We’ve all been there. That moment when you realize something about your career is just…off. Maybe you’re still trying to find your place. Or perhaps you’ve grown restless in the role that was once your dream. The uncertainty about where to turn next can be paralyzing.
Do you need a career counselor? A life coach? A wine-fueled book club? The Women’s Leadership Challenge, a program developed by entrepreneur and women’s leadership expert Samantha Karlin, borrows the best elements of each.
Karlin’s eight-person WLC cohorts are “so much more than feminism, or leadership, or female leadership,” wrote participant Naomi Poget. “You get tools for yourself, tools as a leader, and the support of a group of women who are willing to explore, to be vulnerable, and to do something for the community—[it] is invaluable.”
The WLC by Empower Global emboldens women to abandon their fears, step into their power, and free themselves of the need to be perfect.
“If we could get rid of one word in the English language to liberate women, it’s the word ‘perfect,’’’ exclaimed Karlin, CEO of Empower Global. In the background of the call, the sounds of her last-minute preparations for that evening’s WLC Passover Seder punctuated her point.
“We spend our lives feeling insignificant because we haven’t reached this perceived perfection that nobody actually is.”
That’s why Karlin didn’t waste decades waiting for the “perfect” moment to grow her business. After a successful start running the program in Washington, DC and virtually across the globe, WLC plans to expand to in-person cohorts in New York and other major cities. After all, if she doesn’t have the courage to step outside of her comfort zone, how could she expect the women in her cohorts to do the same?
Karlin has the prestigious accolades one would expect from someone in her position—master’s specialization in gender analysis and conflict resolution, certificate from the NeuroLeadership Institute, prolific and sought after public speaker—yet, she’s a vocal advocate that success doesn’t come without failure.
One of Karlin’s modules, Failing Fabulously, encourages women to worry less about failure and to recognize and celebrate success. Karlin implores women to internalize that “Failure is subjective. Failure does not mean that YOU are a failure,” wrote participant Lakysha Laing.
This mentality is why Karlin’s cohorts are so effective. She inspires women to chase their passions, failure be damned.
In the two years since Karlin launched WLC, the cohort’s positive impact is already making waves around the world:
- Hallie Stern relaunched her business with a new focus on combatting misinformation and disinformation, Mad Mirror Media. She recently hosted RightsCon in Costa Rica and was selected to speak at the Nobel Peace Prize Summit about disinformation.
- Nicole Rowsell trained and organized the Belarusian opposition alongside Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya‘s chief of staff. She also just published her first independent op-ed about the tumbling of Tunisia’s democracy.
- Kylelane Purcell conceptualized, co-wrote, and attained a publisher for her book, Sustainable Investing: An ESG Starter Kit. Her cohort encouraged her to go for it and provided draft feedback. The book comes out this month!
For these women and dozens more, the difference between having a dream and achieving a goal was the decision to invest in themselves through the WLC. “It is so much easier to pursue a goal when you have a smart, encouraging, and thought-provoking team along for the ride,” wrote Purcell.
Unsurprisingly, the WLC cohort is not a good fit for those driven solely by the bottom line. “It’s not for the self-focused types who say, ‘I’m going to make as much money as I can and go live on a private island and screw everyone else,’” said Karlin. “My class is different, because yes, everyone wants to make more money—and I help them to get significant raises, revenue increases, nonprofit funding—but everybody is also passionate about social change.”
Karlin comes by her altruism and tenacity honestly. She spent her formative years watching her parents fight for the survival of her sister, Lindsay. They demanded cures for Canavan Disease, a rare and fatal disorder for which there had been no research. While her parents pleaded their case at research institutions, Karlin sold raffle tickets and raised money at fundraisers.
Their efforts were not in vain.
In 1996, Karlin’s sister became the first person in the world to receive gene therapy for a genetic brain disease. The Karlin Family’s persistence helped to extend and save the lives of countless patients who have been treated with gene therapy in the years since.
There is a straight line connecting Karlin’s childhood to Empower Global and the WLC. Growing up with cause-driven parents transformed her into a motivational force of nature. “I see so many women with all sorts of excuses for why they can’t do X or Y,” lamented Karlin. But she has seen the power of persistence, and it gave her the confidence to start Empower Global.
“My courageous parents showed me that even when people tell you something is impossible, they are wrong,” said Karlin. “Nothing is impossible.”
Want to secure one of 8 spots for the WLC? Discovery calls are open for the 2024 cohorts. Book discovery call now.