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The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received Part of Amplity’s Women in Leadership Blog Series

Advice can come in many different shapes and forms: a family member, a mentor or colleague, a fortune cookie. For me, the best advice I ever received came from an internet meme: “Be the woman who straightens another woman’s crown and never tells the world it was crooked.” That statement embodies empathy, compassion, and the notion that as women we rise the tide for all when we help each other succeed.

About a decade ago, I found the Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA), an organization dedicated to helping women build the skills required to achieve gender parity within the healthcare industry. We know when women are influencing decisions at high levels in organization because these companies perform better, have a higher ROI, and have more engaged employees. Being able to be a part of that process got me started at HBA, and when I saw that the work that I was doing could buoy all of us, I leaned in even more.

If I listed all the HBA women who have empowered and inspired me, I’d go well over the word limit I was allotted here. One woman, Liz Coyle, made a significant impression when she “gifted” me an HBA membership while I was out of work and then quickly “voluntold” me to play a lead role in building out the mentoring program. That shaped my experience as an HBA volunteer and gave me the push I needed to help shape and refine the HBA Mentoring Program. Since those early days, the HBA mentoring model has evolved into a cornerstone program across the country. Little did I know that Liz was straightening my crown.

Probably the most profound advice-related experience I’ve ever had was in 2018, when I participated in an HBA Executive Leadership workshop. It was at the tail end of a 6-month run where I had experienced blow after blow… my mom passed, my wife and I ended our 15-year marriage, my company was acquired, and then I lost my job. Because Liz urged me to participate in this workshop, I did. When I arrived at that hotel room in Jersey City, New Jersey, I felt a bit intimidated by the assembly of highly accomplished senior executive women. True to my style, though, I “acted” as if I belonged until I felt like I actually did.

One element of the workshop was to share your 6-word story. Mine was “Sheds constraints, lives to fullest potential.” As I began sharing the context of my story, I wept! Right there, among 50 women, most of whom I had just met. As I struggled to go on, one by one, each and every woman stood and applauded. As she hugged me, an acquaintance said, “I would never have guessed you were carrying all that around in your backpack.” I was the beneficiary of many hugs that day; hugs that set me on my healing journey. Those sisters-in-arms expressed gratitude for my display of vulnerability and authenticity. They said it gave them permission to do the same. I learned that asking for help makes us stronger. Many of those women have since become trusted members of my network.

That day is forever etched in my experience and was the start of my own phoenix-rising-out-of-the-ashes journey. I bring that memory and feeling forward and try daily to lead with authenticity and vulnerability as I straighten others’ crowns (both women and men) and help them lean into their strengths to become the truest and best versions of themselves.

“Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” – Morgan Harper Nichols

The first post in Amplity’s “Women in Leadership” blog series was published on March 15, 2021 in celebration of International Women’s Day. Check out Becky O’Loughlin, Amplity’s Chief People Officer’s, story linked on the right-hand side of this page. We feel there is power in sharing this authentic collection of female stories in hopes they’ll inspire and uplift the next generation of women currently growing meaningful careers.