top of page

Introverts Can Be Executives

You may not know this about me, but I am an introvert.

I am also a 2x VP, coach, business owner, and keynote speaker.

And being an introvert didn’t stop me from growing my career in corporate. In fact, I would even say that being an introvert made me a better leader.

But for some reason, people seem to think that introverts can't lead.

Anyone who isn’t a natural “people person” can’t make an impact or succeed in corporate.

I call BS because I know it’s not true.

Today, I want to show you amazing introverts that you can do anything you set your mind to and give you a few tips on how to thrive in corporate as an introvert.

(and to all of my extroverted friends, you rock, too)

What makes introverts different?

Being an introvert has nothing to do with leadership skills. It's about the type of environment we need to do our best work.

While some people thrive around a big group of people, have many friends, know everyone, and love being the center of attention…

We often prefer to have one-on-one conversations, keep a few close friends, and avoid the spotlight unless it serves a special purpose.

It all boils down to what makes us tick. What gives us energy, and what drains us?

And when you know what you need to shine, you can set up the right environment and absolutely win the corporate game (or life) as an introvert.

There is more than one way to lead.

If I could go from blacking out during a client pitch (true story) to speaking on stage… anything is possible.

You just need to find what works for you.

How to Thrive as an Introverted Executive

The work you are expected to do as an executive doesn’t change just because you are an introvert.

What changes is HOW you do it.

When I started leveling up in my career, I did not feel confident raising my hand in big all-hands meetings. I got anxious just thinking about events and conferences, and public speaking felt impossible.

But I needed to engage in these activities to build my reputation and show up as an executive.

So, over time, I’ve developed processes that allowed me to get the same results but do it in a way that felt good to me.

Feel free to steal them if you are struggling with any of these:

Speaking at Big ‘all hands’

I don’t think this is specific to introverts; I feel like many people are stressed when speaking in front of an audience. We’re scared of making mistakes, stressed that people are watching our every move, and worried we might be ridiculed for our ideas.

I can’t change that feeling for you, but you can better prepare to minimize the impact.

First, choose what you present. Focus on topics you know inside out and feel comfortable talking about.

If you are asked to do something you are not confident about, ask for more time.

Then, practice your ass off until you feel good about your delivery. You can practice in front of a small group (like your team) before going live in front of the whole company.

Attending Big Events

To make the most out of big events, I brought along a more outgoing partner who was happy to engage strangers. They were happy to take center stage, and I got a wingman.

I also planned breaks throughout the day. There is nothing more draining for an introvert than spending the whole day around 10,000 people. The side bonus was discovering some of the best bakeries in every location because I made these breaks coffee and cake breaks.

Advocating for yourself

Introverts often value privacy and may be more reserved about sharing personal accomplishments. However, advocacy is crucial in leveling up and becoming an executive.

Over the years, I developed a process called invisible PR. It’s a way to advocate for yourself without touting your own horn. All it takes is getting some of your top stakeholders to sing your praises. I share how to do it here.

Owning the room (a.k.a charisma)

Owning the room is one way to influence and get support.

I learned how to divide and conquer when it didn't work for me. I met each of my stakeholders separately and lobbied for my ideas. I often got support without presenting in front of the entire executive team.

People Leadership

We have been told that the best leaders are assertive, confident, and dominant. We see this in movies and on TV, but there is more than one way to lead. In fact, the best way to lead, in my opinion, is to be yourself.

Great leadership is about empowering, motivating, and mobilizing people. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you can do it.

To quote my friend Jean Kang, who is also an introvert:

✅ I led with empathy

✅ I spoke with compassion

✅ I listened without interjecting

And guess what? She was a great leader.

Your Next Steps

Introverts can do anything. Including being a kick-ass executive.

You can be yourself and still win the corporate game, level up, and have

a fulfilling and exciting career.

Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

I believe in you, and I’m rooting for you.

Maya ❤️


Level Up Your Career With One Email Per Week

Get practical and actionable career advice every Saturday so you can level up, earn more and grow 3x faster!

Stuck at the Director level for 2+ years?
Tired of being told "you are not ready"?

Learn how to break through to executive roles without the complexity and overwhelm, or working 60/h weeks 💪

Check out my proven 13-week coaching program Success Builders to turn your career goals into reality.

bottom of page