Career Growth
April 18, 2024

Top Strategies for Empowering Women in Sales

This guide offers actionable strategies for women aiming to maximize their leadership potential, advocate for their growth, and make a positive impact in their workplaces.



Are you a saleswoman in a leadership role? Then this article is for you. Here we will share key insights on navigating the challenges and maximizing the opportunities women face in leadership roles, particularly when they are the only female in the room. This discussion featured Katie Capuzzo, the general manager of WISE, along with Krissi Fields, Director of Revenue Enablement at Bandwidth, and Stephanie Kuene, Group Vice President at Fisher Investments.

This guide offers actionable strategies for women aiming to maximize their leadership potential, advocate for their growth, and make a positive impact in their workplaces. It encapsulates real-world experiences and practical advice that can be applied across various industries to empower women professionally.

Unpacking Leadership Through the Female Lens

Navigating the Dichotomy of Presence: Benefits vs. Challenges

Being the only woman in the room often places one in the spotlight, sometimes uncomfortably so, but also uniquely positions them to influence outcomes due to their distinct perspectives. Krissi Fields highlighted the empowerment that comes from such situations, which can lead to significant career opportunities, such as leading major projects. Stephanie Kuene echoed this sentiment, noting the immediate recognition and the necessity to stand out she experiences in male-dominated settings, which, while daunting, also fosters a unique vantage point for impact.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embrace the Spotlight: Use the unique position as a chance to highlight diverse perspectives.
  • Communicate Effectively: Women's strong empathetic and communicative skills are powerful tools in leadership and negotiation contexts.
  • Assertiveness in Leadership: Being the only woman can sometimes mean advocating for oneself more forcefully to be heard and respected.

Overcoming Implicit Biases and Cultivating Empowerment

Both leaders discussed strategies for handling situations where implicit biases may surface. For example, Stephanie Kuene emphasized the importance of addressing inappropriate language or assumptions diplomatically but firmly, ensuring that corrections are educational and not confrontational.

Strategies for Empowerment:

  • Educate and Correct Gently: Use missteps by others as teaching moments to correct biases.
  • Empathetic Leadership: Leveraging empathy not only in managing teams but also in educating peers about diversity and inclusion effectively.
  • Visibility and Voice: Ensuring that being the only woman in the room translates to a strong, heard, and respected presence.

Strategic Career Navigation and Growth

Transitioning Between Industries and Roles

Krissi Fields shared her journey from banking to tech, highlighting the challenges and strategic decisions involved in transitioning between industries and roles. She stressed the importance of networking, identifying allies, and finding departments that align with one's skills and values as crucial steps in navigating career changes successfully.

Career Transition Insights:

  • Network Strategically: Utilize connections to gain entry and navigate through new industries.
  • Seek Out Allies: Identify and align with leaders within the target industry who can provide guidance and opportunities.
  • Evaluate Cultural Fit: Understand the departmental dynamics and leadership styles to ensure alignment with personal and professional values.

Expanding Leadership Influence Internationally

Stephanie Kuene elaborated on her responsibilities in taking Fisher Investments' operations international, including navigating cultural norms and managing diverse teams across different countries. This role required keen cultural sensitivity, especially regarding gender roles and expectations in the workplace globally.

International Leadership Challenges:

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Adapt strategies and communications based on cultural expectations and norms.
  • Diverse Team Management: Handle a variety of cultural perspectives and integrate them into a cohesive team strategy.
  • Regulatory and Social Norm Awareness: Stay informed about country-specific regulations and social norms affecting workplace dynamics and team interactions.

Personal Development and Leadership Style Refinement

Adapting Leadership Styles in Male-Dominated Environments

Both panelists discussed the necessity of adapting their leadership styles, particularly in male-dominated environments, to ensure they are effective and respected. This often means balancing assertiveness with empathy, leveraging their unique perspectives, and continually advocating for their professional growth and recognition.

Leadership Style Development:

  • Assertive Yet Empathetic: Combine firmness in decision-making with empathy to guide and inspire teams.
  • Feedback and Continuous Improvement: Regularly seek and constructively respond to feedback to refine leadership approaches.
  • Mentorship and Advocacy: Actively mentor others while also seeking mentors to enhance personal growth and professional development.

