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This episode features a conversation about leadership with Los Angeles Film School President Tammy Elliott. How did we get such a prestigious guest, you might ask? Spoiler alert – she’s Hannah’s mom! Tammy has built an amazing career as a leader in higher education, and she shared with us some truly amazing nuggets of wisdom about how she got there and what it takes to lead her team with kindness and grace.
Girl Scouts is a leadership organization, and we love hearing people’s leadership stories. Tammy told us hers, which included a lot of trial and error that led to eventually finding her purpose in a place that allowed her to do what she loves – working with people. She talks about being told “keep doing what you’re doing” and having supervisors and colleagues who saw qualities in her that she didn’t necessarily see in herself, leading her to take leaps into new positions that challenged her and opened up her perception of her own capabilities.
Tammy talked about seeking counsel from people who have your best interest at heart when you’re trying to decide whether to take on a new challenge, which means finding people who love you and who you trust to help you make big decisions. We talked about the importance of being thoughtful when making decisions, like taking on a new job or other big life change.
One of the insights Tammy shared with us is that being a good leader is about the power of words, the power of kindness, and the power of connection – being strong but kind – and that those are often missing. Her goal when leading people is to seek understanding and deliver the message that she cares about them and is working for and with them. She also keeps her work joyful and tries share that joy with her teams, even though that’s sometimes really hard to do.
We talked about conflict, and the importance of finding connection and understanding in order to get through it. In a leadership position you often have to make hard decisions and get into those conflict situations, and it can take time to get good at it.
One of the main things we wanted to talk to Tammy about is differences between what leadership looks like in women vs. men. She talks about how there is space for both, but that her own style involves bringing thoughtfulness and patience to her work as a leader. We talked through gender roles in our society, and how they pressure us and make it harder to lead like ourselves and find our natural style.
When it comes to growing and developing as a leader, go easy on yourself! Don’t feel like you need to be perfect and like you can’t make mistakes. Take time and opportunities to grow, and give yourself grace. Tammy left us with a few words to sum up her leadership style: grit, gratitude, grace, and strength. We’ll take those with us.
Take care of yourselves, GIRL Talk listeners. We’ll talk soon.
Reach out to our podcast team at girltalk.girlscoutsrv.org/contact.