Inspiring Others to Have Confidence in Themselves

Thank you to Profiles in Diversity Journal for the honor of this award. This award not only highlights the many achievements and journeys of this year’s female leaders, but also their varied backgrounds and industries; it exemplifies the enormity of what it means to lead.

For me, leadership is an ever-evolving challenge moving between being thoughtful yet decisive, courageous yet vulnerable, strong yet forgiving, composed yet natural. Leading people is complex and nuanced, and influenced by many intangibles that represent the push and pull between these competing approaches. The people we lead are all different, and one’s leadership style must be just as diverse.

I have been inspired by family, peers, bosses, and leaders who have modeled every point along this leadership spectrum. One of those leaders once said, “You manage things, and you lead people.” This has stuck with me for some time, mostly because it’s so simple to remember and is such a profound declaration—leadership is just as much about others as it is about you.

As I reflect on my career journey, I’ve witnessed and learned: 1) Being genuine and transparent is more rewarding for people you engage with than a monetary “thank you” or a “swag” gift; 2) Leading with authenticity is motivating and rewarding because it fosters empathy and deeper appreciation in both directions, and, 3) A skilled leader feels when and how to ignite action, quiet a stressful situation, amplify the “feeling in the room,” and when to choose a colorful statement or a more diplomatic tactic. People are the central focus of leading, and one’s diversity and agility in how we connect to those people is where the magic truly resides.

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

What fulfills me most is the knowledge that I have the privilege of encouraging and inspiring others to have the confidence in themselves to be both thoughtful and decisive, both courageous and vulnerable, both strong and forgiving, both composed and natural.