My podcast guest, Palena Neale, reveals the leadership myths she has seen that cause damage to women leaders. Listen in!

Palena Neale is a women’s leadership educator and coach. She has over 25 years of experience delivering leadership development programs for the UN and other organizations globally. Palena holds a doctorate in Gender and International Politics and teaches on a number of different executive education programs. She is a professional certified coach and has been published in Forbes, Psychology Today and Harvard Business Review.

In this episode of the Woman of Value Podcast:

  • What it means to express your value through being, not doing
  • How to step into your own brand of leadership
  • Some of the leadership myths that are damaging to women



S4 EP 8: Palena Neale – Leadership Myths That Are Damaging to Women



It’s about understanding and savoring my value as a human being and letting go of proving strategies. It’s based on who I am and how I show up in the world.



The first is when I was about ten years old. I always wanted to be a crossing guard. I signed up and we waited for the announcement about who was selected. When I realized I wasn’t going to be called, I was disappointed. I also realized that those who were called were the children of important people in the community. At the end, the principal asked, “Have I forgotten anyone?” Which was a rhetorical question, but I raised my hand and said, “You forgot me!” He didn’t know who I was, and he hadn’t assigned value to me as I didn’t have the social standing of the others.

I’m an introvert and had come from the background of ‘children are seen and not heard’, but it was the first time I realized I’d have to be speak up to be heard. It instilled in me the courage to find summer jobs and pursue higher education and move around globally.



In my work in leadership, I feel privileged to coach women around the globe, and one thing that stands out is the challenge for women to own their value.

I also do a lot of 360 debriefings, and the women immediately want to go to their weaknesses and not their strengths. I help them believe in their strength and value, even when acknowledged by others.

If you can’t see your value, you can’t claim it or elevate it. One of the biggest pieces I focus on is connecting women to their value and resources.

The big myth I struggled with was that my work should speak for itself. If I work hard enough, people will recognize me and reward me and pull me up through the system.

Often the male junior colleague who’s less compliment leapfrogs over you. That was disheartening and frustrating. I had to think about how I was going to show differently.

I had to reframe visibility and networking and make it my own. I had to work on mindset and knowhow, too. We need a bigger success toolkit.

My company. Unabridged Leadership. is about designing and leading interventions and coaching for women (and some men) to connect to their power and leadership. Social impact is also important.

I also design and deliver workshops around women in leaderships looking at myths and stereotypes, managing the inner critic and accessing the inner mentor.



My big dream is to challenge the outdated systems of power that no longer serve the people or the planet.



I used to think I wasn’t tall enough.

What was the #1 thing holding you back from becoming a woman of value? Comparison. It’s the thief of joy.

What’s the best advice you can give to a woman who wants to become more empowered? Practice the yes and philosophy. When you’re reviewing ideas and deciding what to do, try and expand your thinking.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Practice curiosity as much as you can.

What’s something people get wrong about you? People often mistake my niceness for weakness. It’s not!

How would you like to be remembered? For the way I make people feel. I enjoy having conversations where people feel better afterwards.

Connect With Palena


Twitter: @PalenaNeale


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