Happy Summer! It’s the time of year when Freelance contracts may wind down and we find ourselves with more free time. At this time of year, I like to focus on professional development. I read business books, attend a conference or two and do what I can to make myself a more effective Freelance consultant. Leadership is an ongoing interest of mine, regardless of the season. Over the next three weeks, I’ll share with you the stories of 10 women who exhibit characteristics that high-functioning leaders share.
They Take the Initiative
In 2011, real estate broker Sharon McLennon, 51, was an incoming board member for a real estate trade organization. At her first board meeting, the need for an updated organization website was discussed and it appeared to McLennon that a consensus to commence work had been reached. Yet three months later, work on the proposed website had not begun. “I became frustrated by the fact that nothing had been done on a relatively simple project”, McLennon recalled. At board meeting number 3, she announced “We’ve got our current website, the new content’s been written, we’ve got our designer—I just need the board to approve this project and we can get this up and running now”. Surprised fellow board members gave the green light and the new website was unveiled two months later.
They Help Others Achieve
Ten years ago at age 45, Kimberley Greenfield Alfonso quit her corporate job as Senior Region Director at a Fortune 100 company to care for her then 3-year-old visually impaired daughter. She soon found herself wondering now what? ” I was so connected to being a corporate woman. I had gotten to where I wanted to be. I had arrived”.
Alfonso eventually realized that she knew many women in their 40s who were likewise at pivotal points in their lives. Some were marrying, becoming pregnant, or divorcing. Others were making decisions around starting a business or becoming stay-at-home moms. The women needed help laying a foundation for their second acts. Alfonso decided to lead the way.
A master networker, she invited 65 of the most accomplished women she knew to meet at her Washington, DC-area home. The purpose was to get the women to meet each another, share experiences and stories and discover resources they could offer one another. Alfonso continued to host meetings and her group came to be known as The Butterfly Club, which holds quarterly meetings in Greater DC where women discuss their latest business or philanthropic ventures.
They Fight for A Good Cause
Attorney Francesca Allison, 30, learned the importance of giving service from her parents, who were both ministers and who founded a not-for-profit arts and cultural enrichment organization. Allison says she attended law school to change the world and she looks for opportunities to do pro bono work. Recently, Allison has handled an appeal case based on a provision that allows children in Georgia to receive Medicaid benefits, regardless of their parent’s income.
She represented an appeal for two children, a 12-year-old who has a debilitating bone disease and a 10-year-old who was born with no eyes and extreme hearing loss. She spent nearly 200 hours (think five, 40 hour weeks) securing affidavits from teachers, physicians and therapists. She drove long distances to visit the children. In previous decisions, the Georgia court had denied the children Medicaid benefits, but thanks to Allison, they prevailed on appeal. Allison commented, “This case required an attorney who would not only do what was necessary, but was willing to sacrifice”.
I’ll be back with more leadership qualities you’ll want to nurture next week. Thanks for reading,