Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Legendary Leaders Podcast

Jan 17, 2023

Brenda Wensil and Kathryn Heath are Executive Coaches who have spent decades coaching more than 800 women and working with Women Executives, Middle Managers, and Professionals across industries and age groups. They are the co-authors of ‘I Wish I'd Known This: 6 Career-Accelerating Secrets for Women Leaders’.

Brenda and Kathryn offer their thoughts on navigating self-doubt in the world of Business Leadership. They share common reasons women feel “held back” from maximizing their potential. They also talk about how to prioritize goals, build a powerful support network, and weed out distractions which lead you away from achieving what you truly desire in your career.

Driven by the belief that more Female Leaders equals a better world, Brenda and Kathryn explain, that many women are held back from unlocking their potential because of their own limiting beliefs. By simply changing the story you tell yourself, you completely transform the way you show up at work and in all your relationships, personal and professional.

Brenda and Kathryn also speak on the value of your reputation or personal brand, no matter your role in an organization. As a Leader, how you are seen by your teammates and clients is fundamental to your success. They encourage women to simply ask around to get feedback on their strengths and gaps as others see them, and to be ready and willing to adjust how they work and interact with others, if unsatisfied with the answers they hear.

Another key to maximizing your reputation is by combining your personal power, or who you are as a person, with your position power as a professional. Brenda and Kathryn ultimately remind us, that Leadership is a skill, and that deliberate goal-setting and consistent, disciplined practice are essential to growing that skill. 

This podcast is sponsored by InnerProfessional online training programs. With courses geared specifically for Legendary Leaders, InnerProfessional provides an extraordinary catalog of leadership and professional development programs unlike any online training you’ve experienced before.  

Key Takeaways: 

  • Success in any endeavour starts with “staking yourself out”: getting clear on what you want to accomplish and the type of person you want to become in the process.
  • It’s a mistake to go at it alone. Create a support system for yourself as early as possible so you can go further in your career than you ever could by yourself.
  • Leadership is a skill, which means yours can be developed with the right goal and strategy.
  • Great careers are built on strengths. When you know what you’re good at, you possess the keys to your professional success. 


Episode Timeline: 

  • [05:02] Introduction to Brenda Wensil & Kathryn Heath. 
  • [13:20] How the world can become a better place with more Women Leaders. 
  • [18:04] Finding your voice and staking yourself out.
  • [24:56] How your career path is strongly connected to your personal path.
  • [33:30] How Brenda and Kathryn have made an impact on Women Leaders.
  • [40:20] What do you want to be known for?
  • [50:39] Learning from reflection and feedback.
  • [58:47] Combining your position power with your personal power.
  • [1:08:57] Creating a vision and strategy for your career path.
  • [1:13:39] Building your reputation by letting the world know your personal brand.
  • [1:20:02] Operating on autopilot.
  • [1:25:10] How to not miss the point of preparation.
  • [1:31:55] What Women Leaders can contribute to the world beyond their organizations. 


Standout Quotes: 

  • “We really think the world would be a better place if there were more Women Leaders.” 
  • “Sometimes, women are so busy working that they don’t set a direction. They just kind of drift.” 
  • Leadership is a skill, and you can grow it.” 
  • “How do you leverage your platform—your position power—and combine that with who you are as a person—your personal power—and see yourself as an important colleague to your peer group?” 
  • “Women are great at strategic planning for their company, but they have to be the CEO of their career.” 



Find | Brenda Wensil   

Business Website:  

On LinkedIn: @BrendaWensil 

Bio: Brenda Wensil is Managing Director & Practice Leader of Bravanti’s Leadership Acceleration practice. She is an executive leader with a successful background in sales and marketing, advertising, brand management, customer strategy, service experience, and supply chain performance management on both domestic and international levels. She is known for her expertise in building collaborative partnerships and developing teams to improve leader performance and drive results.  
She is a board-certified coach working with leaders and managers in large and mid-size companies as well as non-profit organizations. 

Brenda has led engagements for the organization focused on women’s leadership and advancement, which include long programs, workshops, speaking engagements, and individual and group coaching. 

