Legacy leadership defines leadership as not solely for the advancement of oneself, but intentionally for the advancement of others—particularly women and people from other underrepresented groups. It entails proactively using your platform at every career and life stage to lead by example with intentional inclusivity, empower others in their own advancement and create social value.
This blog series showcases stories by recent graduates on how they are pursuing legacy leadership in their careers through an intentionally inclusive lens and commitment to social impact.
Growing up, my interests were many-fold, spanning science, politics, languages, photography, and even playing the organ at one point. For a variety of reasons, none of these interests ever materialized into strong passions, and by extension, purpose. As I made major life decisions (what to study, my first job, my second job) I was driven not by a tangible purpose, but rather by the more short-term goal of ensuring I created opportunities for personal growth and learning. Indeed, I would struggle to say that I found purpose purely in the content of the work I was doing, but I was at least hopeful that it would serve as a means to gain the necessary skills to do so one day.
As I applied to business school, a primary driver was to identify a career path which provided me with a form of purpose that transcended beyond me, and allowed me to find meaning in my work. Over my two years at Stanford, I explored a number of fields and roles. 15 months into business school, I finally found the path that would provide me with what I was seeking: entrepreneurship. Currently, I’m working on building a fashion brand that represents the modern working woman, and offers outfits that allow us women to look and feel good at work. This need stemmed from my own experiences at work, which were often in male-dominated environments: I remember a number of occasions where I felt disempowered by my clothes (uncomfortable high heels, skirts I needed to pull down, necklines I needed to pull up). My goal is to provide women with reliable outfits—call it a “uniform”—that allow them to feel confident at work, and relieve any anxiety around shopping for work clothes and dealing with clothes that are uncomfortable or unfit for work.
I find purpose in this for two reasons. Firstly, this path allows me to marry an area I enjoy (design and aesthetics) with a purpose I find meaningful (empowering women at work). Secondly, I look forward to building an organizational culture that reflects the crucial elements of my womanhood. A culture of caring for and supporting each other. A culture of compassion, where showing one’s emotions is not taboo but is indeed encouraged. A culture that celebrates collaboration and respects the importance of work-life balance, family and relationships.
I’ve never felt such excitement, joy, and eagerness to work as I do now. It has taken me five years of professional experience and a lot of trial and error to get to this point, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now that I have found my purpose, work is no longer something I dread on a Sunday night. Work is now a way for me to make an impact on the world and fulfill a vision, which is a pretty good reason to get out of bed in the morning!