Tell us about a time you were fearless. 

“Katie, I nominated you for a local dance competition. I think you’d be great at it.” My inner dialogue immediately responded with “Thanks, but NO THANKS.” Yet, when I got the call, I found that instead of turning it down, I leaned in to learn more. And when I’d learned more about it, the voice in my head said, “Why not?” I couldn’t find a compelling reason why I shouldn’t, so I said yes before I could give it much more thought. The next seven weeks was a roller coaster of emotions ranging from “What the hell did I get myself into?” to “I am so proud of you for doing something so hard, girlfriend!” In the end, I danced like everyone was watching. What I hoped they saw was someone bravely stepping outside of their comfort zone to challenge themselves, and that ultimately paid off in personal growth and pure joy. I firmly believe finding ways to get uncomfortable and break out of the inertia of life is key to living fully and fearlessly. 

How have you found confidence? How can we help others be confident?

Finding confidence is a proactive journey for all of us. It happens in the moments where we say yes when we aren’t sure. It’s in the reflection of our accomplishments. Especially those where we exceeded our own expectations and self-doubts. Confidence is doing the things that make us feel vulnerable, but appreciating the lesson they teach. We can help build confidence in each other by recognizing the gifts/talents/strengths we see in each other, and encouraging each other to use those unique talents. I am a big believer that when you invest an interest in others, you also grow in confidence by watching them thrive. It’s contagious!

What does it mean to be a leader? What can leaders do to focus on women’s and gender issues?

Being a leader is truly about investing in the people you have the opportunity to positively impact and help them reach a common vision or goal. It’s about being emotionally intelligent. As a leader, you must have a good understanding of who you are, how you relate to others, and how others relate to each other and to you. It’s about being inspirational not only in your words, but in your actions. 

The most important thing that leaders can do to focus on women’s and gender issues is to have worthy conversations. The conversations that feel uncomfortable, but hold so much value in truly getting the issues on the table and understanding all viewpoints. It is in this place of foundational understanding where seeds can be planted and ideas can be formed and steps can be taken. I believe leaders hold the responsibility of making sure all voices are heard and creating space for the conversations to be had. That’s where transformation starts. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step (or sharing of a perspective).

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