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Show up, speak up and make your power moves

Have you ever felt dismissed, blown off, interrupted or disrespected? I’ve worked in male-dominated industries for most of my career. Being the only female leader in a room full of men was a very common occurrence for me.

There were times when I was faced with my own insecurities, along with the less desirable behaviors of others, such as passive-aggressive exchanges. These situations triggered my fight-or-flight response. Unfortunately, the flight response often was my go-to strategy, and it didn’t serve me well. I had to learn to adapt and stay in the moment when dealing with what felt like challenges or attacks.

I knew other women were experiencing these issues as well. As an executive coach, I wanted to find a way to help other women assert their value and be heard. From that standpoint, I came up with the concept of creating “power phrases” and having them ready. This strategy can work with superiors, employees, peers, vendors, partners – the list is endless.


  • Tells you “You are too emotional”
  • Cuts you off in a group meeting
  • Dismisses your professional opinion
  • Doesn’t understand the value of your point of view or expertise

What if you had your own phrases ready to use in those instances to help you reclaim your power?


  • “I’m not angry; I’m simply passionate.”
  • “Excuse me, I have something to add to this discussion, and I will add it when you are finished.”
  • “I want the best outcome for this discussion and have critical information to contribute.”
  • “I have lived and breathed this work for a long time. My point of view is important here.”
  • “This is not simply my opinion, but a representation of comments from our key stakeholders.”

Spend some time reflecting on past experiences that caused you to feel unprepared or go into “freeze mode.” Then, create your own power phrases to keep in your toolkit for when you need the perfect response.

Remember – show up, speak up and make power moves!

Written by Tina Meilleur

Tina Meilleur, CPA and MBA, is an executive coach for professional women and women business owners, the founder of Design Your Success and the creator of Power Talk for Women. She is also a chapter chair for the Women Presidents Organization. Reach her at (504) 330-7405 or at

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