I’ve been blessed with faith since the cradle, a supportive family and faith community, and a productive, service-oriented career in mostly faith-based environments. I’ve also experienced my share of hardship – an unhappy marriage riddled with emotional abuse, a messy divorce and workplace challenges. These have all made my leadership more compassionate and empathetic and my decision-making more discerning. I feel more confident about taking risks and more prudent in my approach overall. My personal narrative has made me a better teacher-leader, a better daughter, mother, and Christ-follower.

I share my personal narrative on occasion – as appropriate – with women in similar circumstances, emerging leaders in my leadership classes, and with my daughter, nieces, and their friends. As a woman now in her 50s, I feel like I’ve earned the right and responsibility to share lessons learned and help to empower women to greater faith and voice. In particular, my students are the recipients of my fervent desire to be part of equipping women leaders to claim their voice and create a more gender-equitable world.

How has your life story impacted your leadership? How might you use it fuel your calling to make a difference for others?