We recognize and celebrate brave female leaders. The women featured in our Brave Women Leaders blog demonstrate resiliency, bravery, and the ability to radiate their light brightly. They have gifts, experience, and strengths to share with the world and they do so bravely.
Sonja Foley and I met many years ago when we were at previous companies working on the Pink Shirt Day anti-bullying campaign together. She has a magnetism that draws people to her, and we quickly became friends, finding ourselves at National Leadership Retreats and Women in Business networking events. She is one of the bravest, most compassionate (and smartest!) women I know.
What does bravery mean to you?
To me, bravery means taking on the challenge versus taking the easy road.
Bravery means pursuing expansion and growth even in the face of uncertainty.
Bravery means listening to that voice or whisper that tells you to take the step even if you don’t know what comes after that step.
Bravery means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and doing what feels right which is not always going to be the easy choice.
Bravery means being honest with yourself and with others, even if that truth isn’t conventional or culturally acceptable.
Bravery means trusting yourself that you have everything it takes to make the right decisions to live a life of fulfillment.
Bravery means trying, even if you don’t know what the result will be. Bravery means unlearning to learn.
What is one of the bravest things you have ever done?
There are a few things that come to mind but I’ll focus on a recent career-related one.
When I was 3 months pregnant with my daughter, a colleague sent me a link to a job posting for the role I’m in now. I opened the link, read it, and closed it back down. It was a temporary Director of Intergovernmental Relations & Strategic Partnerships role with the City of Vancouver. This felt like my next dream job but two thoughts blocked my curiosity when I read the posting: a) I’m pregnant b) I can’t leave a permanent full-time job for a temporary job and be out of work when I start my maternity leave.
I went home that evening and told my partner about the opportunity and he said I have to apply (he knew this was the exact work I wanted to be doing). I thought it’s a bit crazy but sure I’ll throw my name in. One interview led to another and before I knew it, I was sitting down with the City Manager for my final interview. I disclosed my pregnancy by my second interview as I knew I couldn’t fulfill the full contract of the job but they still pursued me.
Every step of this process, I questioned myself and whether I was doing the “right” thing, leaving a safe job for a temporary gig that would end before having a baby. On paper, this seemed a bit crazy but there was just something inside of me that said to just keep going. When I signed the offer, I truly did not know where this would take me but at that moment in time, I knew I had to do it.
I started my new job at 4.5 months pregnant and while I know a lot of people couldn’t piece together my logic or rationale behind my decision, I knew I had made the right decision. Two weeks prior to me going on maternity leave, I was offered a role to return to after my maternity leave. And that is just how the universe works. As Glennon Doyle said: “The braver we are, the luckier we get.”
What benefits have come from leaning into bravery?
Oh, the benefits are limitless. Leaning into bravery has allowed me to speak my truth, set boundaries, and trust that little voice inside that says “you can do this” even when the odds are against you or when you are trying to convince yourself to take a different road (fears).
I think the biggest benefit has been a new level of confidence in who I am and that I don’t have to fit into a box. Like most people, I want to belong and I want to fit in but sometimes that goes against the grain of my intuition and truth, which can result in the biggest disservice to myself, my family, and the world. I would rather know my truth, my values that guide me, and speak up when something doesn’t sit right. I would rather make mistakes and learn from them than cruise through life safely and comfortably. I’m an evolving and flawed being but I believe as long as I continue to show up with curiosity, compassion, and respect, I can continue to grow and be of service to others.