Inclusivity and Team Dynamics

Creating an inclusive team environment where every member feels valued and empowered is critical. Krissi Fields shared her approach to nurturing team dynamics that foster inclusivity, professional growth, and open communication. This involves personalized interaction strategies that consider individual team members' preferences and professional development needs.

Fostering Inclusive Teams:

  • Personalized Management Strategies: Adapt communication and management styles to fit individual team members' needs.
  • Professional Growth Opportunities: Encourage and facilitate team members' professional development through training and opportunities for challenging projects.
  • Open and Supportive Communication: Maintain an environment where feedback is encouraged and valued, enhancing team cohesion and performance.

Recommended Resources for Women In Sales

During the event, the panelists recommended several resources aimed at supporting women in their professional growth and leadership development. These resources include books, networks, and strategies that have been beneficial in their own careers and can aid other women in navigating the complex dynamics of workplace environments, particularly those heavily dominated by male leadership.

Books and Publications

  • "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office" by Lois P. Frankel
    • This book provides insights into the unconscious mistakes women make that could sabotage their careers. It gives practical advice on how to avoid these pitfalls and advance in their careers with confidence and professionalism.
  • "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" by Sheryl Sandberg
    • Sheryl Sandberg’s book is a modern classic that discusses the challenges women face in leadership roles and encourages women to pursue their career goals relentlessly. It's a call to action for women to lean in to their ambitions and to strive for leadership positions.
  • "The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know" by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
    • This book explores the importance of confidence for women in the workplace, the science behind it, and why it's essential for women to embody and project confidence in their roles.

Professional Networks and Groups

  • WISE (Women in Sales Everywhere)
    • As the hosting organization of the panel, WISE offers extensive resources, mentorship opportunities, and networking events designed to empower women in sales positions. Joining networks like WISE can provide women with the community support and professional development resources needed to advance in their careers.
  • Lean In Networks
    • These circles are small groups that meet regularly to learn and grow together. They are designed to help members achieve their goals and offer each other support. This can be particularly beneficial for women looking to develop leadership skills and navigate their careers strategically.
  • Professional Women’s Network Local Chapters
    • Many cities have local chapters of professional women’s networks that offer workshops, seminars, and networking events that can be instrumental in building connections and advancing one’s career.

Online Platforms and Tools

  • LinkedIn Learning
    • LinkedIn Learning offers courses on leadership, communication, business skills, and personal development that can be particularly useful for women looking to advance their professional skills.
  • Coursera and Udemy
    • Online learning platforms like Coursera and Udemy offer courses taught by university professors and industry experts on topics ranging from project management to digital marketing and leadership. These can be excellent resources for gaining new skills and certifications.

Conferences and Workshops

  • Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing
    • This is the world's largest gathering of women technologists, which includes sessions on career development, technical skills, and leadership, providing a fantastic opportunity for networking and growth.
  • Women in Leadership Conferences
    • These conferences occur globally and are focused on enhancing women's leadership skills, expanding their influence, and developing strategies for navigating workplace challenges.

These resources are designed to support women at various stages of their careers, whether they are just starting out or are seasoned professionals looking to take the next step in leadership. By leveraging books, joining networks, participating in mentorship programs, and attending relevant workshops, women can enhance their skills, build confidence, and advance their careers strategically.


The insights from Katie Capuzzo, Krissi Fields, and Stephanie Kuene during the WISE event provide a valuable framework for women navigating leadership roles, particularly in environments where they may be the only female voice. Their experiences underscore the importance of embracing one’s unique perspective, advocating for oneself and others, and continuously seeking personal and professional growth.

Empowering Strategies for Aspiring Women Leaders:

  • Leverage Unique Positions: Use the "only woman in the room" scenario as a strategic advantage.
  • Navigate Careers with Purpose: Make informed transitions and seek roles that align with personal values and professional ambitions.
  • Develop a Personalized Leadership Style: Blend assertiveness with empathy and inclusivity.
  • Foster Team Success: Build dynamic, inclusive, and supportive team environments to propel collective and individual successes.

Over the years, statistics for women in sales are improving but more can still be done. This detailed exploration not only celebrates the achievements and strategies of these women leaders but also serves as an actionable guide for others striving to make their mark in their respective fields. Their stories and strategies illuminate the path for the next generation of women leaders, proving that while the journey may involve unique challenges, it also offers unparalleled opportunities for growth and impact.

Companies interested in learning more about diversifying their teams, supporting female sellers and promoting their brand, should reach out to WISE (