Gravitas and Global Business Leadership

Updated: Jul 28

On this episode of the Brilliance Beyond Borders podcast, I speak with Julia McNamara. For the first 20 years of her career, Julia advised tech companies on growth strategies, either through developing new products or entering a new geographic market. About 10 years ago, she obtained a second master's degree in Counseling, and worked in the leadership labs at Columbia University for eight years.


In 2013, Julia founded the Global Executive Network, a virtual accelerator for tech companies to help primarily immigrant entrepreneurs scale their companies along the way. Julia's network has enabled them to find partners, funding, scale, and excel in multicultural leadership. She has launched products and built teams in 70 countries, and also was part of the senior team on a billion dollar exit in 2008.


I met Julia while she was involved in the Ellevate Network, a leading global network of professional women. She led an executive presence workshop almost a decade ago, which was part of one of the biggest shifts in my career.


Based on her successes in helping businesses grow and scale internationally, Julia shared four keys to being a global leader in 2021.


1. Develop your gravitas.

  • Gravitas is key. The goal is to communicate that you are knowledgeable and are an expert. Historically, people correlated executive presence with a tall, imposing man who owns the room, in part because men tend to be more physically dominant. But gravitas boils down to effective communication and influence -- who can capture people's attention, hold it, and persuade them.

2. Be adaptable.

  • Adaptability is not just about being flexible, but is also about being able to learn at a quick pace and ingest a lot of information. Rather than being afraid of change, learn to be able to also see change coming and embrace it.

3. Know your product/market fit.

  • The best entrepreneurs and business leaders are problem solvers. Your product shouldn’t chase customers; it should be the other way around. You must have clarity on the market and how your product or service addresses pain points in the market. Ask yourself: “what problem can I solve?” The best business ideas are rooted in addressing frustrations in the market.

4. Don’t give up.

  • Successful entrepreneurs and business leaders need tenacity. If it doesn't work out, don't give up. Take a step back, reassess, and figure out a different way to approach it.


Get ALL the gems on executive presence and leading across borders by listening to the Brilliance Beyond Borders Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or my website!



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