My great great aunt, Eleanor Burke was a suffragette in NYC and with her friends she chained herself to the courthouse gate, was arrested, went on a hunger strike and force fed through pipes - all in attempt to earn the right to vote. 100 years later, I am proud as part of her legacy to be the president of a woman owned and operated business. I am surrounded by a smart, compassionate and purpose driven staff of all genders, but mainly women.
My aunt and the other suffragettes came together with a purpose bigger than themselves - to impact not only their lives but the lives of our nation and their daughters and granddaughters for generations. They were risk takers. Anyone who steps into their leadership to make positive change in the world is taking small leaps of bravery with every hand that is raised and every idea that is pushed forth.
I am lucky enough to have worked here for twenty years. When I reflect on my time so far, the ability to embrace change and take risks is how I worked from part-time trainer to President. Risking failing at something I didn’t know how to do, risking looking unqualified, risking hurting someone’s feelings, stepping up even when I wanted to hide in the back row, risking having to change and grow. Now that I am older, the biggest acts of bravery I embark on is the act of giving over that power and giving women (and men) more responsibility, more voice, more unfettered paths to stepping into their own leadership.
In the beginning of my journey my success was measured by how much responsibility I could take on. Now it is measured by how much I can give away. How can I ensure others can risk failure and learn from it, others can take the glory, others can decide a direction the company should take, others can have their votes and voices count?
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