Stuart Williams

Entrepreneur

Location: Kiawah Island, SC

"I decided to lean in because someone had to take up the baton for the incredible women who had brought their dreams so far but were no longer with us to continue the fight."

When I was voted on as a trustee at the country club I belonged to in New Jersey, my first "formal" role was that of Chairman of The Membership Committee. At the time we had numerous ladies playing golf via their "spousal privileges," but women were not allowed to be full-time, active members. My choice was obvious: lean back and stay with the status quo or lean in and ruffle many feathers by pushing to allow women to become active members.

I decided to lean in because someone had to take up the baton for the incredible women who had brought their dreams so far but were no longer with us to continue the fight. I chose to go with the courage of my convictions and push to change the by-laws to allow women to become full active members so that they could have full golf privileges. One of the instant benefits was allowing members to tee off at 7:00am on weekends. Lets just say that my decision led to some fairly colorful conversations between me and parts of the membership, but in the end I prevailed and women were accepted to active status.

It matters not if my decision to lean in impacted my professional career one iota. I did it because my life would not be what it is today without the mentorship of numerous women who unfortunately are not here to see this wonderful movement take place. I am here to be their voice and to make sure that their contributions to my life, the life of others and the lives of women in general are not forgotten. I am also leaning in because the women in my life today are strong, powerful people who are every bit the equal of any man I have ever met.

For all those incredible women who are not with us today but would be so proud of those who are, I am leaning in.