I grew up surrounded by fields of cotton in the Central Valley farming community of Kettleman City with four brothers, two sisters, and parents (along with a yard full of chickens) who loved me very much. My mom and dad worked hard every day so that I could go to school, stay healthy, and live in a peaceful town. Humble, but universal, aspirations. After having the opportunity to live abroad for a number of years I discovered that parents all over the world want these things for their children – education, healthcare and a world without bombs and war. Traveling helps me appreciate that I live in a country of abundance and opportunity. Every day people dream of coming to America. They think of us in the villages of Kenya and dachas of Russia because our actions, sooner or later, affect them. I was told twice while I lived abroad: “We think of Americans every day, but you never think of us, you don’t even know we exist.” I never forget, in my role as the Executive Director of Girls Inc. Carpinteria, that we are preparing the next generation of leaders who will impact the world far beyond our local community.
I learned early on in my career that if I worked my way to the top the benefits offered would be greater, I would have more flexibility to be with my family and could possibly save money for a home and retirement. As a leader in this community what I do know for sure is that I never want to become complacent. Santa Barbara is one of the wealthiest, most privileged communities in the nation. I want to play my role in leveraging our advantages in pursuit of a better community and world. I have no excuse not to.
It is such a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow from strong, smart, bold women. As a network we call upon each other for insight, support and to leverage resources. It’s important for women to work together and celebrate each other. This network gives up the opportunity to do all these things.
In a world that is constantly changing, leaders must learn to adapt to different environments and situations. Most importantly, leaders must build and nurture relationships to address the difficulties they face on a daily basis. We’ve little hope of overcoming challenges unless we can relate to and communicate with each other. Leaders need to be comfortable knowing they won’t always have the answers to every question and confident enough to trust talented colleagues who can help move the organization forward.
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