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NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC) recently introduced their Ten Women Leadership Principles, which they collectively created to help women in the workforce become more effective leaders at any stage of their careers, and empower other women to reach their full potential. This is a universal guide for all levels of leadership, and any woman can benefit from applying them. This week, NDILC presents the first principle, “Acknowledge Trailblazers,” introduced by NDILC Member Erica Courtney, President of 2020vet and Zulu Time, U.S. Army Aviation Major, NATO Gender Advisor, and California Commissioner on the Status of Women & Girls.
In the upcoming weeks, each of these principles will be presented in detail with a personal message from an NDILC member about her experiences applying these principles to her professional and personal life. To learn more about the NDILC, please visit www.NAWRB.com/NDILC/.
Women Leadership Principle #1: Acknowledge Trailblazers by Erica Courtney
Acknowledge Trailblazers: Know and learn from the women who came before you. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants.
“So, what does a trailblazer even mean? Defined in the formal context, it is a person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country or wilderness; pathfinder; a pioneer in any field of endeavor; a vigorous independent; a person who is the first to do something that other people do later. Implied in this definition is the fact that these people are leaders, risk takers and are not afraid to push boundaries.
If you can picture yourself on a hike near the coast, you follow the trail. It’s pretty easy to navigate and you may enjoy some great views along the way. You will encounter people here and there and hope for peace. Now, put yourself in a rainforest. You get off the canoe and have to find your way through thick brush in a northerly direction. Your machete comes out and you slash your way through thick forest unable to see more than a foot in front of you. At any moment you can chop off a finger or some bug or animal can kill you in an instant, but you keep sweating it out. For you know there is something waiting for you not many have witnessed-if any. You have arrived-a sacred waterfall. You are at peace.
Being a trailblazer is not meant to be easy. It is always hard to be the first, at anything. Integration, transition and new approaches to old problems makes most people uneasy. Doing things, the way they have always been done is pretty standard. However, times change. The world changes and we must change with it. You get one chance at life, live it and get outside your comfort zone for that is the way we grow and accomplish great things.”
NDILC’s Ten Women Leadership Principles
- Acknowledge Trailblazers: Know and learn from the women who came before you. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants.
- Keep Achieving: Effective leaders always keep learning. There is always something to learn and improve upon.
- Believe: Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve.
- Pass the Torch: Give opportunities to future generations of women. Your legacy will be the people you help along the journey.
- Know Yourself: Be authentic and lead in a way that is true to you. Own your unique talents and strengths, and empower those around you.
- Speak Out: Unconscious bias is present, but ignoring it only perpetuates it. Take a stand and speak out.
- Listen: Never assume anything about anyone. Everyone has their own story that makes them who they are.
- Be Present: Sharing your time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Do it with intention by truly being present.
- Prepare for the Future: Women with advanced skills today will be ready for tomorrow’s challenges.
- Lead by Example: Inclusion isn’t enough. Press for parity and strive for excellence in everything.
Stay tuned for other articles that will expound on each of these principles to assist women professionals in applying them to their individual goals.
The NDILC is dedicated to raising the number of women leaders and growing women’s employment and empowerment at all levels in the housing ecosystem. The Council, composed of senior executive women, works diligently toward gender equality and obtaining equal opportunity for women across America. To learn more about the NDILC, please visit www.NAWRB.com/NDILC/.