June 15th, 2021

Part of advancing in your leadership journey is understanding the unique stories that shaped your leadership and being able to articulate them in a compelling way. 

Adapted from her Journey to a Board Seat guide, Athena member Meg Crofton (former President of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Operations and board director at Tupperware Brands, Cracker Barrel, and HCA Healthcare) shares tips to develop your unique value proposition and deliver it with confidence for your next opportunity—as you rise into executive ranks, seek funding for your venture, or take a seat in the boardroom.

As you position yourself for your next opportunity, you have to own and love the words of your story to be effective. Having coached many women through various Women on Boards workshops, I’ve observed that women are very comfortable explaining our current role and functional expertise, yet have difficulty describing our value and unique capabilities for our next opportunity with confidence. 

Most of these women leave me in awe of their experience after reading their resumes. Yet almost without exception, they cannot begin to describe their story, personal brand, or unique value proposition with confidence and power. (By the way, I include myself in this… when I first left my full-time role, I did not have the confidence or words to describe myself as I navigated my new world.) 

Below, I share tips to tease out the stories that define you as a leader. Build on these stories to understand the strengths and perspectives that you uniquely bring to your next role.

Understanding your unique value proposition 

Start by thinking, without constraint, about how you would describe yourself and your gifts. I love this set of questions from one of Athena Alliance’s executive coaches to get started: 

  • What is unique about the way I think?
  • What makes me distinctive as a leader?
  • What impact do others expect from me?
  • What impact do others receive from me?
  • What types of solutions do I consistently deliver? What is my legacy/what do I want my legacy to be? 

Articulating your unique value proposition

Think of your unique value proposition like an elevator pitch that should be delivered in 60 to 90 seconds. This should be practiced, however, it must be natural. 

Early in my own career, my father gave me wonderful advice that has served me well for decades: “When you have something important to say, practice it out loud so you don’t shock yourself when you say it to others.” 

That may feel silly, but I urge you to do it… preferably in front of a mirror. You will hear where you stumble, discover typos and grammatical errors, and see when your energy is not behind your words. 

Athena members on Concierge Service are invited to peer workshops where they can hone value propositions, board pitches, and more. 

These tips are adapted from Meg Crofton’s Journey to a Board Seat guide. Click here to read the ten steps Meg took to land a board seat (and succeed when she got there) to begin charting your own path to the boardroom.



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