Legacy leadership defines leadership as not solely for the advancement of oneself, but intentionally for the advancement of others—particularly women and people from 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.
Living and Leading with a Sense of Agency
“We, as a society, are losing talent because we are robbing people of their agency.”
My purpose is to enable others to have agency, actualize their values in the world and solve important problems. This purpose has been shaped by my upbringing and professional experiences. I have a younger brother with Autism, with whom I shared a room for 18 years until I left for college. Even as a young child, it was made clear that the world viewed us differently—especially in terms of our potential.
As a young professional, I worked in a school system and at a philanthropic foundation, and saw this pattern repeated. I saw it through the low expectations set for students at chronically-underfunded schools, and the systemic bias facing underrepresented folks in the technology sector. These powerful experiences led me to the conclusion underpinning my purpose: we, as a society, are losing talent because we are robbing people of their agency.
“In taking courses like The Power of You: Women in Leadership, Equity by Design and Diverse Leadership as an Imperative for Impact [at Stanford GSB], I have seen diverse leadership styles and approaches modeled effectively.”
At Stanford Graduate School of Business, I spend most of my time building upon my prior experience and targeting personal areas for improvement. This is all in hopes of giving myself the best shot at actualizing my purpose upon graduation.¹ Through exposure to my 416 amazing classmates, and in taking courses like The Power of You: Women in Leadership, Equity by Design and Diverse Leadership as an Imperative for Impact, I have seen diverse leadership styles and approaches modeled effectively time and time again. It has pushed me to expand my circle of empathy, and to begin to undo many of the false definitions of what leadership is and what leaders look like, which had been ingrained in me earlier in life.
“I want to create systems, programs, and organizations that empower people to influence their own lives and the world around them.”
Upon graduation, I hope to work at an organization that eliminates some of the structural barriers preventing people from living an agentic life. I would like to look into roles at mission-driven companies, where I can be surrounded by an inspiring, diverse and inclusive team, and see leaders at all levels of the organization who think differently and can challenge me to maximize my impact. In the long term, I would like to be working in the field of education, as I believe that a strong education builds resilience in the job market and gives individuals the tools to address many of the challenges they might encounter.
As my professional footing solidifies, I would like to lead work related to my purpose, and also align my efforts outside of work—through volunteering, board service and philanthropic giving—around my professional focus. I have always felt a powerful sense of agency over my life, and I want to create systems, programs, and organizations that empower people to influence their own lives and the world around them.
¹ This article was written in May 2019.