In 2016 I was celebrating 5 years at the Chamber as the President of the organization, I was making great strides in professional success, but I had turn over in my small staff…yet again, and the community was seeking even more guidance and leadership from the organization that I had worked so hard to build up over those five years. The organization was more and more demanding of my time than ever before but I loved it…every moment and every meeting that we were sitting at the table, I was all in. Seven days after my five year anniversary I had a doctor’s appointment that shook my entire world, the doctor told me that I may have ovarian cancer and we were going to have to operate very soon as one of the tumors was already 13 cm in diameter. What was supposed to be an hour long doctor’s appointment on my lunch hour became a four hour appointment full of lab work, ultrasounds, scheduling of surgery and sheer panic. I am happy to report that I am cancer free and 9 tumors free, thankfully.
This is where my leadership was truly tested as I had to rely on my staff to all step up and be the leaders that I knew them to be and then some. The remainder of 2016 I realized that I was not invincible and that I did not need to do it all myself that I had an amazing staff who was filling in and stepping up where they needed to be, I found myself a bit lost in my own leadership style.
In 2017 at the Committee of 100 meeting, I was very lucky to meet and hear from Alison Levine. Her wonderful presentation was exactly what I needed to hear at a time to bring back that lost passion, dedication and excitement for leadership that had slipped away at the end of 2016 for me.
She states that leadership is everyone’s responsibility – it is not solely the responsibility of the C-level executives or the management team within an organization. Everyone in an organization is responsible for helping to move forward with the mission, but in addition, every single employee/teammate/person must realize it is also their responsibility to look out for the people on either side of them and help them move in the right direction as well.
As leaders we do get lost, we change directions and we need a reminder of why we do the things we do. I needed to be reminded of the fact that I was a good leader that my team was strong because of the work that I have put into the organization and they were a reflection of my leadership style. After reflecting on Alison Levine’s presentation I not only felt inspired, empowered and more dedicated, I felt a sense of pride for my team. It was this reminder that encourages me to keep pushing my staff to find their true passion and working with them daily on leadership and life skills.