One of the best things about the podcast is that I get to spend time discussing leadership principles with amazing leaders. While Marcus and I were preparing to record his episode he shared a story with me that I absolutely loved and I thought for sure we would bring up while recording, but we didn’t. Later I had the wonderful opportunity to provide a message to these inspiring young women pictured. I shared some of what Marcus and some of what Jen Ete had shared with me in the previous message on the importance of having dreams.
Marcus was the Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Air Station Houston and had four cadets visit who wanted to become aviators. He shared many thoughts with them during their out brief, as was his custom. He told them that when they left his office they would see every Commanding Officer who had ever been in charge of the Air Station on the wall. He also informed them that they would notice that there were no women on the wall and that since all of them were females this might be discouraging. He asked them to stop and take a selfie by the wall and set a goal to be the first female Commanding Officer of that or another Air Station. Two of those cadets went on to graduate from flight training and sent Marcus an image of them with their wings of gold and a thank you, acknowledging that looking at that selfie helped them get through some difficult times.
I told my young women’s group about the cadets. I asked them to find moments to write down their dreams and look for opportunities to create their own selfie moments because we need more women like them in places of leadership shaping the world to be a better place. It is our tradition for the Bishop to give them a gift. I worked hard to find a gift that would have personal and impactful meaning. I was able to get each girl a customizable picture that had their unique individual features like skin tone, and hair color. I inscribed every picture with each girl’s name. I told these girls how much each of them matters as individuals and wanted their gift to remind them that their individual voice is needed to make a difference, to be the good in the world, and be the change they want. One of the first girls to receive hers exclaimed “she’s brown” and further commented about how she never gets things at camp with girls who look like her. Another girls braids matched hers. The gifts showed the girls that I saw them, cared for them, and was willing to hear their voices.
I shared this story with Marcus and he told me, “that’s what its all about”, and I could feel his excitement that I had experienced a moment of what he is trying to teach all of us through his book and leadership style!
Listen to the full epside with Marcus on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/episode/5zrNisM8Wtd89n28xjwmlZ?si=T5qR4_L3SSm3hyt8Q9E98A or on the player below.