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Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
April 2003

My goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life.

    In this issue, you'll find:
  1. Leading From the Heart
  2. BossWoman coaching
  3. Up and coming workshops
1. Leading From the Heart.

While most models of leadership emphasize leading a group towards some purpose, those models can be intimidating and irrelevant to many women leaders who may lead more by personal influence than by seeing themselves as in charge of a group. Even women who have never had the confidence to think of themselves as leaders can relate to being women of influence - of leading from the heart.

Eleanor Roosevelt is a powerful example of such a woman who led from the heart. Never elected to political office nor the head of a corporation, Eleanor was nonetheless one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century.

Author, lawyer, social activist Robin Gerber has captured the essence of Eleanor's leadership style in her book "Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way," Weaving together Eleanor's personal story with the leadership lessons to be learned from her example, Robin has created a masterpiece tapestry of biography and self-help leadership lessons. This book will inspire you to think of yourself as a leader even if you never own your own business nor run for political office.

Criticized in her times for her powerful influence over husband Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, Eleanor also withstood criticism for sometimes taking a stand outside of her husband's administrative policies. Some of her early social activism in civil and women's rights, for example, embarrassed him and his advisors yet later these same positions formed the philosophical basis for his New Deal policies. Robin says of her research on Eleanor and her own experiences, "There is leadership in all of us."

I have had the privilege of meeting author Robin Gerber through the University of Maryland's Academy of Leadership where she is a senior fellow. Robin herself is a woman of influence, turning down a position of power and salary in higher education to return to school. She sold her car for a down payment on tuition because she believed that law school would provide the best background for a life of social activism. A former labor relations lobbyist, Robin wrote her leadership book because she could only find one other leadership book on a historical woman - Elizabeth I. She now tours the country sharing the lessons of leadership from the life of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Leadership Lessons

Here are some of the ways that Robin Gerber found that Eleanor Roosevelt led from the heart:

  1. Take your leadership development from your own experiences. If a military model does not relate to your background, perhaps your experience as a mother has taught you lessons of multitasking and time management as it did for Eleanor. Persuading your kids to eat their green beans has taught you a lot about how to influence employees and coworkers. Your many life roles have given you practice is leading from the heart. What have learned from your roles as daughter, student, employee that can guide how you want to parent, teach and manage others?
  2. To work from your heart, follow your passion. You may not know exactly right now how your passion will evolve. Eleanor Roosevelt did not wake up one morning in her childhood knowing what to do with her life, yet the seeds of her later personal strength and driving desire to help people who were less fortunate than she were planted in her own difficult childhood. She was reluctantly drawn into public life, declaring that she "never wanted to be the wife of a President." Yet in FDR's campaign for vice president, Eleanor Roosevelt discovered a passion for politics, which she saw as an opportunity to help others. "Work is easier to carry if your heart is involved," she said. How can you change the world around you - not necessarily the World with a capital W for that might not be your passion, but the world of your home, community, and workplace?
  3. Find a mentor. At Allenswood, a boarding school in England, Eleanor began a lifelong relationship with headmistress, Marie Souvestre, who encouraged Roosevelt, cultivated her curiosity and influenced her world view. Robin Gerber says that Eleanor's leadership style has taught her, "If you can't find a woman who supports you, move on and find someone who does."
  4. Use your network to influence others to use their power toward good ends. Eleanor was a master of networking, often connecting people to her meet her own agenda or theirs. When people saw her address rapt audiences without even using notes, no one would guess that she had been a shy, solemn child whose own mother called her "granny." Networking is about mutual benefit, though, not just handing out your business cards and prospecting for customers. Look for connections where you can help others and you will find ways to move along your own goals.
  5. Leave a legacy. Eleanor built loyalty and a legacy by encouraging leadership in other people. What are some ways that you empower others to develop their strengths?

Leadership Conference

If you are local to the Baltimore-Washington area, join Robin Gerber, myself and other speakers whose topics are listed below at the Annual Educational Executive Women's Network. Robin will be applying the leadership lessons of Eleanor Roosevelt in her keynote address. I will present my model of women's leadership, HeartPower, as one of the breakout workshops. During the year following the conference, EWN is scheduling a series of leadership development workshops designed to help women of influence deepen their skills and enlarge their circles of influence.

Robin's book, "Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way" will be available for purchase and signing at the conference and of course through your local book stores and online sites. Her book has been such an enjoyable read for me, it is like a beloved novel that I read slowly because to read it quickly would mean saying a premature goodbye to characters that I have grown to love. No matter what your politics, the story of Eleanor Roosevelt and her leadership lessons will inspire you to enlarge your own power of leading from the heart.


You are already a leader because you are a woman of influence. How can you use that influence towards living your passion?

Susan Robison

Robin Gerber. (2002). Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way: Timeless Strategies form the First lady of Courage. New York: Prentice Hall.

2. BossWoman Coaching

About the publisher: Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a professional coach, speaker, author and seminar leader. She loves to coach women who want improvement in:

  • work-life balance,
  • career transitions,
  • building your business or practice,
  • time management,
  • increasing productivity.
She provides keynotes and seminars to business and organizations on the topics of:
  • leadership strategies for women,
  • relationships,
  • work-life balance,
  • change.
3. Up and coming workshops

The workshop "How to Sell When You Hate to Sell" sponsored by the Executive Women's Network and presented by me and Margery Ritchie was filled to capacity with a waiting list. We are holding an intensive workshop on the same topic on May 9 at my office in Ellicott City. We will only accept 5 registrations. Cost is $60 a person. Contact Susan at 410-465-5892.

April 30, 2003. "HeartPower: The Gentle Art of Women's Leadership." Breakout session at the Annual Educational Conference sponsored by the Executive Women's Network. Holiday Inn Select Baltimore North, 2004 Greenspring Drive, Timonium, MD
7:00 a.m to noon.
The cost is $49 for members; $59 for non-members. Includes a full sit down breakfast.

  • Robin Gerber will deliver the keynote on "Finding Your Leadership Passion".
  • I will be doing a breakout workshop on leadership styles entitled, "HeartPower: the Gentle Art of Women's Leadership."
Workshops include the following:
How to reclaim your time and energy, lead through change, assess your leadership style, motivate staff and volunteers, discover your creative genius, and project the voice of a leader.

Registration deadline is April 24th. For more information, registration and directions, call EWN at 410-653-5067.

Subscribe to BossWoman e-Newsletter by sending an email with in the Subject to: susan@bosswoman.org

BossWomen e-Newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Coaching should not be construed as a form of, or substitute for, counseling, psychotherapy, legal, or financial services.

Copyright 2003 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

3725 Font Hill Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Office: (410) 465-5892
Fax: (410) 465-5967

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