Many years ago, I leaned into my desire to hold public office. It wasn’t something that happened over night, but was years in the making. From being a room mother in my children’s grade school classrooms; to leading young couples at my church; to becoming chairman of my county’s Republican party; each task prepared me for the next one. As my job titles changed, I realized I was prepared and ready for even more challenging opportunities.
My career in public service began when I served as head of the Tennessee Film and Entertainment Commission. From there, I was elected to the Tennessee State Senate. And now? I’m honored to serve as the Representative for the Tennessee 7th Congressional District.
We live in interesting times where discovery abounds. Some days it feels like we woke up to email, ate lunch wearing Google Glasses, and by bedtime, will be using an unknown technology that will suddenly be mandatory for our survival. It’s an incredible time to be making our mark.
Creativity, leadership, vision and compassion. These are all qualities we need in tomorrow’s leaders. We are guilty of looking for the men who will lead us before we realize those necessary characteristics are so commonplace in the women we meet. Women are small business owners. We’re CEOs. We’re coalition builders. We’re consensus finders. We solve problems on an hourly basis and it is time we rise up and come alongside men to lead.
We do have one small challenge to overcome: We have to want to tell our own story. We have to be willing to lean into our own successes, no matter how small they might seem, and see them for the possibilities they are. My grandmother leaned in to me at an early age and taught me the value of telling my own story. “It ain’t bragging if you’ve already done it,” she’d say. And she was right.
Life is demanding leadership skills from us. Our communities are demanding leaders, neighbors, friends who are willing to step into the gap. Our daughters, nieces, sisters, and mothers are demanding we tell our stories and lean in for the lives we are truly meant to lead.