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Leadhership Case Study

Vanyah Harrigan

Manager of Institutional Giving, Opera Philadelphia

Vanyah’s role centers on corporate and foundation giving and advancing equity and inclusion work

Her team was revisiting RACI charting with a consultant and there remained a lot of resistance to implementing new tools and processes. Because of consistently poor communication and “dumping” Vanyah was considering leaving her role at the start of the pandemic.

There were a lot of fractures in her team - very top down and many of her teammates weren’t expressing their true feelings. They were going along to get along. They also had a key junior member leave early in a pandemic - things got done with frittered teeth and feigned smiles.

She was withering. She needed support to find a way to get to the next level. 

Vanyah had devoted a lot of time to reading self- development authors and podcasts like Benjamin Hardy and Whitney Johnson, trying to get clear in her “calling” and would find bursts of inspiration, but hadn’t worked formally with a coach. It was something she’d dreamed of but never felt attainable at the managerial level.

“I was beyond frustrated and didn’t see a path forward. I felt undervalued and not confident in articulating my needs, worth, and expectations to do my best work.

I was eager to have the support of knowing I wasn’t the only one struggling with disillusionment in my career and needed the support and camaraderie of other driven professional women.”

Harriette’s work with the LeadHERship cohort embodied who she wanted to be as a leader. Other programs felt very corporate, “masculine styled ”, whereas she found the program to center our humanity as women who often tirelessly serve others, to examine what (limiting) stories we tell ourselves and put full self (suppressed dreams included) in front of the story to truly harness our potential through direct, fierce conversations.

In Vanyah’s initial consult call, she felt that Harriette had a particular timbre that resonated with her along with a focus on women’s resilience - which requires going all in and casting a vision for becoming the leader she needed to be, regardless of her position. Harriette told her “We live and die by the quality of conversations we have.” and that really was her ah-ha moment. 

Small group coaching was a rich experience for Vanayah. She got to know women around the world and experience peer and 1:1 coaching.

Vanyah got immense clarity 3 months into LeadHERship on how she had been shrinking from having honest conversations with herself and those around her. 

Vanyah also saw a transformation in her personal relationships where she’d spent much of her  life serving others and people pleasing to avoid conflict. This created a deep breach with her sense of self and carried a lot of shame and feeling unworthy of being OK asking for what she needed.

“My confidence has shifted from shrinking to being unapologetic for my core values, desire for more in ascending leadership opportunities, and in compensation, and getting clear on why I have stayed to making the decision to leave - without holding a quorum.”

The unexpected benefit Vanyah saw was the rich professional female friendships and conversations she gained. 

“I reclaimed my voice, choosing to evolve with intention rather than wither in fear. By speaking boldly in projects and in meetings, I’ve shifted strategy and gained clarity in my core values.”

Her favorite part of LeadHERship was the live sessions. There were days she’d be dragging and Harriette’s live session would get her ALL the way together. In the midst of Zoom fatigue, those live sessions were a sacred space to listen, connect and grow together - despite the distance and provided both healing and stern challenges for introspection and instigated great growth.

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“I would wholeheartedly recommend LeadHERship to friends and clients who are committed to preparing to lead with conviction and integrity.

It’s been a wonderful place of self discovery and growth which I highly recommend- especially those who were newly promoted into Director and VP roles.

I gained and unlocked so much personally and professionally from our 6 months together. There are things I’ve wrestled with expressing for most of my adult life and that freedom and clarity is priceless.

Harriette truly has a gift in honoring where your broken bits are and creating a space that is restorative of women who have been burnt out while also commanding the best of you to craft a new view of self and embodying a new kind of leadership.

Do not hesitate in embarking on this journey with LeadHERship - it will transform your life.”