By AMANDA GIBB
Local author and leadership expert Tammy Heermann recently published her debut book, Reframe Your Story.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Heermann moved to London, England, to complete her graduate studies at the London School of Economics. Eventually, she moved to Toronto and has been a Beach resident for 15 years.
“I’ve built my expertise in leadership development so that’s my day job, and I’ve worked both inside organizations and in a variety of sectors as well as big consulting firms. Now, I own my own company specializing in leadership development, particularly with and for women. I fell into a passion for working with aspiring female leaders,” said Heermann.
She said writing became part of her job when she worked at a global consulting firm and spearheaded the leadership development practice nationally, and the women in leadership practice globally.
“I started writing pieces for the corporate newsletter, for blogs, research reports, but now writing is a smaller piece of the work I do. I love spending my time working with organizations to advance women, and I do that through Keynotes, development workshops, and targeted high-potential programs for women looking to advance to a more executive level,” she said.
Heermann said that over a decade ago, the president of the company she worked for approached her with a project. He wanted her to help an organization, a successful company that organized networking luncheons and inspirational speakers, to develop workshops for women looking to advance their careers.
“I realized that the stories of the challenges, the barriers, and the biases really outweighed the positive stories I was hearing of people’s wins, advancements, and promotions, and so these stories were unequal and unweighted,” she said.
Heermann said that her good friend reminded her to share her message with the world and that it was important to do so.
“It’s important that I do because things aren’t changing fast enough for women, but future generations are counting on us so we can’t keep this representation or lack of representation of females in leadership. We can’t wait for this to naturally evolve because it won’t happen,” she said.
“My primary inspiration is my daughter and the book is dedicated to her, but I want to help create a world where she believes in possibility, that I want her to feel as though she can succeed at whatever she puts her mind to, that she trusts her voice has value, that she learns to fill her mind with positive thoughts…I want this for all the world’s daughters.”
Heermann said she mapped out chapter by chapter the feelings she wanted to evoke in the reader and that she has been told her book helps women feel understood.
“I talk about this magical warmth-strength combination that spurs personal change and a collective call to action. I want women to understand that it’s normal to have self-limiting thoughts but we’re also buying into the dominant narrative and it doesn’t have to be that way any longer,” she said.
Heermann said that writing the book was the hardest project she’s undertaken.
“What I underestimated was the personal journey I would go on, like reliving key leadership moments in my own career, rising to executive levels, the struggles I had, the triumphs. It was exhausting emotionally to write about on the topic of women’s leadership and the crappy stories we tell ourselves,” she said.
Each chapter of Reframe Your Story begins with three unhelpful stories the reader may tell themselves, followed by a brief interactive activity, and then guidance on how to reframe these stories to feel empowered, strong, and in control.
In the book, Heermann encourages her readers to engage with the content and mark it up whichever ways works for them.
She said that especially in North America, our value is tied to how busy we are and that it contributes to a situation where people take on more and more in a way that doesn’t serve them.
“My book is about doing less…the tactical things that we think that matter but in the grand scheme of things don’t so that we’re able to achieve more important priorities at work but also at home. The book is about doing less, achieving more, and doing more for yourself. That’s the punchline,” she said.
To learn more about Heermann and Reframing Your Story, please visit https://www.tammyheermann.com/reframeyourstorybook