March is Women’s History Month in the U.S., and March 8 was International Women’s Day. Beehive is celebrating both with a month-long recognition of women leaders who inspire our team in the hopes of inspiring others.
We’re excited to highlight LeAnn Case, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications, The Servion Group. LeAnn has more than 20 years of marketing and communications leadership experience in the financial services industry. She helps organizations develop internal and external strategies that deliver consistent growth through marketing, strategic business planning, coaching and communication.
What can individuals do to create organizational cultures where difference is valued and celebrated?
My advice would be to be intentional about creating a positive culture and focus on creating experiences where people feel seen, heard and valued. One way I put this into action is looking for practical ways to foster connections, looking to create conversation around how we might support each other. For example, when I’m leading meetings, I don’t always jump right into the agenda. Instead, I start with an informal conversation, asking questions like “What strength do you want to contribute to this project?” “Why are you excited to be here?” Or “Tell me a story about when our team was thriving?” This allows people to connect their own purpose to others and shows that you care. These conversations are a natural spiral up and get people sharing creatively.
This practice creates a safe space. and creates an atmosphere where all team members, even introverts, feel comfortable talking. This in turn creates connections. It’s so easy to do and more important now than ever when we find ourselves in this environment where we’re all so busy with back-to-back meetings.
What advice or support was most valuable for you as you’ve grown in your career?
The best advice I’ve received is from a leadership coach I’ve been working with for the past few years. She helped me focus on my strengths instead of leaning into limiting beliefs from my past that were hindering my definition of success and contributing to self-doubt.
It can be difficult for women to give themselves permission to take time to reflect and notice their thoughts. I learned how helpful it can be to recognize the gifts that you have been given and focus on your accomplishments instead of living in a place of negativity which can be exhausting. Instead, take time to focus on all that you have achieved because what we appreciate appreciates. If there are areas where you still want to achieve success – your relationships, finances, physical health– identify what success looks like to you and outline what you have to believe about yourself to get there.
Building on this advice, I’ve found that if I have a friend or colleague who is leaning toward self-doubt, it can be eye-opening to simply help them recenter their thoughts by creating awareness around the doubt. (Sometimes, we can’t see our own doubt spiral.) When I see it, I get intentional about helping them reframe a lie they may be believing about themselves into a positive truth. Then, they can focus on what is possible versus what feels impossible or uncertain.
How can women be a strong mentor or resource to other women?
Have grace for others because you never know what someone might be going through in their life, and someday you may want someone to provide grace for you in return. I’ve found the best way to mentor someone is to model having grace for yourself. I used to think I had to have all the answers. But over time, I learned the importance of becoming vulnerable with others.
I grew up in a German farm-family and this behavior wasn’t intuitive to me. But what I’ve found, is that when I’m vulnerable with those that I work with, trust grows and my cup gets filled. Being a real and authentic leader and colleague allows others to feel comfortable about being themselves. This helps set the stage for real connections and growth to happen.
We are thrilled to share LeAnn’s unique experience in the financial industry for our blog series. Check back soon for our next feature!