Photography by Bijay Dixit
EMPOWERING WOMEN LEADERS
Article by: Manu Shah
CT Bauer College of Business Dean Latha Ramchand introduced Houston’s former Mayor and Keynote Speaker Annise Parker at the Women Mean Business event at the Westin. Ms. Parker delivered an inspirational talk on leadership and likened it to a muscle that “grows through exercise”
Quoting a Malawian proverb, she stated that “he who thinks he is leading but has no followers is only taking a walk.” Leading is an individual action whereas leadership involves collective action.
Ms. Parker also drew attention to the need for more women leaders. Pointing out that women approach problems from different angles, socialize differently than men and have different life experiences, she continued to state that we aren’t better or worse at problem solving or leading, just different. This is a huge plus as “greater diversity brings more resources to bear on any problem.”
According to Ms. Parker, the three essential leadership skills are courage, communication and commitment. courage If nothing in your life scares you, you aren’t doing enough. You can’t make progress if you don’t exceed your
comfortzone and risk failure. communication means the outward communication of “what is the goal and how will we get there” as well as the inner dialogue we each have with ourselves. We have to believe we can and will succeed. commitment There will always be setbacks. Stay the course.
She also added that we must commit to building more women leaders by supporting each other and mentoring new leaders.
Some of the ways we can do this is by trusting each other, delegating, pushing or pulling when needed, giving feedback, launching them and not holding them back because they threaten your position or because they will do it differently.
Summing up her talk, Ms. Parker stated that transactional leaders can navigate the known world while transformational leaders can take you into the unknown.