Reflection time for female leaders.

A change of seasons always brings time for reflection. However, in Northeast Ohio, a time for reflection has been thrust prematurely upon us because in the last 30 days we have lost two great leaders: The Honorable Fannie M. Lewis, Councilwoman of Ward 7 – Cleveland, and The Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones – U.S. Congresswoman of the 11th District -OH.

As always, reflection brings the opportunity for understanding. Leaders like Ms. Lewis and Ms. Tubbs Jones reinforced three important leadership lessons for me: leaders don’t ask for permission, they just do; leaders build themselves a support circle of fellow leaders, male and female; and, authentic female leaders of our time are most effective when they define leadership on their own terms instead of trying to break through the glass ceiling installed by others.

Being “first” matters, but leading first matters most! I will miss both of you!

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