The process of processes
It's All In Your Mind

Leadership as a Lifestyle: Charlotte's Rules of Life

Donna09B By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk

On Monday I attended the Rochester Women's Network Annual Business Summit which this year was titled "Leadership as a Lifestyle". We had several great speakers talk on the subject of leadership as well as some breakout sessions that included some interesting dialogue between the attendees.

RWNSummit Now leadership is of course a very broad topic and the discussions of this day were focused on transforming our thinking about leadership. We were challenged to explore our female leadership style and use it to work best in our own environment and within our own culture. In other words, focus on our own lifestyle and be what we chose to be.

The last speaker of the day, the keynote, Dr. Anne Kress, President of MCC, our local community college captivated the audience with her leadership style. She brought us all back to our childhood, recalling some of our favorite children books that we read and have read to our own children. One in particular she quoted from was "Charlotte's Web" written by E. B. White.

CharlotteWebWe all are familiar with this story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. The book begins when John Arable's sow gives birth to a litter of piglets, and he discovers one of them is a runt and decides to kill it. However, his eight year old daughter Fern begs him to let it live.

So the farmer gives the piglet to Fern as a pet and she names him Wilbur. Wilbur is sold to her uncle, Homer Zuckerman, and gets lonelier day after day without Ferm. Eventually, Wilbur meets his new friend, Charlotte, the spider. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur (such as "Some Pig") in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.

Wilbur not only lives, but goes to the county fair with Charlotte and wins a prize. Having reached the end of her natural lifespan, Charlotte dies at the fair. He asks her before she passes away why she has done so much for him while he has not done anything for her and she responds, "because you were my friend". Wilbur repays Charlotte by bringing home with him the sac of eggs she had laid at the fair before dying. Three of Charlotte's children born from this sac remain at the farm and become Wilbur's new friends.

So what does this all have to do with leadership? Dr. Kress went on to share with us Charlotte's Rules of Life, what you need to be a 21st century leader.

Rule #1 - Be courageous, determined, responsible. You have to truly and honestly care. You need the courage to change what is being wronged and the integrity to do it right.

Rule #2 - You must listen, think, reflect and then act. Bring others along with you. Invite them inside the vision, don't leave them outside the circle.

Rule #3 - Empower others to focus on their strengths and contributions. Leaders lead people, not thoughts and ideas.

Rule #4 - Recognize that relationships are the most important part of our lives, what really matters. Good leaders value their connections the most.

Following these rules can turn the most delicate web into a fortress of steel. Thank you Dr. Kress for sharing these simple and thoughtful rules of life with us.

After Dr. Kress spoke the organization recognized the ten women who received this year's Up & Coming Business Woman award. I am honored to be one of these ten professional women that have demonstrated career leadership in the fewer than 10 years that they have worked in their fields. Thank you RWN for the recognition and for a inspirational day. 

Now I'm not as young as the majority of the women who received this year's award. I did qualify however since I launched my own business just five years ago as a marketing consultant and started learning as much as a could about this fairly new thing called social media. I had a great mentor, Yvonne DiVita, who I want to thank for all her help and wisdom, for nominating me for this award and most of all for being my friend.

Life truly is all about relationships.


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Yvonne DiVita

Donna, this award was well-deserved. You are out there making your entrepreneurial mindset a real success. Thank you for the kind words about me, but it's your talent and determination that serve you best. I wish I'd been there to see you receive your award.

To the rules - #4 is most valuable, I think. Without friends and colleagues, like you (and so many others) Lip-sticking would just be a series of whispers. With you, and the other writers here, it's a megaphone to the universe.

Thank you!

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