Kelly Lockwood Primus, SVP, Strategic Client Solutions at Leading Women, was the keynote speaker at the annual PASS Women in Technology Luncheon that took place at the recent PASS Summit. Her talk was titled Leadership, The Missing 33%TM and Career Success for Women and presented research identifying nine critical differentiators for moving from middle management into senior and executive positions.

This was the 14th annual Women in Technology Luncheon and was sponsored by SentryOne and produced by the PASS Women In Technology Virtual Chapter. Taking place in the grand ballroom at the annual PASS Summit the room was filled to near capacity by not just women, but by any technologist interested in learning more about what women face in the technology career paths.

Defining Leadership

In her talk, Ms. Lockwood Primus pivoted on three points towards what defines Leadership in any profession for all individuals:

  1. Use the Greatness in You
  2. Achieve and Sustain Extraordinary Outcomes
  3. Engage the Greatness in Others

As she defines Leadership

"Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging in the greatness of others."

Use the Greatness in You

The greatness in you is comprised of your personal characteristics and traits. Are you curious? How ethical are you? Are you daring, passionate, candid? All these factors build the foundation for who you are. Your greatness is also defined by the strengths of your skills, your values, your world view, how you live your life and your personal mission (or purpose) in life.

Achieve and Sustain Extraordinary Outcomes

When it comes to achieving and sustaining extraordinary outcomes in your career it's all about acumen: business acumen, financial acumen, and strategic acumen.

Do you understand the entire business and how it creates value for its owners or shareholders? Do you understand the global dynamics facing the business? Do you understand the financial state of affairs for your company and can you communicate that understanding effectively? Can you decipher and comprehend the interplay between external forces and trends affecting the company and how well positioned the company is to face those trends?

Granted some of these points are aimed more at the business side of technology but at the same time you can translate these "business-centric" concepts to technological aspects: how well is the company or your department positioned to compete, innovate, and disrupt?

Engage in the Greatness in Others

Those same key points in what builds your greatness also builds the greatness in others. What is your capacity to engage with others to identify and impact in positive fashion their greatness? The key factors in successfully meeting this pillar of leadership comes down to:

  • Communication
  • Ability and Willingness to Listen to Others
  • Embracing Diversity
  • Developing Strengths and Success in Others
  • Advocating for Others
  • Generating Enthusiasm
  • Empathy
  • Inspiring Confidence

What Takes Women to the Middle Won't Take Them to the Top

The crux of Ms. Lockwood Primus' keynote was that the skills and characteristics that take women to the middle management tier are not what it takes to get women into the top leadership positions in their organizations.  She defined three stages to your career: 

  • Career Start
  • Middle Management
  • Senior/Executive

It's of her opinion through research that there are critical traits, experiences, and skills that take you through the first 66% of this career path but there are traits that need to be developed and experiences gained that will take you the remaining 33% of the way.

In addition to all those traits that build the Greatness in You there comes with it a need for experience: executive presence and holding strategic positions within the organization. Regarding achieving extraordinary outcomes one must master what Ms. Lockwood Primus called "The Language of PowerTM", proven business acumen and a track record of strategic successes and actions based upon strong financial decisions.

Finally Ms. Lockwood Primus asserted that in order to move from middle to upper management positions you need to be able to embrace in the success and greatness of others by mentoring and building resonance in your decisions, founding strong external strategic relationships, and the ability of aligning teams to business strategies. Strong executive, board, and media skills are also a catalyst for advancement.


The keynote concluded with Ms. Lockwood Primus stating that it's vital that women increase their readiness and that of other women. Embracing identities as leaders regardless of your position, knowing your career stage and getting what she refers to as "good enough" at level-appropriate advice giving, understanding the required shifts and ability to prepare for and execute them at various stages of your career will impact your success in advancement. Finally reach out - and down.

If she wins then we win.

More information on the PASS WIT Virtual Chapter can be found at