Growing up, my teachers and sports coaches would make comments like, “Lanae, you’re a leader.”
I didn’t consider myself a leader and was unclear at the time what it meant to be a leader. I associated those comments to my outspoken nature and what some would consider a rebellious spirit. I have always been vociferous, gregarious and “marched to the beat of my own drum.” I began forming my own opinions at an early age and adopted my own ideologies, might I add, that were not always popular or traditional. But above that, I love people! I have always empathized with the underdog or defended those that couldn’t defend themselves. It’s not so ironic that I became an activist. There’s always been this inner love and calling that has pulled me toward people, allowed me to connect with a broad audience and challenge systems that harm the existence of anything outside the norm. Can we live!?
My definition of leadership embodies, first and foremost, a love for people. Love is essential. A love for people and an empathy to relate to their everyday challenges and desires. Beyond that, an audacity and fearlessness that is able to respond to a need, persuade the stagnant and challenge the status quo.
Unfortunately, in society and in my environment, an outspoken, young Black girl who would challenge the status quo and who was audacious wasn’t popular. There have been many attempts to stifle, subdue and exploit my leadership. I was told, “You’re too intimidating.” “You’re too aggressive.” When in reality, I was uncomfortable and unfamiliar to those who had a specific perception and expectation of what a young, Black girl should be.
I realized, I am not alone. There are countless, young leaders of color, both male, female, transgender and gender nonconforming that are not receiving the support, mentorship and encouragement to stand audaciously and fearlessly in their natural leadership. What if leaders from all different backgrounds could come together to redefine leadership? What if these leaders were free to define their leadership in a way that felt natural and authentic? What if they not only redefined what leadership means and looks like, but harnessed their collective power to impact the change that’s needed in their communities? That is when Game Changers Leadership Institute was born.
A Game Changer is….
Our first institute was #YoungBlackandLeading because
Reach out and pull in…