Welcome to the I Am A Leader blog series, featuring leaders who make a difference. Today’s blogger is SOS Partner Amber Fogarty. Amber is also an Adjunct Faculty Member for the School of Management and Business at St. Edward’s University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Mobile Loaves and Fishes and is an event co-chair for the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), which is coordinating Austin’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. She is proud alum of the Leadership Austin Emerge Program.
Amber has an M.B.A. with a specialization in Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from St. Edward’s University, as well as a Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Martin, and their two young children, Grace and Colin.
My leadership journey began early in life because my parents are two of the most phenomenal leaders this world has ever seen. My father is what I call a “leadership prophet.” I’ve never met someone with as much depth of understanding about leadership. He and my Mom are a great leadership team, and they encouraged each of their children to answer the call to leadership in their own unique way.
It would be impossible to fully put into words what I have learned from the leadership example of both of my parents. They are role models, not only for me, but for so many others. They’ve touched thousands of lives through their service to their church and community and have provided my brothers and me with a wonderful example of servant leadership. I am eternally grateful for all that they’ve taught me (and continue to teach me) about what it means to be a servant leader.
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on my life’s purpose. I’ve narrowed it down to this:
“I am a servant who leads and a leader who serves. I develop leaders that make a difference and am committed to answering God’s call to leadership in my life.”
One of the most important leadership lessons I’ve learned is that “people become like their leader.” In my case, my purpose statement reflects what I’ve learned from my parents about leadership. I pray that I am becoming like them, which isn’t something you often hear children say about their parents. For me, it would mean that I am truly a servant leader who finds her greatest joy in serving others first.
When I reflect on the legacy I am creating for my children, I am continuing to define what that legacy looks like. I know that I have a LONG way to go on my leadership journey and that there is still so much to learn. I want my legacy to be one of learning, of accepting that “the enemy of growing is knowing.” I feel that true leaders take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. I want to be the type of leader who is always open to learning, who recognizes the amazing gifts she’s been given, and who never takes the people she loves the most for granted.
As a leader first and foremost in my home, I want to be more present. For me this means constantly fighting my urge to overcommit. I know that every time I say yes to something, I say no to something else. I want to say YES to the people that matter most. Do I get this right all the time? Nope. Am I getting this right at the moment? Notsomuch…but I’m re-evaluating my commitments and really working on it because I know what matters most, and I want the way I spend my time to directly reflect my priorities.
Earlier this week this post found its way onto my computer screen, and it was an “in my face” reminder of what my most treasured leadership roles need to be:
“I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.”
– Mother Teresa
I want to be a servant leader with a peaceful, happy home who puts her family first and loves unconditionally. I strive to be a leader who believes in the potential of others and who enthusiastically develops the leaders around me. I will enjoy the precious time I have with my family and create lasting memories. And I will grow in self-awareness so that I can continue to learn throughout my life.
I am a leader, and I know the best is yet to come!
You can hear more about becoming like your leader here. This podcast is from a recent radio show I appeared on with my brother, Billy, where we talk more about the profound impact of our parents and how they’ve formed us as leaders.
Stay tuned every Friday as the I Am A Leader blog series continues. Please share this blog post via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter using the #iamaLEADER hash tag! You can connect with SOS Leadership on Twitter here and Amber Fogarty here.
Check out all of the I Am A Leader blogs here!