People & Community : Heart of Lean In

Last week, I had the honor to represent my Lean In India at the Lean In Regional Leaders Conference 2018 in Palo Alto , California hosted at the Stanford University with 120 other leaders from 69 countries.  For what it's worth, the weekend was full of learning and knowledge sharing .

I got motivated to work all the more hard with all my heart for Lean In India . But , this long heartfelt note is not about that. It's about honoring and penning down my thoughts about the wonderful people I had the chance to meet , connect and learn from.

My biggest take away from the conference is that People & Community are the heart of Leaning In. They come first before anything else. They are indeed the biggest resource in leading the Lean In revolution anywhere in the world.

So here I am documenting , what each one of them meant to me and how they inspired me with their work and personality.

Linda Brandt - Lean In Together Minneapolis St Paul

Linda is the most compassionate and empathetic leader , I have come across in my entire life. Her goal is to make bridges not walls. Her affection coupled with her vision to connect leaders to Lean In Together makes her a force to reckon with . Her sincere and consistent efforts to make our vulnerabilities our strength is indeed the most beautifully unique way to connect with people.

Thanks to her persistence , we were able to pull off an amazing - " Awesome Extension 2018 " with the goal to connect and learn from the leaders before and after the conference as well.

" I will cherish every moment of reflection I had with her throughout the weekend and make bridging my goal at Lean In India for the next year . "

Maybelyn Plecic - Lean In Wonder Women

A mother to four beautiful boys ( I say beautiful because their stories reflect how amazing men and humans they will turn out to be when they grow up ) and a boss lady at work, Maybelyn is indeed a wonder woman . Her sarcasm and wit made me laugh away my fears throughout the weekend . An effortless conversationalist , she made a special place in my heart with her fun stories . I learnt one of the most important lessons of early career from her - Being a no-nonsense kickass boss without hurting anyone's feelings .

"I will think of my wonder woman,everytime I am stuck in a similar workplace situation and Lean In to be like her. "

Eva Tucker - Lean In St. Louis

Eva won my heart with her humbleness and patience to handle tough situations. She does amazingly inspiring work for her network and owns Circle Development as her cherished skill.

More than that, I fell in love with how she is bringing up her sons. Two wonderful boys that I can't stop talking about , they understand the concept of equality from a very young age . Now that's parenting.

" I aim to be patient and mindful like her as I grow up on my career ladder and grow my community further ."

Rain Stawar - Lean In Dallas & Barbara Lampl - Lean In Germany

Rain's sass coupled with the grace with which she carries herself and her choice of words , makes her personality very charismatic. And you know, she kicks ass . That's the power of a woman.

Barbara is a personification of self love . She knows how to turn her weakness into strength . And not just that , she built an entire community around that. Now ain't that true leadership ?

Rain and Barbara are two strong headed and full of  life pair of women. They sat with me for a heart to heart conversation and collectively taught me something that I really wanted to hear - 

" It's okay to be lost for a while. It's okay to not now where we are headed next. It's okay to sit down and not plan. We are young and dumb , let's embrace the confusion of this age. "

Abiha - Lean In Creative Women Leaders & Victoria McCallum - Diversity in STEAM

"I learnt the power of being true to ourselves from these two women."

Abiha is a woman of few words but when she speaks, she radiates fearlessness . Sometimes, truth needs to be said out loud and she does that effortlessly . ( Her minimal yet cool way of carrying herself is another fantastic takeaway for me. )

Speaking of words- Victoria is a word wizard . Her comic style on commenting on the stereotypes of the world is mind blowing. She left me laughing for minutes straight while teaching the single most important lesson for any woman- Accept your imperfections and lead anyway.

Julene Allen - Lean In Women Of Color

Julene is a very passionate changemaker in this world . Her passion crosses borders and her vision for women of color is inspiring.

In very brief conversations, I had with her , she empowered me in ways that go beyond one's professional growth . She accepts that world has been unfair but that does not mean it will continue to be so .

" With leaders like her in the front, chasing the vision of equality and inclusion, I believe we are all headed in the right direction. "

Becky Pallack - Lean In Women of Purpose

"Learning comes without any barrier of age - I learnt this from amazing Becky from Arizona ."

