It’s interesting, I have had lots of great mentors over my career. However, I am inspired not by one of my mentors, but by one of my staff members. Sometimes you come across someone who is talented, bright, energetic and they have the proverbial “it” factor. The individual who inspires me is Lashell Mindingall, the Director, Performance Excellence at Events DC.
I am inspired by her because although she faced much adversity growing up and would easily have been counted out as making it in the world, she overcame the obstacles she faced. She wanted a better life, had dreams, hopes and set goals for herself. She attended Rutgers University and decided she wanted to stay in International Housing to learn about people who were different from her and came from all over world. She was determined to expand the landscape of her life and not be limited from where she began. You would think that with all the challenges she would be bitter because she did not grow up with a lot of advantages. However, despite where she started, Lashell has excelled. She is the consummate cheerleader of our team, is continuously developing herself both personally and professionally, and has an unbelievable work ethic. She is passionate about her work and wants to ensure that every element of any programming for our staff is impactful.
When a leader is exposed to someone who is different than themselves, and takes the time to listen and learn from the differences between themselves and staff members, it provides the opportunity to understand what motivates people. It also enlarges your vision, makes you more reflective, forces you to be better because you want to make sure that you don’t fail those individuals who look to you for leadership. You want to be better so you can help them develop and move to the next level. Once your team member moves to the next level whether that is with you or somewhere else, you have done your job. There is nothing like being inspired by a member of your team because you see things differently, with open, fresh eyes that point future forward on the road to endless possibilities.