Reaching for your potential. Running into barriers. Defining success your own way. Learning to fail and recover. Sound familiar? Yeah, me too! It can be an endless cycle of two steps forward, one step back. Even when you are feeling pretty good about how things are going, you may still have a gnawing sense that you’re just not where you want to be.
Earlier this year (just before the COVID-19 havoc began), I made the decision to “Leap!” into a new phase of my career. I left an organization that I loved working for, an executive level position, a great reputation with both colleagues and clients based on 26 years of devotion to our work, and the stability of salary and benefits. What – was I crazy?! Great question!
I did it because ultimately, I felt I had hit a plateau or ceiling and was being called to do something different while I still could – to focus on creating more equity, inclusion, and diversity at senior leadership levels in all kinds of organizations globally. So I formed Leap & Inspire Global, LLC and am working with a wonderful variety of people and organizations on ways to advance more women; black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC); and people in the LGBTQIA community.
Representation is critical! If young people see more people who look like them at senior levels of organizations, they are more likely to want to work for that organization or buy their products and services. There are an increasing number of cautionary tales about developing products or marketing for a specific audience without truly understanding that market and its needs. When companies include a diversity of experiences and voices in strategic decision-making, the decisions are more likely to meet the needs of the target audience.
We must work the challenge of representative leadership from multiple angles. I’m excited about working with individuals who are on their journey to their potential and can use a little help – can’t we all?! I’m also excited about working with organizations to help them identify what they are doing (or not doing) – either intentionally or not – that creates barriers for people who aren’t white, cisgender, straight, able-bodied males. And don’t get me wrong – I like people in that category! We need them as partners in this work. But the systems and policies that have pushed them ahead for centuries have been holding other people back – it is time to dismantle and redefine those.
Like most of you, I am a work in progress. I am a woman executive who discovered in her late 40s that I had both suffered from and committed acts of unconscious bias. I learned that I have benefitted from white privilege throughout my life. I’ve learned the importance of using my voice and influence in support of others. And I’m excited to connect with you and learn from each other!
Let’s get to work together!