Heather Backstrom

Business & Investing

Author Profile

Heather  Backstrom

Dr. Heather Backstrom is an accomplished executive coach, facilitator and speaker. As an expert on women's leadership she is passionate about empowering women's voices, presence, and impact. She created Collaborative Confidence to be an enduring bond between women that propels them forward together. She has a B.A. in communications from the University of the Pacific, a M.S. in human resources from Chapman University, and a doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University. 


Collaborative Confidence

Business & Investing

"Brilliantly written with stories about some of the most amazing women leaders around the world, Collaborative Confidence is the next step in creating more inclusive workspaces." —Seattle City Book Review


This book is for brilliant, talented, successful women, who want to polish their leadership skills, boost their confidence, and work and lead from a place of authentic strength. It’s a new way for women to become more impactful and visible, and help other talented women do the same. Dr. Heather Backstrom brings her 25 years of corporate human resources, and executive coaching experience to Collaborative Confidence, an inclusive, open, and fulfilling way to grow, share, and lead at work.
Through its three pillars - Activate, Amplify and Accelerate - Collaborative Confidence explores how women leaders can:

• become more self-aware
• work in alignment with their values and strengths
• showcase their unique skills and talents, and those of other women
• foster executive presence
• demonstrate their impact
• enhance their influence
• encourage and advocate for other women
• call attention to the talents and skills of other women
• bring about meaningful and substantive change for women in the workplace

When women engage in Collaborative Confidence, they are naturally truer to themselves, and help other women feel the same. Combining stories, research, and Dr. Backstrom’s many years of experience with actionable takeaways, Collaborative Confidence is written to help you weave together a happy and fulfilling life and career. Activate your self-awareness, inner champion, core values and strengths, Amplify your visibility and accomplishments, as well as other women leaders, Accelerate human-centric organizational cultures to discover a career that truly reflects your passions, values and goals.

Collaborative Confidence creates an enduring bond between women that propels them forward together.

Book Bubbles from Collaborative Confidence

Let Women’s Leadership Rise and Thrive

The prominence of women in leadership positions continues to grow. Let’s harness this momentum so the barriers of the broken-rung and glass ceiling are something of the past. To achieve this, we need organizations to boldly commit to creating work environments where women can truly thrive. Where their talents and contributions are fostered and highlighted. While women can band together to support, encourage and amplify each other, the horsepower of organizations is needed to accelerate the momentum of women’s leadership. The combined force of women banding together and bold organizational actions is an unstoppable force. This chapter explores ways organizations can intentionally build a culture where women leaders are given the opportunity to rise and thrive.

Harness the Power of Executive Presence

Executive presence are qualities that are developed over time that get you noticed as a capable, confident leader. If you want to move up the ladder, then being deliberate about building your executive presence is key. In thinking back to my early career days, I didn't have executive presence. That's because I was young and completely new to the corporate world. Back then I didn't even know the concept of executive presence existed. Over time, however, I learned what a powerful force it can be. I remember observing people I admired. I paid attention to how they communicated their thoughts, engaged with other people and used their physical presence. Emulating the behaviors of capable, talented leaders can get you started on developing your executive presence.

Authentic Self-Promotion

Like many women, I struggle with self-promotion. I'm more comfortable with it than I once was, and yet it remains an area of growth for me. It's in my stretch zone. I recently spoke to a group of women at a professional association meeting on this topic. They too, by and large, admitted they struggle with self-promotion. What really stood out to me is that it was a group of women who have to self-promote in order to make a living and get ahead. They were financial planners, attorneys, real estate agents and the like. Business development and self-promotion are essential to their success. This experience drove home to me the universal struggle women experience. As women we need to learn to become comfortable with self-promotion. And as the research points out, to find a comfortable balance while perched upon the tightrope between self-assuredness and humility.

Quieting Your Inner Critic

There's nothing more annoying than that inner-voice of criticism. It can stop you from all sorts of things by telling you you're not good enough, experienced enough or worthy enough. It can convince you, in both obvious and sly ways, that you shouldn't do something. It can also repeatedly berate you for having made a mistake or having said something the wrong way. I know my inner-critic has told me all of that and more plenty of times. For women leaders, inner critics can be particularly perilous because of the tight-rope we have to balance on. Women leaders are supposed to be warm and approachable, yet authoritative and driven. Such a tightrope is fertile ground for inner critics to thrive.

Amplify Yourself and Other Women

Women who make their presence and contributions known position themselves as strong, capable leaders. When women do this, it raises their visibility and sets them apart from the crowd. When women amplify the voices and contributions of other women, they truly epitomize the essence of Collaborative Confidence, which means: “I’m responsible for my own confidence and I’m responsible for helping other women with theirs.” However, getting one’s voice, impact and contributions noticed can be challenging for women for a variety of reasons. The challenges range from struggling to feel comfortable with engaging in self-promotion to being routinely interrupted in meetings. Regardless, the antidote is what lies at the heart and center of Collaborative Confidence. It’s the enduring reciprocal nature that draws women together to authentically amplify each other. When women amplify each other they create an enduring bond that propels them forward together. No longer does a woman have to shoulder the weight of striving to be noticed and recognized alone. Collaborative Confidence, and specifically the notion of amplification, gives women the platform and tools to mutually support and champion each other.

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