Why Women Must Lead Together

NLC panel of women leaders at the 2017 Congressional City Conference.
NLC panel of women leaders at the 2017 Congressional City Conference.

Across the country, women knit together the fabric of our communities. As residents, business entrepreneur and, of course, as local officials, women lead by action and example. At the National League of Cities, we’re proud of the women who have answered the call of service and taken office. NLC celebrates them this month by sharing their voices and stories on our website, blog and social media channels.

This is a guest post by Councilmember Candace S. Williams, Village of Oakwood, Ohio.

Too often our impact as women is relegated to being mothers, wives, daughters or playing other supporting roles. The way in which women navigate leadership roles is unique: our capacity to love and nurture, coupled with our ability to prioritize and manage, directly translates to successful leadership.

With our fierce strength, we have the extraordinary ability to weave together a web of many details—essential to leadership at every level of government. Our power is both collective, in nurturing development, and individual, using our personal narratives to understand others’ perspectives and connect to their differences to create positive, holistic outcomes for those we serve.

Service is the embodiment of women and it is synonymous with leadership. Leadership requires servanthood; it is the instinctive qualities of empathy and compassion that make female leadership both significant and powerful. I did not decide to run as a local elected official; I was called.

I was approached by several individuals in the community who saw me serving in some capacity or felt that I had the heart to serve in the best interest of others. Their trust in my service compelled me to accept the responsibility of being a local, elected official and now fulfills my inherent yearning to serve others on a larger scale.

Mentoring and networking are crucial components for our success as women. Women in leadership can offer positive insight, guidance, and development to each other and our relationships can become mutually beneficial opportunities for growth. I believe the most profound aspect of Women’s History Month is accentuating the value of supporting each other to increase awareness of our significance in leadership, emphasize our presence, and promote solidarity that supports our roles, our voices, and the causes we champion.

Women’s History Month is about celebrating the unyielding fires within each of us that have created a relentless force, trailblazing many paths for us to explore. It is an opportunity to pause and reflect on how very far we have come and how much farther we still must go, illustrating exactly why women must continue to lead.

This is a time to recognize each of our accomplishments, past and present, and to continue to give each other unconditional support as we strive to achieve even more in benefitting the lives of others.

Let us remember, this month and every month, the tremendous impact of mentoring and networking and the doors opened to our girls, young women, and female colleagues chartering new territory. Happy Women’s History Month to my fellow phenomenal women in leadership and to our future female leaders.

May we all lead…together!

Candace S. Williams
Councilmember from the Village of Oakwood, Ohio
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