Maggie Owens, Class of 2017
Riverview Health Foundation
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'" -Eleanor Roosevelt
This quote has been a favorite of mine for many years and started as my mantra after my Ovarian Cancer diagnosis at 19 years old. As I have progressed through life, it has become a quote by one of the most influential women of the past. Eleanor Roosevelt was often described in the way that many leaders are: passionate, driven, energetic, friendly, relentless, strategic and persuasive. She paved the way for women to explore their own leadership strengths and passions.
Hamilton County is blessed with a wide array of women leaders- anywhere from business and government to churches and non-profit agencies. I remember one morning as I walked through Noble Coffee & Tea, I saw a table of women- four local business owners, one pastor, two government employees, and four executives of non-profit organizations- having a meeting. I knew of each person at that table and was aware of their service for this community. I had the resounding thought "Now THAT is a table full of influential women". Each with their unique gifts and talents at the table, I imagined the problems they were solving, the events they were planning, and the network of individuals they were bringing together.
In my career, I’ve had the privilege to learn from different women leaders, each one playing a role in helping develop me. Although these women are wildly different in their leadership styles, I can look at myself and am grateful for their investment. From one woman, I learned the need of collaboration and communication. No one can do everything alone. Having the skills required to not only work together, but effectively communicate is an integral part of being an effective leader. From another woman, I learned that persistence and passion can be the driving force to not only getting things done, but instilling that same drive in others to get a task done. When a challenge is presented, a leader will persevere and rise to the challenge. Finally, another is someone who leads with her empathy, compassion and energy. I have been encouraged, challenged and mentored and am increasingly excited to continue to learn and grow under her guidance.
As I continue to learn and grow as a leader, I will keep the words of Eleanor Roosevelt at heart and know that I CAN take the next thing that comes along. And, maybe one day, some young woman will walk past me sitting at a table with my colleagues, and say "Now THAT is a table full of influential women".