A Coffee Break of Inspirational Leadership: International Women’s Day

Friday was International Women’s Day….and it gave many friends and I time to pause over the weekend and reflect on our experiences as women and with women. Yes, go ahead and poke a little fun at that phrase, as there is no way to really experience anything in a role other than that as a female, but you get where I’m going.

A few of us gathered for a run on Sunday morning, mostly women but a few men sprinkled through our group that hung together for an hour. As we wound our way through the Los Gatos Creek Trail, we paused to commend the women in our lives who made a distinct difference. And we tried to look beyond the women in our immediate family to see if we could discern between familial care and mentoring and that of women whose impact may reach further.

What we discovered is that we are often those women. While we may not see it, we are the ones who inspire, encourage, and make a difference in the lives of others. I think part of being female, especially when we have the added responsibilities of the “mom” role, is that we do so much and are constantly juggling. We may not take that time to slow down and appreciate our own accomplishments and contributions.

Posted this on LinkedIn about three years ago…the message is still the same.

Think about the strength you bring on your journey, either personal or professional. I had to do this with one of my 13 year old twins last night. It was reflectively….painful. She had an assignment for school to interview a woman of influence. For four unsuccessful days, I tried to dissuade her from selecting me. She asked about three challenged I faced as a woman. Okay….answered.

Then came the zinger….what did you do to respond to each of those challenges?

Oh crud.

I changed them. And I was vulnerable.

I used a recent example of how mean women can be to one another and reflected upon a scenario my daughters heard about from other students….something quite slanderous that two women spread. Totally inappropriate rumor and painful. Very painful. My reflection? I explained how I “stand in my truth” and do the right thing, even when very difficult. I believe the truth sets us all free in these scenarios and I look forward to the truth coming out soon….and the hug my daughter gave me after our chat ended up as a dogpile from both of the twins.

Sometimes the pain is worth it….and women need to be strong, stand true, and look for the truth.

Here is a woman whose leadership made a difference in my life, one of my mentors, Alice Petrossian. For those who know here, the mentoring she provides has been evident for years and years. She is a confidant and a friend, and can be your strength when you don’t find it in yourself.

I don’t often have an ask…but this week, here is my ask.

  • On social media, share a lesson you have learned from a woman who has made a difference in your life, especially if it is a leader in public education.
  • Send a note (in the mail – really – try this) to someone who needs a little encouragement. Few use snail mail these days, but the act of getting a note in the mail (especially when positive and perhaps anonymous) lets others know they are making a difference.
  • Text a woman who has made an impact on you – tell her what it was and thank her.

* Read it.

Super quick read here about the six characteristics that make women unique, especially in leadership roles. It is worth a few minutes of your time to see how often you can nod your head in agreement. Really. Great points, starting with….well….you check it out. I’d hate to ruin the surprise!

Take a look and read it HERE.

* Watch It.

World renowned motivational speaker Jon Jorgenson created a video a few years back that has garnered more than 8 million views. It’s a quick 3 minutes, but the message can last much longer. Suggestion? Share it with a woman you care about…or one that needs a pick me up. Got a daughter? Share it with her.

Have a great week!