Category Archives: leadership

The good and the best about being an educator … there is no ugly here



Note: I am using voice to text for this post so if there is anything offensive or ridiculous here I blame my phone not my fingers.

The beauty of being an educator

I spend a lot of time bashing my profession recently have had caused to smile about my profession. Actually I always have cause to smile when I am engaged in with my students. I do what I do because I love giving back and helping my students find their passion and with their passion.   the other day one of my students, are young woman, told me that she is graduating in a couple weeks and is completely unsure of what she wants to do after college. She is getting an HR degree but when talking to her I pulled out of her that the things that she’s really passionate about and loves to learn about in practice have to do with beauty and makeup. No this is not one of my areas of expertise I know this is shocking, so I started reaching out to colleagues of mine in Chicago who may be able today introduced this young woman to people in the beauty industry. Lo and behold instantly the number of my colleagues in Chicago we’re willing and able to introduce this young woman to people in the beauty industry.I believe that this process will help to change this young woman’s career path from something that she would settle for to something that she could live for. That’s an impact. That’s why I’m here. That’s the beauty of what I do. It doesn’t usually happen in the classroom during class time. Sometimes it does, when those light bulbs pop on. But more often it happens outside the classroom, during deeper discussions about purpose, passion, and uncertainty.

Educator’s impact is outside the classroom

I have had these discussions with many students in the few years I have been teaching. I have students who have found their way, on my urgent, to Boston. They ventured out on their own because they wanted something new, something exciting, something challenging. They were willing to face uncertainty and to take full advantage of what it offers. I have other students who are working their dream jobs in the Chicago area. They did not find these jobs with a resume, a cover letter, or any other vehicle that would make them seemed like every other robot coming out of college. They found these jobs because they were willing to stand up, speak up, and take a chance that somebody would be willing to help them figure out where they wanted to go and how to get there. I was willing to help.

Educators should do more than educate

I get excited when I see students excited. I rarely see students as excited in the classroom we’re talking about class related material as when I am talking to them trying to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their does not take anything very special to make a dead in these young men and womens futures. it takes listening to them, asking difficult questions, supporting their fear, in their passion, and being there champion. Is that so hard? Even if it is I would argue it is the most meaningful experiences an educator can have.

The best part of being an educator, in my humble opinion, has nothing to do with education per se. it has to do with supporting our students in their search for meaning, for challenge, for security, for fun, and for the future that is fulfilling. That cannot be accomplished through traditional means of education and in a traditional formatted classroom.

My challenge to educators

I challenge all educators to change their view of what our role can be and should be in the students lives. And to think through how we can have an impact and be responsible champions for our students in their pursuit of a meaningful future.

what are you doing? What could you do better? How are you impacting your students in lasting waves? If you are not, shame on you. If you are, please share how you do that so the rest of us can learn and can be better at what we should do.

Mentors Can’t Get The Job Done

Champions Can Save the Day!

I was talking with Shawna Butler about how to bring more young women into our entrepreneurship program here at Illinois State University. As a little background, I have talked to roughly 300 female entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and small business owners since Christmas about this issue.  On almost every phone call with every one of those women, they have pointed out the importance of including a strong mentor program into our program.

Shawna shocked me, which is not easily done. She said “we don’t need mentoring, we need championing.” As she explained, a mentor, for the most part, will usually tell or help a mentee figure out how to do something. A task. A learning goal. There’s a whole lot of supportive and exploratory talking. It is a valuable relationship, no doubt about it. But Shawna had a great perspective I never thought about to be honest. Blew my mind!

Instead of introducing a mentor program, she suggested introducing a Champion Program. A champion will help someone he/she is working with in the task/goal arena just as a mentor. But wait, there’s more! A champion will also put his/her name and reputation on the line for another person. They will advocate for that person. They will champion that person’s future (in the case of college students).

Mentors Talk the Talk, Champions Walk the Walk

As a young college student, I had some idea where I was going. I had mentors helping me figure out my goals. They helped me learn certain tasks that are very valuable to this day. Only one of them stuck their neck out for me, and put their reputation on the line for me. She was my champion, and it made all the difference in the world. Shawna, you’re a genius! Thank you for opening my eyes.

PS – If you are a mentor, should you be a champion instead?

PPS – Do you need a champion?


Women: Prepare, Develop, Inspire, Propel

Take The Lead Challenge: The Time Is Now For Women Leadership Parity

What has been the most meaningful, transformative change you’ve made, not just experienced from outside forces, in your life?

Was it when you applied for a job? Asked for a substantial raise? Ran for office or started a business? Decided to have a child?

Was it when you began writing your book or just picked up the phone and called someone you knew would have an impact on you personally or professionally?

Whatever your story, how much did timing have to do with it?

At Take The Lead, we are launching the Take The Lead Challenge on February 19th to prepare and inspire women to turn their career and leadership intentions into reality.

This is a unique moment in history. When it comes to women’s leadership, both the need and conditions for change are present. The momentum is palpable. If we see our moment and seize it, we will achieve Take The Lead’s goal of leadership gender parity by 2025.  If we don’t, leadership parity won’t happen until 2083

 The need to Take The Lead Challenge:

Women are stuck at under 20% of top leadership positions across all sectors, on corporate boards , and in Congress.

Women earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. For African-American women, it’s 64 cents and Hispanic women, 54 cents.

  • Governments need leadership parity because those with more women have less corruption and more aptly reflect the populations they represent .

We know now that when you support women the entire community benefits. American women went from holding 37% of all jobs 40 years ago to nearly 48% in 2013. Productivity gains attributable to this increase account for more than $3.5 trillion in GDP growth in those four decades.


The momentum to Take The Lead Challenge :

There is a national conversation happening now about women’s challenges in the workplace and transforming role in society and business (thank you Melissa Harris-Perry, Sheryl Sandberg, Marianne Schnall, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and many more…)

Our business, financial, and organizational models are undergoing profound change and we’re beginning to figure out that the new systems we create will require all of our intelligence.

Men are beginning to join the movement and call for women’s leadership in service of stronger organizations and communities.

I know in my bones how important timing is in my own life and career. Whenever I’ve had to make a big decision or a bold move, I’ve acted from my trust in timing. My own readiness and conviction in something as well as the readiness of the moment.

 Are You Ready to Seize This Moment?

We hope so, because the need for women’s leadership at this time in history is bigger than you and me. The time is now to take the women’s leadership conversation to the next level.

How can you be a part of this movement?

Join Take The Lead co-founders Gloria Feldt and Amy Litzenberger, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and many more inspiring change agents the Take The Lead Challenge Launch Event on February 19th.

You can inspire and propel women to step into their own power to close the pay and leadership gaps in two ways:

1. Host your own event via our free livestream opportunity from anywhere in the country.

2. Join us in person at Arizona State University in Tempe.

The Take The Lead Challenge is expected to draw one million attendees across the nation including our fantastic list of partners.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #TakeLeadLaunch.

Take The Lead prepares, develops, inspires, and propels women to take their fair share of leadership positions across the board by 2025.

Be part of the movement for this moment.

Because it’s time.