Spirited Advice from the Women of Spirit & Action Awards

On Nov. 5, the DePaul University community joined together in the spirit of St. Louise de Marillac’s legacy to celebrate more than 100 faculty, staff and student honorees at the 2013-14 Women of Spirit & Action (WSA) Awards ceremony. The event was co-sponsored by the DePaul Women’s Network (DWN) and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. DWN Communications Team Member Jaclyn Hugg recaps and reflects upon the key themes of the signature DWN event.

If you attended the WSA Awards ceremony this week, chances are something about the event left an impression on you. Perhaps it was the fellowship you shared with colleagues and students over breakfast, a story told by the keynote speaker, or the joy you felt in either receiving a WSA award or knowing someone else who did.

For me, the vibrant essence of the celebration, which challenged notions of purpose and leadership and recognized the good works of women across the institution, prompted some internal inquiry that I would like to share with you, and ask that you ponder as well.

WSA MirrorWhen I look in the mirror, who do I see in the reflection? Do I see a friend, a sister, a mentor, a leader? Do I see a woman of spirit and action? Who am I, and who am I becoming?

When contemplating these questions, I began to reference the wisdom shared with us by the event’s keynote speaker, Connie Lindsey. Whereas Lindsey shared a whole host of valuable research and advice, I offer up the following five takeaways from her address that resonated most with me:

1. Match intention with attention

Do you wake up each morning and set an intention for the day? If so, are you mindful about matching your intention with your attention in order to accomplish what you set out to do? Lindsey said that we all suffer from what she calls, “intention deficit disorder.” It is simple human nature to get off-task and forget what we originally planned to accomplish. However, the good news is that, with practice, we can easily train ourselves to refocus our attention to align with our intentions.

2. Collaborate

As leaders, it is imperative to band together toward a common goal. As Lindsey explained, “There is no prize to being the lonely only.” Collaboration becomes increasingly vital for leaders who are women, because in order to create more balanced leadership, our voices need to be heard. More voices = bigger impact!

3. Stir up the bottom

Lindsey told a story of a time when she and her husband were spending a morning together one weekend, enjoying a hot cup of coffee—a vanilla latte, to be exact. The first couple sips of the drink caught her off-guard because she did not taste any of the vanilla flavoring. It was not until she stirred her coffee, that it began to taste like the vanilla latte she expected. “If you stir up the bottom,” she said, “the flavor can rise to the top.” And so I ask, what’s in your cup of life? What has been living inside of you just waiting to surface?

4. Don’t be afraid to love

Can love coexist with leadership? Absolutely—it should! “This is not the sentimental kind of love. Rather, it’s the kind that uplifts and strengthens,” Lindsey clarified.

5. Establish principles to live by

Lindsey shared a number of principles that have helped shape and guide her life, and encouraged the audience to establish a set of their own.

  • Be willing to stand alone
  • Live and walk in integrity
  • Listen twice as much as you speak
  • Live fearlessly and authentically by being bold and courageous
  • Connect your soul with your role

If I have captured your attention this long, I would like to offer you some homework. The assignment: Take a look in the mirror to assess how you—both as an individual and as a member of the DePaul family—are contributing to the noble quest to live more like St. Louise. Who do you see in the mirror’s reflection? What has your spirit been called to act on?

Remember that the ideals of compassionate personalism and the ability to get things done, demonstrated by St. Louise, can be lived out in many sizes and forms of service. If you are a student, maybe this means that you join and/or take on a leadership role within a student organization such as HerCDM or Future Women in Finance. For faculty and staff, perhaps you decide to participate in DePaul’s annual Vincentian Service Day, write a letter of recommendation for a student whom you mentor or get involved with DWN. The opportunities truly are endless to make your mark at DePaul and to embody the qualities of a modern-day Louise through spirit and action.

We would like to thank the following DWN members and friends of the Network for their contributions to this year’s WSA Awards ceremony: Sister Katie Norris, D.C.; keynote speaker Connie Lindsey; DWN leaders Joy Boggs, Jennifer McClelland and Aileen Johnson; and the full DWN Service & Outreach Team.

Jaclyn Hugg is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is Assistant Director of Advising for the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University.

2 thoughts on “Spirited Advice from the Women of Spirit & Action Awards

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