On becoming a bad*ss

By Wendy Woods-Williams

March 8, 2019

March 8, 2019 – A few weeks ago I had the privilege of joining the Page Society Future Leaders Experience in Chicago, the kick-start of a program where, across the next two years I will have the opportunity to learn from the brightest, most talented communications professionals in the biz. In listening to these colleagues and guest speakers, some common themes — particularly around women in leadership and what we represent today — got me thinking. What is it about the women leaders in my life that inspires me most, whether it be those I met during my Page experience, my long-standing female mentors, or current KYNE colleagues?

I soon realized that I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to be surrounded by pretty awesome (and quite frankly bad*ss) women who are at the top of their game. But it also occurred to me that I don’t admire them and look up to them because of their technical expertise or experience, or even their speaking skills. For me, it’s the women who bring their whole selves to work each day that are the true standouts. Women who are their true selves, showcasing not only their individual communications talents and experience, but who also bring the rest of themselves to work, be it their passion for wellness or their families, their interest in the arts, or just generally their joy for life beyond the hours spent together in the office. Women who do not segment themselves into ‘work’ and ‘play’ versions of themselves, but instead show up as their most authentic self to the office each day.

This particular brand of leadership is what I admire in the people I met at the Future Leaders Experience, what I appreciate most about my amazing and bad*ss ‘work wife’ Maureen Byrne, and what inspires me when collaborating with my KYNE colleagues — that ability to not only be amazing communications professionals, but also to show that we are human beings who are passionate about the people we work with, the work we do, and the impact we make. Bringing empathy, understanding, passion and fun to everything we do.

A former colleague recently commented on what I was like as a young (green) PR professional and complimented me on how far I’ve come. And in my own mind I thought “yes that’s true, I certainly hope I’m a better PR person today than I was 20+ years ago.” But what I am actually most proud of is that I am now truly comfortable in my own skin, and I know my power as a leader lies not only in my expertise and experience, but in bringing my whole self to work each and every day – the runner, the wife, the dance mom, the karaoke singer, the activist, the philanthropist, the global communications professional. That’s the colleague and leader I aspire to be, and the leader I hope my teams look up to. I hope others would say “That Wendy, she’s a great leader, communications professional and a pretty damn fine human being, too.” So here’s to all the bad*ss women, past, present and future who inspire me to be the leader I am today. Today we celebrate all of us.

#BalanceforBetter #whoruntheworld #internationalwomensday #IWD2019