In preparing for this “Women of Influence” issue, I took a moment to celebrate and reflect on my journey as a woman in leadership. I am incredibly proud of my current position, working with extraordinarily talented female leaders, continuously learning from the inspiring women around me and having the privilege of raising two strong, beautiful young women.
So, what has been my path to this point? It has been a fascinating journey, filled with valuable lessons. Reflecting on this journey evokes a mix of deep appreciation and intense emotion.
Growing up, my aspiration was to be a transformational leader who positively impacted others. I aimed to add value, connect, serve and earn a place at the table with other leaders and decision-makers. My mission was clear, but the road ahead presented unexpected challenges. I have regrets about certain decisions and moments when I didn’t stand up firmly for my beliefs. There were times when I felt compelled to blend in as “one of the guys,” overlooking issues and enduring with the hope that, one day, the landscape for women leaders would improve.
My leadership journey has been challenging, but I know my experiences are not unique. The collective experiences of women leaders have shaped the world in which my daughters are growing up, and for that, I am profoundly grateful.
Today, I encourage others to embrace the superpowers of authenticity, vulnerability and storytelling. I emphasize the importance of empathy and community, standing up for one’s beliefs and the significance of being a positive role model.
The woman I’ve nominated for SUCCESS® Women of Influence is my 91-year-old grammy, Sondra Thompson. Raised during the Great Depression, her family instilled in her unwavering values, a strong work ethic, deep faith, a commitment to community and the expectation to be a good role model. Time and again, she has demonstrated the importance of doing the right thing and difficult things, and that limiting beliefs and silence have no place in leadership. My grammy set the standards that her children taught their children, and that I am teaching mine. She has inspired us to aim for greatness and embrace the incredible power of being a woman.
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