Public service leadership has a special place in my in heart. This week I was honored to speak at a younger colleague’s swearing in ceremony and will be honoring another younger woman who is a newly elected state representative later this Women’s History month. For the young women from diverse backgrounds are who are ascending to leadership in the public sector, I penned a Dear Jazz letter.
I am so proud of you and the work you have done to ascend to your new position of leadership. I know the dreams and aspirations of making needed changes to serve the community and offer you three things to remember.
- Public Service. Remember the public always when you design or develop a new program. Ask yourself, “Does it serve the public? And does it serve well?” If the answers are yes, move ahead with godspeed.
- Stay Encouraged. There will be days when nothing seems to go right. Just remember it took you years to get here. In many cases you are the first woman in your position or you are following in the footsteps of few women. Your presence challenges convention and breaks the status quo. Expect challenges to your position on the issues and challenges to you holding a position of leadership. Your foes insinuate and ask, “Who are you to be great?” Armor up and find your voice. Speak your name with conviction even if other words escape you. Greatness and boldness are within your name; and, whether it is mysticism or miracle, speaking your name will help remind you of who you are, ground you, and help you find your center. And even the worst days are followed by tomorrow, and tomorrow always presents new opportunities.
- Integrity. You get to make the tough calls. Build a strong foundation so you do what’s right, and ensure the organization is whole. Actions align with words and values. It’s the Ruiz’s First Agreement: “Be impeccable with your word.”
Jazz, hold these three concepts close and do great things. Greatness is within you. And those you serve deserve for your light to burn brightly.
Congratulations and best wishes! Happy Women’s History Month!