Leadership Is Not About Winning. It Is About Being Willing.

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In the beginning of 4th grade my son, Gray, came to me and said that he wanted to get a leadership award that year. I said, “That’s great. What a wonderful goal for you to have. Do you know what a leader does?”

Gray said, “Yes, I need to do my best, help out and get along with other people.”

We talked a little more and then I said, “You know Gray, there are a lot of leaders out there that don’t ever get leadership awards. They do things because they want to get involved or something is meaningful to them. So, if someone else gets an award and you don’t, is that ok with you?”

In typical Gray fashion he replied. “Oh, I know that. It ‘s ok.”

I didn’t have an epiphany that day, but sometimes looking at life through the eyes of a child, you can see so much more. Leadership really isn’t about “winning”, it is about being willing to put yourself out there to make something happen. It is a chance to stand up, to get involved and to collaborate with other people to achieve a common goal. How many of us are willing to take on that kind of leadership role?

That makes me think of our own individual goals. What does it take to be a leader in our own lives? We talk about the things we want to do, but putting ourselves out there is not always that easy. What message can we take from a 4th grader? How willing are you to take on a leadership role in your own life?

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3% Ready

Sometimes the moon and stars align, the seas part, the angels sing and a great opportunity comes your way. For me, it was an invitation and a guest blog post. This invitation came from two women I really admire, Rebecca Riviera and Kat Gordon. They invited me to participate as one of the co-leaders of CD Bootcamp “Soft Skills” at The 2014 3% Conference with Nancy Vonk and Laurel Stark Akman in San Francisco this November. I am thrilled.

What’s The Big Deal?

The 3% Conference honors a great many of the things that are extremely important to me like: self advocacy, bravery, self awareness, creativity and empowerment. As a coach, I focus on these things with my clients, male and female, all the time. The beauty of this event is that it celebrates and advocates for women in advertising. Having been in the business myself, I am extremely excited to be a part of this two day conversation.

3% Blog post connect.

The 3% conference was founded by Kat Gordon back in 2010 and the first conference was launched on September 27, 2012 to a sold out crowd. What does 3% stand for?  Did you know that only 3% of creative directors in advertising are women and women influence 80% or more of consumer spending?

The mission of 3% is to “build the business case for diversity by championing female creative talent and leadership, in addition, offering content, community and professional development.” This is right up my alley. As in coaching, I partner with people who want to redefine and build on what they are doing now and do it in a positive way. This discussion is not about how women can do everything better than men. This is a conversation about building diverse leadership that can meet the needs of not only the male consumer, but the female consumer as well. This new strategy offers strong collaboration and effective results.

What better way to spend time than a two day conference that educates, empowers and inspires people to be stronger leaders? Check out the links to Kat, RebeccaNancy, Laurel and the conference itself. If you are part of the advertising community, you will want to be a part of this event. I am 3% ready, are you?

Oh, and check out my guest blog post if you don’t mind a few scars.


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If not now, when?

Have you ever..?

Have you ever hung out with friends for a weekend talking about your hopes and dreams and then it turns into the things you should have done? Topics like: “We should have bought that old beach house” or “I should have taken that opportunity and gone to live in SPAIN for the year.” or “I can’t believe they made that into a business.  It was my idea.”  The list goes on and on; a house isn’t purchased, a trip is dismissed and a business idea goes on the shelf.  Why weren’t these things acted on?  Sure, it is easy to blame limited funds, a bad economy, children, college, saving for retirement, but even in the best of times, there are no guarantees, right?


We sometimes have to take risks.  I am not saying to be reckless, like jumping through a fiery hoop, but there is something to be said for “measured risk.”  With some visualization, a plan of action and a strategy for a  potential project or goal, who says you can’t be successful? Many times the answer to that question is,  “you.”  We question our own ability, our commitment and our choices all the time.  We can tell the rest of the world to “go for it,” but when it comes to us, we shut the opportunity down.  In effect, it isn’t the environment that tells us that we can’t be successful, it is what we tell ourselves that can sometimes kill an idea or deter a plan from happening.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to sit around with my friends and talk about our dreams and wishes. It is really inspiring and a lot of fun to speculate, but maybe next time I do this, I will invite them to collaborate on a plan to make some of these ideas really happen.


If not now, when?  That house by the water may not be that far off base. It might just not take a “straight line” to get there.

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Hatch Awards 2011

Love going to Hatch.  It is always a great chance to catch up with people in the advertising industry and celebrate new work.  It is funny.  If you are in the Advertising world, no matter what the market it is doing, people love to stay in it.  Maybe that is why Mad Men is so popular.  There are just some of us that will always want to know what is coming next.

The great thing about an event like Hatch is there is always a nice synergy immediately when you walk into the room. Yes, it is a competitive juried show, but once the awards are presented, it is a chance to connect with others and talk about the love of advertising.  Maybe the wine helps, but even so, it is a chance to be immersed in conversation.

Connecting with like-minded people is a great way to be inspired.  Whether it is a room full of dentists, rocket scientist or ad people, being able to get together like this is a chance to spark new creative ideas, reinforce strategies and forge collaborative relationships.  It is what can make the difference between staying in your comfort zone or taking your business or career to the next level.

And what an easy way to become inspired, by spending time with people that value and care about the same things you do.  Collaboration is a great muse and I see it every time I attend the Hatch Awards.  Now if Mad Men could just start season 5…

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Find out who you are

I look at this picture and I want to be her every day.  A few years ago my son and his friend made this picture of me on the driveway.  The image was washed away with the closest rain shower, but I could not let this amazing expression of who I am get lost forever so I took a picture.  Later, I realized this image can’t be washed away because beneath the surface, this is really who I am.  I am “her” every day.

So how do I know this?  Well, it took a lot of soul searching, coaching training and time, but mostly, it took awareness, acceptance and commitment to find this kind of peace of mind.

So here is one way to go…

1)    Awareness – Awareness is key component to the question of “Who am I?”.  We live in a world that loves to compare, measure and decide who we are every day.  We are often so busy that we seldom feel we have a minute to take a break let alone take time to think about “who we are.” By taking a look at our lives, as we are living them now, it is an opportunity to identify what we do, reflect on the things we like and embrace the things we are really great at.  Once we can see our strengths and recognize what inspires us, we can discard the things in our lives that don’t fit and get started on creating a new design for the way we want to live.  Awareness can be a grounding force in helping us to articulate who we are and how we choose to live.

2)    Acceptance – Self- acceptance can be like a breath of fresh air.  For some reason, it is something that is very hard for people to allow themselves.  Right or wrong, good or bad, success or failure, are all labels that we put on ourselves.  I have to ask, “Why do we do this? How does this help us?” Consider this, we have made choices and decisions in the past because, at the time, those choices made sense.   We are human beings.  If we can accept our “humanness” we have an opportunity to learn from our choices and move forward.  By dropping the judgment and embracing self-acceptance, we can feel peace of mind about who we are.

3)    Commitment – Commitment to self is as commendable as commitment to others. Sometimes we are so busy with our jobs and helping other people that this can be incredibly challenging.  We know the needs of others sometimes better than we know our own.  Making a commitment to our wellbeing shows determination and supports us to make confident, positive and healthy choices. It opens up to understand more about “who we are” but also gives us the energy to more effectively help other people.

So get out there and start to look for your picture.  It doesn’t have to be in a chalk drawing on a sidewalk.  You might very well find it in the eyes of the people who love you or beneath the surface as a feeling in your heart.  I hope you find your answer very soon!

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