focuses on tools for resilience, positive intelligence, authenticity and setting boundaries. The second phase, Inspiring Leadership covers conflict, influence and leadership styles. It addresses the challenges and opportunities that present themselves when we start branching out to others and need to bring others on board. The third phase, Taking it to the Next Level supports women to think beyond themselves and how they contribute to their organization and their communities. It takes an even wider angle and will look closely at how each individual fits in with the company and how they can play a bigger role. The program has been proven to re-ignite women’s ambitions and increase their confidence. Each phase lasts three months and groups meet bi-weekly in person or online.

Women in Canada are losing their ambition

When it comes to their career, 45 percent say they’re somewhat ambitious, 17 percent are very ambitious, and 38 percent say not really or not at all.

Nearly 2/3 of Canadian women aged 35-45 would not take their boss’ job if offered.

“I hate to say this, but I think ambition might be a younger woman’s game. I wish I had pushed myself more at the start of my career. I had a vague desire to be partner, but I didn’t kill myself in order to get there… Now I have no idea how I could possibly take on more work, and the trade off in my time and sanity doesn’t seem worth it.”

Nicole, 41, Canada

Chatelaine Magazine Survey 2017, women aged 35-45

Why are there so few women striving for top leadership positions?

“Women start their careers hungry to attain a powerful job, but lose their appetite as they age. Even for women without children, and those who are breadwinners, power loses its luster for the 35-to-50 age group. ‘Women do not understand that power can give them what they want. They perceive the burdens of leadership outweighing the benefits when in fact power, our data reveals, is what allows women to thrive and flourish.”

‘Women want 5 things’ 2014, Center for talent innovation, survey of women in the US, UK and Germany

The symptoms vs. the cause

41% of Canadian women said obligations to kids stop them from being more ambitious.

31% said that lack of opportunities holds them back.

Talking to hundreds of working women we’ve discovered that these are only symptoms of the problem. There are two underlying causes that are holding women back:

  • Women still need to recognize and value their own potential.
  • Traditional leadership development programs do not address this challenge.

The solution: Women Need to See Their Own Potential by:

Managing self-sabotage and a potential need for perfection

Discovering and employing more of their individual strengths

Asking for help

Getting better at self-promotion

Seeing alternative possibilities by dropping old beliefs

Seeing leadership roles as opportunities versus burdens

Cultivating an empowering and sustaining network of peers, mentors and sponsors

I’m starting to take bigger risks, this group has given me confidence to ask to take ownership of a big project at work.


I’m energized. I’m learning new skills and gaining new insights each time we meet.


Even though we come from different backgrounds, it’s incredible how many of our issues are the same.


I feel so supported and understood by the others in the group I basically can’t wait for the next meeting to happen.