Women in Leadership

2 Minute Read

I recently Googled the definition of “leadership” and found a bounty of interesting, comprehensive, scholarly, thoughtful, vanilla, and philosophical variations on the term. In Google’s image results for “leadership,” I was served up images of animated figures in business suits, people writing about leadership on chalkboards, some funky stick figures that looked like marching thumbtacks ostensibly marching to the beat of their pushpin leader’s drum, lots of people with arms interlocked, and flags…for some reason many of Google’s leadership images contained flags. (Follow the leader maybe?) I found definitions that included words like “results” and “influence” and “objectives” and “process” and “character.” I found references to leaders being “people who take us where we want to go” and leadership being like “piloting a race car around a track for 500 laps without crashing.” I did admittedly go down a bit of a rabbit hole, but despite that, I couldn’t really find what I was looking for. I was hoping to find a definition that was succinct, concrete, and irrefutable, completely non-subjective and immune to interpretation.

Since we launched the WIN - Women in Industry – program in 2019, our production team and I have interviewed a diverse group of women who were recognized as leaders. Many of the women agreed to be our guests on the WIN Podcast and wow, did we have some great conversations. The WIN women represent a variety of industries, nonprofits, organizations, businesses and entrepreneurial endeavors. Some of the WIN women have been in Arkansas, and some have not. Some of the women have been in their respective fields for years, others are just getting started. All of them, and I mean every single one of our WIN podcast guests, have been bona-fide inspiring to me. Despite their diverse demographics, experience and chosen vocations, I discovered they did all have one thing in common that looks like, sounds like, feels like, leadership, but did not appear in any of my Google searches. I realized that the commonality they universally possessed also met my leadership definition criteria: succinct, concrete and immune to interpretation, irrefutable.

What is it? I’ll take a moment here to beg their pardons, and yours, for what could be interpreted as a less-than-elegant observation, but I know this to be true, because I’ve heard this leadership quality in their voices, they’ve offered examples in the stories they told on the podcast, it’s illustrated in their journeys and mistakes and lessons and evolution as leaders…my takeaway from dozens and dozens of profiles and interviews with inspiring women leaders is this…they GSD.

They get *stuff* done. It’s an irrefutable part of what makes them leaders. The make *stuff* happen. Brilliantly, beautifully, in the face of challenges along every point on the spectrum of challenges, from microscopic to galactic, and they GSD without apology. They GSD while others are telling them that *stuff* can’t be done. They GSD when they see a need. They GSD when tragedy occurs; when all conditions point to “probably not.” They GSD in blue corduroy jackets, in cowgirl boots, with a badge, in a uniform, in the classroom, while battling cancer, on tractors, on horseback, with circular saws in high school shop class, on the floor of a manufacturing plant and in the library with Colonel Mustard and a candlestick. These women, universally demonstrate leadership in their ability to Get *Stuff* Done.

Again, I beg your pardon for what could be viewed as a crude definition for leadership, but I offer the Women in Industry page on ComGroup.com as concrete proof. Go check out those women’s profiles and podcast episodes and see if you don’t come away with the same conclusion. What defines women in leadership? From where I sit, it’s three little letters.

Lisa Van Hook

Lisa Van Hook

Lisa's background and experience put her in a position of leadership with many of our national accounts. Lisa is nationally accredited in PR by the Public Relations Society of America and has even served as the Arkansas Chapter’s president. Lisa develops many of the messaging and planning tools used by the agency, including the MessageMap® and the PlanGRID™.