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A Peek Behind the Scenes:
#LeadersMadeHere

By Kim Morris

I lucked out. Well, maybe it wasn’t 100% luck, maybe it was a little pragmatism and luck and a deep interest in the people who join and work with Women’s Council.

I get the privilege of interviewing people for the #LeadersMadeHere social media campaign that you all see as a final product on Facebook or Instagram. You see smiling headshots and a glimpse at these leaders and why they inspire us! But behind the scenes, this means scheduling and phone calls and emails and asking strangers about their lives. Inevitably, we get to the end of the call, and these people who started as strangers are . . . not strangers anymore. These people are fascinating and curious and a joy to talk to. Inevitably, I learn something. Inevitably, it’s a positive knowledge nugget that I can use each day. Inevitably, my handwritten notes look like a very happy pen exploded with ideas and a bubbly desire to move forward.

From the outside, #LeadersMadeHere is a beautifully designed campaign with quotes and headshots. From the inside, did you know that Stephen Antoni has a BFA in theater and performing arts? Worked as a cruise director? Did you know that Margo Willis is retired military? 

When I talked with Stephen, we had a wonderful conversation on how his education and experience in theater and advertising taught him the importance of being his authentic self as well as the power of people talking to each other and advocating for each other. 

In the military, Margo told me, you did your job and by doing that you earned the respect of your soldiers, you learned the importance of being aprofessional. 

Yes, here is the treasure of knowledge nuggets quaintly hanging out in my notes. My notes crawl along the edges of notebook pages, there are happily circled stars and dramatic underlines. Often, there is an arrow, drawn with highlights and shadowing, pointing at a particularly resonant knowledge nugget.

Cheri Daniels talked about what I saw in my head as a perfectly stacked deck of cards—each card a different aspect of leadership that could rest and hold up another aspect of leadership until you have a solid deck that you can turn around and deal to others. 

The Matt DiFanis conversation was my eye-opener. It was the first conversation with another #LeadersMadeHere contributor who flat out said he looked to Women’s Council as a pipeline of leadership—that he knows he can expect qualified people who support and advocate and do well in interviews and public speaking in this organization.

Now those knowledge nuggets are no longer hiding away in hand-scribbled notes, suffocated by doodles on notebook paper. In the spirit of Women’s Council, these knowledge nuggets should be shared. Please enjoy the campaign and this brief behind-the-scenes. Best to you all—hope you are healthy and happy.

Are you interested in being interviewed for #LeadersMadeHere? Please reach out to Jillian Thomas at jthomas@wcr.org. 

About the Contributor

Kim Morris is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with more than 25 years of writing experience.