I’m tired of the gender conversation.

That’s the God-honest truth – tired. Two steps forward, three back. Two steps forward, one  back.
It’s time for a new conversation.

gender [ jen-der ] noun |  … division of a species …

Don’t get me wrong. By no means does this statement reflect my feelings on equality, equity, inclusion, diversity or belonging. Nor does reflect my deep sense of gratitude to those who have walked before me and fought a tough fight for the rights and privileges I enjoy in Canada today as an Indigenous woman. My life is a gift.

I’m more motivated than ever; but, my tactics are changing. I think we can agree that the challenges and issues facing our country and our planet require solutions that extend far beyond gender. Solutions required now.

Can we also agree that in order to survive and continue to grow and flourish as a species, we need to come together as ONE united force, bringing the very best of who we are?

By definition, gender means a division of a species. That does sound or feel like a united force to me.

Here’s where I’d like to introduce a shift in focus, perspective, conversation. Let’s call it: THE STARFISH EFFECT.

starfish photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

What if each one of us got clear – really clear – on our top strengths and brightest talents? What if we were willing to do the work necessary to identify these strengths, refine them and allow them to shine as bright as possible, maximizing our full potential as leaders?

Think of it like a starfish, strengthening each of its five legs.

Now, imagine one starfish connecting, clicking, and interlocking with another, and then another, and another…. still another… to form an incredibly strong fabric or shield. An individual starfish on its own is quite incredible, but a collective, well that is unstoppable.

I love the blockade scene from Guardians Of The Galaxy. Such a great visual of of our collective power and strength when we ‘lock-in’.

This is me and my desire to up-level our conversation – and action – for an elevated level in how we live, love and lead – for a much-needed new result.

Why? Because, quite frankly, we don’t have time for anything less.

We can do better!

I remember in my early-30’s working my way through Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath on the recommendation of a mentor. Hungry to confirm my strengths and know where I should place my focus, here’s what I learned about me:

Belief:Your walk must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your Belief theme, it will only matter if it gives you a chance to live out your values.”

20 years later: The #1 question I ask, “For what purpose?”

Futuristic: “You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests – a better product, a better team, a better life, or a better world – it will always be inspirational to you. You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions.”

20 years later: Forward, faster, together.

Maximizer:Excellence, not average, is your measure. Strengths, whether yours or someone else’s, fascinate you (ie. potential). Don’t let your Maximizer talents be stifled by conventional wisdom which says you should find what is broken and fix it. Identify and invest in the parts of your organization or community that are working. Make sure that most of your resources are spend in the build-up and build-out of these pockets (or POWherhouses!) or excellence (ie. AMPLIFY!)

“Your Maximizer talents will be most energize and effective as you turn top talent potential into true and lasting greatness (ie. legacy, world-class impact).

20 years later: Full-circle. Enough said.

THE STARFISH EFFECT explores not only harnessing the collective potential one leader at a time but also the attraction and coordination of various pre-existing constellations of starfish, pockets of like-minded leaders throughout our nation and our planet who need to be called together to come together at this time.

Where do we begin? We just begin.

That’s what we’re doing now over at

Over the next few months, you will see deliberate, intentional steps forward. We invite you to join our September 2019 PowHERcircle Challenge launching after Labour Day, “THE STARFISH EFFECT” where we’ll explore your strengths and how to best bring them together to maximize our collective world-class impact.

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About Charlene SanJenko

Charlene SanJenko, Founder + CEO of PowHERhouse Impact Media Group, has worked intimately with thousands of women over the past 20+ years to understand what they need to fully integrate excellence and fulfillment in all areas of their lives.

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