The L³ Alliance (Lifestyle, Legacy, and Leading by example) is the women’s group for the Wells International Foundation. Founder & CEO, Dr. Monique Y. Wells, believes it is important for high-achieving professional women to keep the idea of legacy “top of mind” and to observe how doing so influences their impact as leaders. She invites women leaders to reflect on this concept by contributing to the What Does Legacy Mean to You? article series.
Cathy Niezen has been building communities since the age of twelve. The founder of Community Build Consultancy, Preguntas con Propósito (Meaningful Questions), and Room for Leadership, she recently assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer and Legacy Keeper at Falling Awake (fallingawake.com). We are pleased to have her share her thoughts on legacy with our readers today.
L³ Alliance: What does the word “legacy” mean to you?
CN: It means the passing of wisdom to keep transformation alive.
L³ Alliance: How does it apply to you right now as a woman who is a leader in your field?
CN: I want my legacy to be inspiring others to live authentically, serving grassroots communities, and working in collaborative ways using sacred economy.
L³ Alliance: Do you believe there is a relationship between leadership and legacy?
L³ Alliance: Describe for us what the relationship is.
CN: Leadership to me is having the privilege to be able to influence individuals that for one reason or another see me as a role model. Legacy to me is when others want to carry forward an aspect of a belief system or practice.
To be a leader, you must be living your legacy. I believe legacy is where real leaders distinguish themselves. Leaders are advocates and many times that advocacy produces a long-standing legacy.
L³ Alliance: How can keeping legacy “top of mind” help you be a better leader?
CN: In my case, I need to think about the number of generations that my work will continue to be relevant and impactful for. I also have to consider how can I help accelerate the transformation of the masses in the relative present moment.
I cannot build my legacy on my own. I need to have a supportive team, advocates, and implementers. I need to receive feedback and go back to the drawing board again and again. I am a leader in each of these stages and with each of these groups.
Because the information and initiatives move through the power of my influence, I need to keep myself grounded, in collaboration, and in persistence by holding my vision relentlessly. If legacy is not top of mind, none of my dreams for a better world would happen—I would think small, have no team, no advocates, no big desires…
I believe that thinking and acting towards legacy is what makes me, and others, be seen as leaders.