She Found Her Voice

Oct 25, 2022

Hey everyone,

We just launched our 4th Associate Council (AC) – and saw again that bringing leaders together – including emerging leaders – creates joy and positive action, *and* often helps people find their voice.

Before I share an example of what I mean, let me first explain what this new program is about.

Two years ago we launched the ACs for early-career women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ in product and UX (think individual contributor or first-time manager).

We now have *4* Councils running with more being formed (and nearly 100% retention and attendance at these zoom-based meetings).

With that said, now let me tell a quick story about Stephanie, an up-and-coming product manager, who recently shared with her Associate Council a challenge she was having.

She had just met with her internal peers and felt they were prioritizing the wrong things. She initially pushed back, but got shut down, so she backed off and felt deflated. 

Stephanie even started thinking about leaving the company.

She didn’t know what to do, but she had a council so she turned to them for help.

Her fellow AC members asked clarifying questions about the product management philosophy, organizational structure, team dynamics, empowered teams, etc. 

After hearing her out, they then advised Stephanie to go back and revisit the conversation – not from a place of defensiveness or anger, but from curiosity

Be curious. Ask questions about your fellow product managers thoughts and choices. Don’t accuse them of not including customers. Ask them simply to explain their thinking and why they are prioritizing what they are. Oftentimes, by leading with curiosity, you’ll find that folks will see the problems you see – or, you will understand how their prioritization makes sense (or, somewhere in between). Most importantly, your voice will be heard and you will be able to help move things forward.

This was a transformative experience for Stephanie.

She went into the AC meeting feeling paralyzed and believing her only options were to be louder, more assertive, or to leave. 

Instead, Stephanie found her voice.

Yay! That’s what I’m talking about.

We love running these Associate Councils. 

And feel some joy ourselves simply because we get to help more emerging leaders learn how to ask for help and grow their careers (not to mention help companies retain and promote these emerging leaders).



P.S. Charlee Riggio, our team member and a young Chicana herself, is the moderator for all of these ACs and is doing a tremendous job. Please join me in thanking Charlee.

Never Search Alone is our Gift to the Broader World

Changing subjects, I want to say a few words about what CG members, alums, and I are doing with my new book: we are building a volunteer-driven movement – a community “with a heart and a home for all those laid off or let go.”

This Never Search Alone community provides a number of free services to job seekers and is our collective gift to the broader world.

Most of us in the CG community are happy in our jobs and doing well (and the councils help us stay longer than we might otherwise do because of the help we get to be more successful – like Stephanie above).

But there are a growing number of people getting laid off – and that’s sadly likely to get worse.

So, those of us with jobs are building this Never Search Alone community to help all those without jobs.

And we are offering a suite of NO-cost services including: Job Search Council placementand training, a suite of tools and templates that are free to download, regular job seeker open houses, and a LinkedIn group.

Do you know someone who is looking for a job?

Send them to

Together let’s help the millions of job seekers who today (and tomorrow) will need our support to never search alone.

About the Author

Phyl Terry

Phyl Terry, Founder and CEO of Collaborative Gain, Inc., launched the company’s flagship leadership program – The Councils – in 2002 with a fellow group of Internet pioneers from Amazon, Google, and others. Thousands of leaders from the Internet world have come together in the last 15 years to learn the art of asking for help and to support each other to build better, more customer-centric products, services, and companies.

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