Editorial: Women leaders show power through positivity

The (Columbus) Republic

Women leaders from wide-ranging fields who were honored recently shared compelling personal stories that, while each was different, all were rooted in common ground: the power of positivity.

As The Republic’s Brian Blair wrote in covering the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce’s 10th Women in Leadership Lunch, achievements of the honorees may “look deceptively simple when it is in reality often a much tougher path. And it requires the help of a circle of supporters and more — especially when the one aiming for success in a particular realm has no previous gender role models to look toward.”

Such was the case for Courtney Metzger, chief executive officer at Bartholomew County REMC, and Lindsay Holden-Kay as Bartholomew County prosecutor. They are the first women to hold those positions, and they were among honorees who also included German-American Bank’s treasury management vice president Kim Bennett and Luz Elena Michel, Latino outreach manager of Tu Futuro, a program of the Community Education Coalition.

Blair wrote Michel’s “charismatic nature had her listeners laughing at her wit, such as recalling when she and her husband first moved here from her native Mexico 10 years ago and found herself ‘needing to clean my house, iron the clothes, and mow the grass. This was not my Mexican-American dream.’”

But her work has made a difference, improving the educational outcomes for Latino students and leading to her recognition by the Indiana Human Rights Commission in 2020, when Gov. Eric Holcomb presented her with the prestigious Trailblazer Award.

Metzger spoke to the elements of leadership — “The three key attributes are being a lifelong learner, having and building a comprehensive and solid support system, and consistently being able to see adversity as an opportunity versus a challenge.”

We all should aspire to those are attributes, but they are undeniably admirable traits for successful leaders in any endeavor. They also rely on a positive outlook, which successful leaders in any role realize sets the tone for an organization.

And positivity set the tone for a luncheon that had its share of laughs and tender moments among the capacity crowd of 200 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Edinburgh.

Holden-Kay acknowledged the uncertainty she felt as a student and early in her career, until she landed an internship with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. She recalled accompanying police and getting a feel for the work that informed her path to where she is now.

The opportunity to “make my own community right here safer … that’s a whole different ballgame (than before). That feels like a calling,” she said.

Another common theme stitching together the women leaders’ experience is the help, support they have received.

“I’m so thankful to those leaders and mentors along the way who have included, challenged, and believed in me when I didn’t,” Bennett said. “I love being part of our community, where for-profit and not-for-profit organizations work together.”

We salute our community’s women leaders who understand the power of positivity and are leading by that example.

The (Columbus) Republic is a sister newspaper to the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].