Saturday, September 10, 2011


Despite my previous education, I feel like my 'real' education has begun at St. Kate's. This education extends far beyond the classroom walls, with community service projects, networking, fulfilling needs and inspiring, empowering and exploring my true vocation. Perhaps, it's because I more seasoned than when I was in my 20's? Perhaps, I look through a different lens as a wife and mother? Perhaps, I'm evolving and at a point that I actually enjoy being enveloped in a world of academia and embrace the challenge it presents with "all I thought I knew." Perhaps, I 'believe' we are all life-long learners, and it's not just a line in an essay I wrote in one of my papers that seemed to sound good while in the College of Education? Or, perhaps, perhaps...I am surrounded by greatness and I like the company I'm in?

Today, was the first day of my new term at St. Kate's. Last night, my husband and I had a really thought provoking conversation about leadership. As a Director at a Twin Cities Company, he naturally has a rather skewed corporate view of things. He thinks more people should take initiative and be leaders. I feel that though individuals can have leadership qualities, not everyone is 'suppose' to be an actual leader.

With that being said, there are so many different types of leaders. The emotional leader, task maker leader, etc. So, though you may be seen as a leader in one situation, it doesn't mean you must be a leader in all situations that arise.

My least favorite 'leadership role' is the silent leader. Some people get in roles of leadership by being silent- not creating any waves, going with the flow, avoiding confrontation, latching on for a ride to gain position. We all know one of these people-- either at work, or serving on a board with them, etc. Often times other people propel them into these positions so that they can be easily manipulated, like a puppet. So, in reality...they too are "really" not leaders.

With that being said...I stand firm on my first belief, "Not everyone is suppose to be a leader." It's OK to be a follower. Why, oh why, in this country do we place such an emphasis on 1st place, leadership, etc. We expect children to excel at EVERYTHING when the reality of the fact is, we as adults do not. Experience has merely taught us to play to our strengths...

For me, what is more important than any actual leadership a position of INFLUENCE. To inspire, to empower, to be a catalyst for positive change in yourself, others, the community and world. I suppose titles may look good on a resume, however, I've never been one for titles or labels. I'm the kind of person who sees a need, rolls up my sleeves and tries by best to fill a void.

I know my education at St. Kate's has influenced who I now am. More so, the people that comprise this special community. Whether it be Dr. C who helped me find my voice again. JH who taught me how to dream again. MT who has helped me remember all that I am and to keep focused on where I am going. Or, MB "Shelly" who has always taken time to listen and support ideas with enthusiasm. I can't leave out the many women in my classes who have influenced me.... Some in silence, others with a great roar.

Today, I met a women in class that has her BA in Psychology, working on her masters in education. She was homeless when she was younger. She is one of the most amazing people I think I've ever met. Her insight, her open heart, her intellect and understanding of what really matters left me feeling inspired...INFLUENCED.

I met another women in class that speaks 4 languages. She was having daily migraines. After starting yoga from a book she checked out at the library, she's never had a migraine again...INFLUENCED.

I listened closely, as another woman shared in our small group discussion about how she was a cancer survivor. She has a few more chemo treatments to go, but the doctors say she is now in remission. She is training to run a marathon. She said, now more than ever, it really means a lot for her to be able to do this. Yes, 26.2 miles...INFLUENCED.

I couldn't help but walk out of class today on a bit of a high. How lucky am I to be surrounded by such greatness? go home to return home to my biggest fans; my husband and kids. By far, they are the biggest influences in my life. xo

So whether or not I am or am not a leader, doesn't really matter to me. However, I'm pretty sure I am in the company of many. I guess I know how to pick my company well. ;)

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