One of the best things about my life is getting to be in community with amazing people. People who are passionate about what they do and are chasing the dreams and calling God has placed on their lives. It is so much fun watching them achieve milestones that will have an impact on the lives of so many others. Today, I get to interview Jenni Catron. Jenni is not only my friend, she is also my boss (see Question #10). Jenni is the executive director at Cross Point and the way she leads our team is inspiring. A week does not go by that I do not learn something new about leadership by watching and serving with her. Jenni just released her first book, JUST LEAD, co-authored by Sherry Surratt. You should check it out.
Ok, so Jenni…here we go!
1. As a women in leadership, what is the hardest part of leading men?
- You didn’t start with a soft ball! I think the hardest part in leading men is taking the time to build healthy relationships of mutual trust and respect. Sometimes we as women hinder the forming of these relationships because we allow our insecurities or fears to get the best of us. We often try to overcompensate and prove ourselves more than is necessary because we assume men won’t accept our leadership. I think we make a lot of assumptions about how men perceive us rather than opening the communication lines to start dialogue which leads to the building of those trusting and respectful relationships.
2. Why do you think people have surprise or issues with women in leadership?
- We all have a tendency to be fearful or tentative of something new or unknown. If you didn’t grow up with women in leadership, you may discover you have questions or uncertainties that you haven’t confronted. I think that is where most surprises or issues come from.
3. Who are your biggest heroes in leadership?
- Oh, wow… I have so many! My favorite leadership heroes from the Bible are Deborah and Nehemiah. From history they would be Queen Elizabeth I, Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc, and William Wilberforce and Ronald Reagan. From my life, it’s been a series of mentors and bosses who poured into me and drawn the best out of me.
4. When you feel stumped, where do you go to be inspired?
- The beach. Somehow on the beach with an endless view of sand and water, I can breathe again. The world doesn’t feel like it’s closing in and I start dreaming again. But on a normal day when I can’t get to the beach (which is most of the time), I usually go for a good run which helps me release some tension and find some space to think.
5. Do you find it harder to lead creative people than it is to lead analytical people?
- Honestly, no. I truly love leading creative people. Perhaps I just like the challenge ☺. What I love about leading creative people is that they always see possibilities. They don’t get tied down to routine or predictability, they want to dream bigger dreams and they want to do greater things. The bigger challenge is in helping creative and analytical people work together. Helping them both appreciate one another is a secret mission of mine.
6. What is one thing you have done as a leader and looked back and said, “I don’t know how we did that?”
- I think Cross Point’s story to this point is the giant answer to that. I would have never dreamed that God would allow us the opportunities, the influence and the growth we’ve seen in 10 years. It’s truly one of those things that you can’t take credit for… you just have to say, “thank you, God for allowing me to be a part”.
7. What is one thing you have done as a leader and looked back and said, “We should not have done that?”
- There have been several times where I have pushed forward with a decision in spite of the fact that I just didn’t feel comfortable with it. In hindsight I can see that God was trying to get my attention, but I wasn’t listening to that voice of discernment. I was pushing forward with my own agenda. Those memories are reminders to slow down and seek God.
8. What is the biggest obstacle for women in leadership?
- Confidence. Unfortunately a lot of women get bogged down in fears, insecurities and question marks about their leadership abilities, which stalls and sometimes completing inhibits their influence. That was the primary reason that Sherry and I wrote Just Lead! – to encourage women to overcome some of the hurdles that are holding them back.
9. If you could tell a room full of college girls 1 thing about leadership, what would it be?
- To just lead! Each of us has a sphere of influence where our leadership is needed. There is someone just a couple steps behind you who is desperate for you to pour into them. If we learned to seize these opportunities for influence early, we would be such stronger leaders later in life.
10. Who is your favorite employee? 🙂
- Today, you are for featuring this interview ☺
Don’t forget to go and check out JUST LEAD.
Where is one area in life that it is time for you to “just lead?”