My mother grew up on a farm. If her world hadn’t been narrowed by gender bias, she would have been an awesome mechanic — one who taught other mechanics. Instead she provided daycare to 13 children in our Brooklyn Park home. Watching her manage everyone’s needs was my first exposure to leadership.
Although I benefited from my mom’s resilience, I was also taught that “Life is hard, resources are scarce. Don’t make it worse by getting pregnant or going to jail.” My peers found “safe” jobs as cashiers and secretaries, with big dreams left for others.
Having suffered from low expectations, I know firsthand how critical it is to be challenged, inspired, and supported to live to one’s full potential and to lead.
That is why my work today is building bridges to inclusive leadership. Can you imagine how great our world would be if everyone did the work they were meant to do?
For five years, my side hustle has been to connect leaders and organizations that have similar missions. I am encouraged at what I am finding. More people recognize that bridging differences increases sharing, decreases duplication of efforts, and brings essential, new voices to tables where decisions are made.
Whenever I see a community leader doing good work, I reach out. I see my role as connecting that person with another person, organization, or resource that can strengthen the leadership of both.
As a feminist, I know I need to champion myself as well, if I’m going to effectively champion other underrepresented leaders. I am building a team of supporters who share my vision of a more cooperative community. The times call out for boldness, so I’m “leaning in” with others who are eager to share and unite.
Life-Changing Leadership Tools “The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism,” by Olivia Fox Cabane Cabane teaches action with power, presence, and warmth. Video here: tinyurl.com/MWPmagnetism
“Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity,” by Kim Scott
If a culture of passive-aggressiveness is holding us back, Scott’s radical candor can move us forward.
“How the World Sees You,” by Sally Hogshead
This book is like the popular “StrengthsFinder,” but even more tactical. I’ve given away 15 copies.
“Shrill,” by Lindy West
If you lead publicly, cyberbullying may come your way. West has got your back and is funny as heck.
“The Great I Am Worksheet,” by Alexandra Franzen
A quick and easy online tool to upgrade self-confidence.
Linda Brandt is the founder of Lean In Together MSP and co-founder of the Midwest Feminist Brain Trust. She is building a team of backers through Patreon. “By funding my volunteer work, I’m taking myself seriously in a whole new way.”