Remembering the most impactful leader in my life…

Reetu Gupta, TMMBA Student

September 27th, 2009…one of last lazy Sunny Summer Sundays…

Next Friday I get to go to the Leadership Immersion. I’m really excited about that. Part of the reason is I want to see what kind of leaders have impacted my class mates. This was one exercise we are supposed to do. Talk about some one who has been most influential in our life stream so far.

I have been thinking about it for past few weeks. Finally today I sat down and wrote about the most influential person in my life – my mom. After I wrote what I’m going to share with my class, I thought of sharing that with other perspective students too on this blog. While writing about that I realized that I would have been a totally different person if my mom was not who she is. In addition, I also suddenly became aware that whatever I do is also influencing others in positive or negative way ( I hope not this way though..).  Here is what I’m going to share about most influential person in my life.

Leadership Impact – how are you impacting others?

I don’t think I have come across a leader that was perfect in all aspects. Each one had his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Each leader also had his or her unique style. As a follower I’m sure I have picked up various attributes of different leaders but I would say most impact has been made by my mother.

My mom is one person I characterize as energetic, result oriented and high achiever and mainly with a high degree of perseverance.  She is someone who thrived thru tough times in her life. She was always determined and struggled thru a male dominated society where women were still is a role of house maker. Having career was sort of unheard of. If any women were to do that, she had to do that in her own time after completing her other society dictated responsibilities. My mom went to high school against her parent’s wishes. She went to college without knowledge of her parents. She did her masters while she had two kids and without any help from her family. Finally she started an elementary school in 1980 which she ran for 25 years before she retired. There were over 350 kids in her elementary school. She demonstrated to me that “Where there is a will, there is a way”. This has been my mantra too. She always taught us that only person you can really rely on is you. You need to have the confidence in your abilities and once you know what you want to do, it’s only a matter of going after it.

She also always have opinions about things. She is an active volunteer in society. She was active in politics. She ran for two political campaigns at the district level. On one of her elections, I acted as her campaign manager. This was after my masters in engineering. That was one time that I worked closely with her and came to know how she connected with people on a more personal level. During this interaction, I learned the people always have a need for personal bond and if you can create that bond, as a leader you can be much more influential than otherwise.

Of course my bond with her is at a much deeper level and I don’t need any physical object to remind me of her. But to share with you all, I brought with me here this box that she got in her wedding. This is a great memory from my childhood and when I moved here 10 years ago, she gave it to me.

I just hope that I can be a role model for my daughters and some day they give a talk remembering the positive impact I made in their lives.

Enjoy the sunshine…