Besides being a kickass journalist , Becky is indeed the best listener in this world . She made me feel that my voice and opinion matters .

An amazing learner, she reminded me of myself by taking down notes in her cute little diary .

She also gave me the satisfaction that there are other people in this world who love what they do and take their work very seriously .

Elyce Picciotti - Lean In New Orleans

Elyce is an inspiring and graceful leader from New Orleans . She taught me something from a very different perspective .

" We all have our own set of privileges and we don't realize that . As a leader it is our duty , to look at life from a different lens and step into other's shoes if we truly want to own Leaning In. "

Aim Kusuwan - Lean In Thailand & Chiaki Ishihara - Lean In Tokyo

"These ladies gave me the much needed support as a young leader. Their presence on my table was vibrant and refreshing. Their smiles allowed me to step back a little from work and soak in the grandeur of the moment that we all were sharing together . "

Not to forget the superb community development work in their networks. They keep people and their personal growth on first priority and that's the exact reason why they could create ripples of change in their countries.

June - Lean In Vietnam

"I learnt from June that leaders go at last . Leaders stand back with a smile when a team wins . "

June is a super inspiring young leader who puts her team first. Her leadership style is happy go lucky and she radiates happy vibes wherever she goes.

Corine Sandifer - Lean In Nashville 

" I learnt from Corine , that how women can sit at the table , be heard and still be humble about it. "

A passionate and cheerful leader, Corine is a wonderful company to have . Always spreading smiles and happiness while Leaning In, I miss being around her .

She is a thoughtful leader and reminded me yet again that people and their feelings matter. 

We are friends before anything else . We are a tribe of women supporting each other .

Mishal Vasantlal - Lean In Melbourne

I found a beautiful friend in bubbly Mishal .  She owns up to being from Indian origin and she reminded me to be proud of myself so many times .

An amazing listener , conversationalist and beautiful person inside out . I will cherish the random crazy moments at Menlo Park with her.

" She made me feel wonderfully proud of my ownself . And I believe we as women need to do that more often. "

Laura Dell'Aquila - Lean In Italy

I have always been a fan of Italy for it's cultural heritage and historic relevance in revolutionizing art and sciences. Who knew I will grow  up and find all the more reasons to fall in love with my dream destination. I met with this kickass leader Laura who breaks stereotypes with her everyday work.

She works in the male dominated Oil & Energy sector and owns it like a boss.  Hearing her stories, I was inspired to continue being in my line of work with similar issues . She made me feel , one should not give up even if the environment around gets sexist and unwelcoming.

" I will continue to be in the Automobile Sector because of you Laura and in my weakest days ,I will think of you to get some strength to Lean In . "

Ashley - Lean In Malaysia 

Ashley , Ee Lyn and Me have a very interesting story from the dinner night which we will certainly cherish as we grow up . ( It's hilarious :p )

"Ashley inspires me to be unapologetic-ally ambitious. "

Her do it all attitude is what I love the most about her.

The girl sure knows how to be fun and a gogetter at the same time.

Sarah Joyce  - Lean In Boston 

" This power lady from Boston gave me a glimpse of  the kind of woman, I want to grow into . She radiates power, confidence and the ability to bring a positive impact in this world . "

The list does not end here , but my pictures do :p ( I need to get a picture with the following set of ladies , next time for sure !)

Elisa - Lean In Latinas 

Your passion and depth of understanding urges me to be more compassionate . 

Katie - Lean In Energy 

Your persistence and desire to be all out in this world , is what I look forward to achieve personally .

Deepa - Lean St Louis 

Your skill of connecting with people first is what has encouraged me to be more mindful and inclusive.

Malgorzata - Lean In Frankfurt

You and your family gave me the much needed positive energy that women can have it all , if men Lean In Together with us .

Wendy - Lean In Virginia

I will never forget the farewell dinner conversation we had. It will always be very close to my heart .

V. Nicole - Lean In Women of Color - Michigan

Girl, you charge me with your commitment and  a positive attitude . 

I am extremely grateful to each one of you for sharing this journey with me . I can't wait to meet you all next time around . 



Alok Bhushan said…
Eagerly waiting for upcoming parts of this series.

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