Make sure you have a backup plan in case your first plan needs to be altered.

We are living in the Renaissance of Work. Just like great artists know that an empty canvas can become anything, great leaders know that an entire organization — and the people inside it — can become anything, too. Master Artists and Mastering the Art of Leadership draw from the same source: creation. In this series, we’ll meet masters who are creating the future of work and painting a portrait of lasting leadership. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Lillee Jean.

Lillee Jean is a writer, filmmaker, producer, director, model, actress, environmental activist, and anti-bullying advocate. As a filmmaker, she often incorporates her passions for fashion, lifestyle, health, beauty, and advocacy into her films. As someone who has been the target of an organized cyberstalking campaign against her, she is a fierce advocate when it comes to cyberbullying. Being Jewish has led to anti-semitic hate, slurs and threats directed at her and her family. Her fight continues for stronger laws to be enforced, with consequences for violators.

Thank you for joining us. Our readers would enjoy discovering something interesting about you. What are you in the middle of right now that you’re excited about personally or professionally?

I recently completed my documentary “Project: Bullyish” and am now filming Season 2 of my web-series, “Mind Over Beaute”, which examines what makes us feel beautiful inside. My goal is for whether it’s inner strength or just feeling good about yourself, everyone will find something interesting to discuss.

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Who is the leader that has influenced you the most, and how?

It has been invaluable to have the encouragement, and patience of my family and friends to allow me to grow into who I am.

Sometimes our biggest mistakes lead to our biggest discoveries. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a leader, and what did you discover as a result?

The biggest lesson I have learned from my mistakes is that listening to your gut feelings is extremely important. In the beginning, I often doubted myself and hesitated, but I learned over time that listening to my inner voice and logic is one of the most valuable resources a leader can have.

How has your definition of leadership changed or evolved over time? What does it mean to be a leader now?

At first, I was a complete micromanager, but I have learned that being a good leader involves listening to your employees, sharing ideas, and letting them grow into their roles.

Success is as often as much about what we stop as what we start. What is one legacy leadership behavior you stopped because you discovered it was no longer valuable or relevant?

As a result of my experience, I have learned not to enable people’s bad behavior. In my experience, accepting people for who they are, and letting go when needed, are the keys to preventing bad behavior. Even when you try your hardest, you may not be able to salvage a situation.

What is one lasting leadership behavior you started or are cultivating because you believe it is valuable or relevant?

I insist that everyone listens to and supports each other. An idea is never bad, just a seed that needs to be nurtured to grow into a better idea.

What advice would you offer to other leaders who are stuck in past playbooks and patterns and may be having a hard time letting go of what made them successful in the past?

Always walk forward not backwards in the projects you work on, to succeed. Learning from the past can help shape ideas, but that’s not what the future should be. As we go about our daily business, we must keep the bigger picture in mind and live in the moment.

Many of our readers can relate to the challenge of leading people for the first time. What advice would you offer to new and emerging leaders?

Pay attention to the people you have hired as members of your team. It is important to welcome new ideas, and to encourage them to contribute and to not be afraid to share their opinions.

Based on your experience or research, what are the top five traits effective leaders exemplify now? Please share a story or an example for each.

1. It is always important for a leader to listen to those around him or her. When you don’t utilize the skills of your team, what’s the point?

2. Make sure you have a backup plan in case your first plan needs to be altered.

3. Honesty and integrity are the hallmarks of good leadership. You can use adversity to your advantage if you use it properly to change a situation.

4. We should embrace change as it is inevitable. Despite the fact that you can’t live in the past, you can learn from it, so you can ensure your vision and passion are heard and seen.

5. It is human to make mistakes. The key to moving forward is to embrace the fact that everyone makes mistakes, even the person in charge. It is impossible to be perfect.

American Basketball Coach John Wooden said, “Make each day your masterpiece.” How do you embody that quote? We welcome a story or example.

My embodiment of this is treating every day with enthusiasm and giving my full potential to everything I do. No less is expected from the people I hire.

What is the legacy you aspire to leave as a leader?

The goal is to make a meaningful contribution to society. Writing, directing, and producing films for me is about learning, provoking conversation. I want people to enjoy, and be entertained. I want, at the end of the day, people to say they really had an interesting experience when immersing them in the things I produce.

How can our readers connect with you to continue the conversation?


Mind Over Beaute Episodes:

Voyager Episodes:





Mind Over Beaute Podcast:



The Lillee Jean Show:

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!