Power in Partnership

Identity, Emotions, & Co-Creating Equity

Because this topic resonated so deeply at the Smith College Executive Education Community Keynote, we’re offering Session 3 of The Future of Equitable Work as a stand-alone workshop for leaders, leadership teams, managers, and team members.


Everyone in an organization holds power, no matter their position.

When we uncover our socialization about which identities are granted more or less power and understand power differentials and dynamics, leaders can hold power responsibly and co-create equity in every conversation.

In this 2-hour interactive session, Jennifer McClanahan makes power visible so we can hold it responsibly in our relationships and our decisions.

Watch a clip of Jennifer speaking about power and emotions:


Smith College Executive Education, Community Keynote Address, May 29, 2024.

Session Topics

    • Examining how different parts of our identity are associated with power, or not.
    • How understanding power is foundational to Human-Centered Practices and building relationships across difference.
    • How power shows up in our professional and personal lives.
    • What we’re socialized to believe about power–who holds it, who doesn’t, and how others grant us power.
    • How leaders dissociate from their own power, and the consequences on our teams.
    • What imposter syndrome has to do with holding your power responsibly.
    • How getting clear on our values helps us hold power responsibly.
    • What happens when emotions intersect with power?
    • Strategies for co-creating equity when you hold more power and when you hold less power in a relationship.
    • How to build resiliency and inner agility when navigating power dynamics.

    Session Highlights

      • 2-hour interactive and facilitated session designed for leaders and leadership teams.
      • Strategy and advisement session to tailor the content and pacing to your needs.
      • Optional 1:1 processing sessions for individual reflections, concerns, and questions.
      • Optional follow-up sessions or workshops to include managers and team members.
      • Guided workbook to prepare you for the session and give you topics and strategies for moving forward with new practices and tools.
      • Time and space to grapple with complex and changing leadership challenges related to power, power dynamics, and building relationships. 


    Ready to Start?

    Bring your leaders to Session 4 of The Future of Equitable Work on July 20 or November 12.

    Join leaders across industries and organizations as we grapple with the leadership challenges that arise when we work across power differences. With a supportive and compassionate group of fellow leaders who are all in it together, we’ll gain tools for building relationships and co-creating equity with your team.

    We customize an in-depth, supportive program on power and co-creating equity in relationships for your groups or teams navigating power dynamics: 

        • Managers caught between leaders and direct reports
        • New and experienced executives and leadership teams building relationships across multiple levels
        • Boards working with Executive Directors and C-Suites
        • Law firm partners and associates

    Contact us to talk about scheduling and pricing.

    Jennifer McClanahan

    MJ Mathis

    Leverage To Lead

    Jennifer McClanahan is the founder and CEO of Leverage to Lead, where she helps organizations operationalize values to create equitable, inclusive, and thriving cultures. She enables leaders and employees to build relationships using Human-Centered Practices and values-aligned approaches.

    A trusted advisor and partner to corporations, nonprofits, and schools, Jennifer helps leaders leverage strategies, systems, and trainings to create a future where our lives and our work are grounded in human connection and partnership. 

    Leverage To Lead

    With experience as an educator, instructional coach, leadership coach, and facilitator, MJ Mathis presents audiences with human-centered approaches that help build strong relationships and transform workplaces. 

    MJ creates learning experiences that are human-centered and nurturing containers for growth, connection, vulnerability, and creativity. These experiences are not simply about gaining knowledge but are designed so that the experience itself is transformative. She also supports individuals with one-on-one processing sessions, career strategy and advisement, and support for understanding white identity (for white-identifying folks).

    Read Our Articles on Power and Relationships

    On Making Public Political Statements

    This article originally appeared in our Future of Equitable Work newsletter. If you want to receive these articles early and directly in your inbox, subscribe here. What Can Leaders Say? Over the past five years, I have found myself taking urgent calls from leaders...

    Reframing Our Beliefs about Money

    We rarely talk about why and how we compensate employees. Organizations don’t explain their pay structure or how decisions about compensation get made. Nor do they tie compensation to their values or what employees need. This is, in part, an extension of our...

    Why Affinity Groups Need Cultural Competency

    If you’ve ever been part of an affinity group, you’ve seen how much diversity exists among people who share one identity marker. Opting into an affinity group can be a welcome relief, a place to be seen, where you don’t feel the need to explain yourself. But, like...

    Structures Built for Humanity 

    Welcome to the third post in our blog series, Reframing Structure. In these four articles, we make structures visible so we can see their oppressive and nurturing components, explore how we try to use structures to eliminate discomfort, and describe ways we’re trying...

    Tension is a Relationship Builder

    Lately, we’ve noticed moments of growth in our relationships with each other and our clients. But these moments aren’t always happy ones. Instead, we find our relationships deepening and becoming more authentic through moments of discomfort and tension.  These...

    In Relationship: Holding Up the Mirror

    This post is part of our In Relationship series, where we’re diving into what it means to truly be in relationship with others and why we make it our priority.   When we first start working with an organization, we often get asked to provide a set of outcomes....

    In Relationship: Signs that it’s Real

    This post is part of our In Relationship series, where we’re diving into what it means to truly be in relationship with others and why we make it our priority. The goal of creating diverse workplaces that are equitable and inclusive is not to make everyone happy all...

    Relationship Goals

    Whatever the goals of your organization, or yourself as an individual, one goal seems to have overshadowed the rest: productivity. When we reward and idolize productivity, the norm for work becomes busyness, stress, overwhelm, suffering, burnout, performing our value...

    Reframing Success

    In our Reframing Series, we examine commonplaces that, upon closer look, reveal a toxic belief or harmful behavior. Read more from our Reframing Series: Reframing Boundaries; Reframing Burnout, Reframing Nice, Reframing Uncertainty.   We Can’t Do It All   At...

    Making The Invisible Visible

    Our company motto isn’t just something we help clients with. Our own team at Leverage to Lead has experienced (and continues to experience) moments when something previously hidden, often in service of upholding white supremacy culture, is made visible to us for the...