Wendy Ulrich is a psychologist, educator, and writer. She holds a PhD in education and psychology from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles. A former guest on the podcast, Wendy is the founder of Sixteen Stones Center for Growth, has been a practicing psychologist for over 25 years, a former president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists, and a visiting professor at Brigham Young University. She and her husband Dave Ulrich presided over the Canada Montreal Mission and also co-authored the Wall Street Journal #1 business bestseller, The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations that Win. Her most recent book is Live up to Our Privileges: Women, Power, and Priesthood. Wendy and Dave have three children and eight grandchildren.


00:48 – Wendy’s background – psychologist
01:21 – Her new book discusses “What does it really mean for women to have priesthood power”? How do we get it in our lives and use it effectively?
03:49 – How can leaders better understand the experience of women in the Church? What can Wendy share about the female experience of feeling dismissed at church?
04:47 – The work of women is often invisible and misunderstood.
05:05 – Women and men have different styles of communication. Women may find being talked over (a male communication pattern) to be dismissive.
06:21 – Women can feel dismissed by the structure of the Church or even the text of the scriptures
07:02 – The book is structured after the organization of priesthood offices. Why?
07:44 – The work of women is also captured in the work of priesthood offices.
08:39 – In many cases women do more of the work of priesthood offices during the natural course of their lives than men.
09:12 – Christ was not a priest. He did not hold the priesthood of his day.
09:50 – Women who may not see themselves as holding priesthood may find something to learn from the Savior’s example and authority.
10:39 – Women can say I am doing what I’m doing because of the authority I’ve been given in my calling, my temple endowment, my home, my assignments … I have been given authority.
11:17 – We sometimes project secular perspectives on women and the priesthood and fairness. What can we understand about this topic?
12:49 – We are not going to be the same or have the same opportunities.
13:33 – Wendy believes Church doctrine emphasizes the reason we are here on this earth is to become empowered with the power that God has. We believe the most important thing God is trying to do is to create eternal relationships.
14:45 – What women do and goes unseen may be just as important as what men do in the eternal scheme of things. Even in secular society family is essential, and women are the key “resource” for keeping society functioning
17:17 – The Lord’s priority is raising the next generation of gods.
17:20 – We think God is someone who gives power away. We believe he wants to empower us to be joint heirs—to give us all He has.
18:59 – At times it does seem like some roles are inflated. Kurt shares his experience while all three of his brothers were serving as bishops and the difference in attention his sister received, who was serving as a Primary President at the time. As we consider this, women will have less of that experience of being dismissed.
20:40 – Chapter 8: Governing with Power and Compassion. How to rise to power in organizations.
22:00 – Kachner’s research shows how people get into power, but once they get into power people actually lose the skills that got them there. They become more self-serving, less empathic. They are less likely to listen to others, less able to read other’s emotional states.
23:40 – Research shows teams with women are more effective because women naturally have skills that leaders need, but they lose those skills once in power just as men do.
24:15 – This relates to D&C 121, when we get a little power or authority, we begin to lose some of those skills like gentleness and kindness, love and empathy. Women are often the spokespersons for those who are lacking in power because they have the experience.
25:29 – What happens when a person is in an artificial position of power? A study.
26:23 – Research shows we begin to feel entitled when we are in a position of power.
27:09 – The confidence and power of councils increases when we have

  1. Skills to participate effectively in councils
  2. Confidence in the value of diversity in councils
  3. Confidence in the contributions to councils
  4. Confidence in the Lord’s willingness to provide inspiration to councils

27:50 – What are some skills women can develop to better participate in councils?
28:44 – What happens when women are a minority in councils?
31:47 – Stimulating participation in council meetings.
34:22 – Diversity on councils. A research study showed that teams that include a stranger in a group of friends (adding “diversity”). A group of all friends felt good about their responses. The group of friends with a stranger didn’t feel as good about the experience as the other, but they got the correct answer far more frequently than the group without a diverse opinion.
36:49 – Diversity, listening to voices that were not our own, is not easy but brings better solutions.
38:05 – What can a bishopric or council do to diversify?
40:34 – What can I do to solve this without just going to my friends?
41:10 – Diversity helps us build Zion. Poor means having no excess. In Zion, everyone has something of value to share and contribute; therefore, no one is poor.
43:44 – Confidence in our contribution to councils. Leaders can insist on unanimity rather than majority rule. This requires women’s voices be heard — they are no longer invisible.
47:00 – Unanimity does not mean that someone gives up, folds, or disengages.
50:47 – Negative feedback and women. What should we consider about giving or receiving negative feedback to women?
52:22 – Wendy and the wire over the window — boys’ responses contrasted with girls’.
54:28 – Kay and Shipman believe that one of the most devastating things women do is to be more busy practicing perfection instead of practicing resilience.
55:06 – Hormonal differences may affect male/female reactions.
55:56 – Bill Russell and pre-game anxiety anecdote. Women can fear anxiety. Anxiety can be used to improve performance.
58:19 – How can a leader encourage women to risk speaking out in a council setting?
59:44 – What are the traits of kids who are most likely to keep going when things get difficult? She found they could be grouped in two: one group that leaned in and another that leaned back. Those who leaned in didn’t think they were failing when they made mistakes — they felt they were learning.
63:30 – Confidence in the Lord’s willingness to inspire councils. We can focus on what the research shows us about effective councils, but don’t neglect the influence of the Holy Ghost.
65:38 – Where can people buy Wendy’s book?
66:05 – How has the research on this book helped Wendy become a better disciple of Jesus Christ?


Live up to Our Privileges: Women, Power, and Priesthood
The Why of Your Calling | An Interview with Wendy Ulrich
Sixteen Stones Center for Growth

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