Her approach is practical, goal-focused, and action-oriented. Brenda established the first-ever customer-focused strategy for the federal government as Chief Customer Experience Officer at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid, the single largest provider of funding for post-secondary education in the U.S. She held leadership roles for 

20 years with Wachovia Corporation (now Wells Fargo) as Head of Customer Strategy, Marketing and Customer Relations, as well as Head of Retail Segments and Director of Enterprise Supplier Performance Management. Brenda was also a consultant to Barclays Bank in London, leading an international team to re-design and execute the company’s global technology supplier management functions.

Brenda is the co-author of I Wish I’d Known This: 6 Career-Accelerating Secrets for Women Leaders (Berrett-Koehler, 2022), which uncovers six blind spots that derail women’s career paths and provides strategies to effectively overcome them for an impactful, sustainable career. She is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum and has been a keynote speaker on topics ranging from women’s leadership to customer-focused strategies in the financial industry. Brenda received the Executive Leadership Award for public service from the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and the Service to the Citizens Award for Leadership in higher education. 

Brenda earned a Master’s degree in organizational development and executive coaching from the McColl School of Business at Queens University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina. She is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program, Kenan Flagler, at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She is accredited by the International Coach Federation and is certified in numerous assessments including Hogan, Workplace Big Five, Thomas-Kilman Index, and MBTI. 


Find | Kathryn Heath

Business website: 
On LinkedIn: @KathrynHeath 

Bio: Kathryn Heath, Ph.D., is a managing director of the Leadership Acceleration Practice at Bravanti. She was a founding partner of Flynn Heath Leadership, which was acquired by Bravanti (formerly BPI group) in 2020. 
Kathryn serves as a coach, a researcher, and a developer of leadership programs. One of the hallmarks of Kathryn’s work is addressing organizations’ specific business targets through customized programs that move leaders forward faster.  
Her various clients include executives and high-potential leaders at Fortune 500 companies including Deloitte, AIG,and Booz Allen Hamilton. Before she co-founded FHL, Kathryn was Senior Vice President and Chief Learning Officer at the nation’s fourth-largest bank, First Union (now Wells Fargo), where her inventive and results-focused approach won her numerous awards. During a period of explosive growth, Kathryn led not only the training organization, but she also worked to grow high-potential Leadership talent as the head of Leadership Development. 

Kathryn is the co-author of three books: I Wish I’d Known This: 6 Career-Accelerating Secrets for Women Leaders(Berrett-Koehler, 2022),The Influence Effect: A New Path to Power for Women Leaders(Berrett-Koehler, 2017), and Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking That Block Women’s Path to Power(Jossey-Bass, 2011), which landed on the best-seller lists of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Washington Post.  
Kathryn also co-authored two articles for the Harvard Business Review:“ Women, Find Your Voice!” (HBR-June 2014) and “To Build an Inclusive Culture, Start with Inclusive Meetings” (HBR-September 2019).Kathryn received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her M.Ed. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kathryn is based in Charlotte, NC. 



About Cathleen Merkel:  

As a Thought Leader in the Mindset & (Self-) Leadership space, Cathleen supports high achieving, but worn-out women create a more content & balanced life without sacrificing their hard-earned success.  
Following a simple 6 step framework, Cathleen helps you not only reconnect with your inner feminine side; she also supports you to rediscover your REAL YOU! 

Cathleen focuses on women who have lost their sense of purpose, who feel they are ‘running in a hamster wheel’, trying to please everyone but themselves. She helps you to turn your careers, your social connections and personal life around so that you will start feeling fulfilled and excited again about the days to come.  At the end of the process, Cathleen's clients will feel healthier, happier, energised and clear about their future.  

With over 15 years of Leadership experience in Retail, Media & Broadcasting, Engineering and Property Investment, Cathleen has not only experienced the challenges and opportunities of a Female Leader herself; she has also been leading and supporting various Leadership Development Initiatives within large, complex, multinational matrix organisations. 

Only by deeply experiencing her very personal life challenges – ‘hitting a wall experiences’ –Cathleen was able to redefine her own purpose, deciding to bring ease and content to as many women as possible on the planet! 

Find | Cathleen Merkel  


On Instagram: @CathleenMerkel 

On Facebook: @CathleenMerkelCoaching 

On LinkedIn: @CathleenMerkel 


Tune in here: