The new year is a time of reflection and assessment, when we look back on previous achievements, address barriers that thwarted some of our efforts and set goals and direction. No matter where you are in your career journey, here are 12 inspiring strategies and fresh perspectives from executives collected from Freddie Mac’s 2021 LinkedIn masterclass series to help put you on the path to success in 2022:


  • Insist on regular, balanced feedback. Ask your supervisor to share a few things at which you excel and a few things that could use improvement. Write it down, thank them, and schedule a future meeting to address the feedback, rather than responding to it immediately.
  • Ensure your voice is heard. Having the confidence to speak up will allow you to transition from a subject matter expert to a leader who sets direction for the organization, develops a vision, and inspires a group of people to make that vision a reality.

Embrace Vulnerability:

  • State your rules of engagement. Each of us can think of environments in which we feel confident and productive and ones that seem stifling and uncomfortable. Show up and read the room, while also honoring the boundaries that work for you. The most successful organizations will empower employees and give them that latitude.
  • Acknowledge when an environment isn’t working—and move on. There is a difference between putting yourself out there and faking it, and inauthenticity is exhausting. Talk to employees to gauge whether new initiatives are championed—or derided. A setting that discourages new thoughts and ideas will be neither productive nor fulfilling and may be stressful.

Strive Towards Promotion:

  • Identify a sponsor. Different from a mentor or an ally, a sponsor lends organizational influence to help you advance your career. Sponsors make purposeful introductions, include you and invite you to meetings, give you a platform to share your ideas, help secure assignments in which you will grow and gain skills, and advocate for you when you’re not in the room.
  • Promotion is not only about performance. Many organizations value colleagues who have relationships with lots of employees, which often plays a large role during evaluations and promotions. Make sure to build and nurture your network so that you’re known within your company.

Champion Intersectionality and Diversity:

  • Advocate for understanding. Educate others on your background, uniqueness, and challenges, while also taking responsibility to learn about your colleagues’ traditions and culture; it’s a two-way street.
  • Encourage dialogue within employee groups, between employees and leaders and within leadership teams, which leads to broader, more vibrant discourse.

Harness The Power of the Only:

  • View being “The Only” as an opportunity, not a burden. If you have a seat at the table, you have the power to make a difference, so open that window for understanding and enlightenment. Don’t waste your gift.
  • Speak up when it’s going to move the needle or make an impact. Otherwise, you may consider saving your capital for another time; just make sure internal barriers are not what are holding you back.

Tackle Imposter Syndrome:

  • Learn to recognize imposter syndrome so you can overcome it. Symptoms include overpreparing, procrastination, perfectionism, doing it all alone, using charm or humor to deflect, fear of failure, and fear or disdain of success.
  • Own your “dot.” Think about the cumulative sum of your skills, talents, and knowledge as a dot. Most people believe that what others think you know is a bigger dot, while the biggest dot is reserved for what you think everyone else knows. However, remember that your dot is no smaller or less valuable than anybody else’s, it’s just filled with different expertise, perspectives, and skills. You’ve worked hard and earned it; be proud of your dot.

#LeadingTheWay Masterclass: The Power Of The Only – Breaking Barriers, Redefining Leadership

Learn more about the current challenges that women leaders face and how Freddie Mac is #LeadingTheWay with strategies and best practices to help them fuel career growth, advancement, and fulfillment.