Becoming A Woman Leader Is Never Easy
Becoming a woman leader is never easy. In the funeral service profession, it has been difficult in the past for women to be recognized as leaders, much less be chosen or promoted. As we come to the end of Women’s History Month, we should always be grateful to the women leaders who came before us, influenced us, and made an impact on the world long before many of us were around and working. One of my favorite women leaders from the past is Eleanor Roosevelt. Her quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, has spoken to me when I feel down or less worthy about myself.
As a young woman growing up in a male-dominated profession, there were times that I felt like giving up and leaving. Some men told me I had no business being a funeral director, some women were not supportive and seemed to be pleased when I had failures. How did I survive over the years? Perhaps it was a little of the hardheaded German side of my family that never gave up or a wee bit of the stubborn Irish side that refused to leave. The truth was more than likely, that I felt fulfilled with helping others. My joy and energy came from serving and caring for families at one of the most difficult times in their lives. The feeling of making a difference in someone’s life is what keeps me in funeral service and connected to this day, even after I transitioned from day-to-day ownership. As our profession is experiencing many resignations, like so many others in business, let us be mindful that caregivers need our support, our guidance, and our open hearts. They, especially women, need to feel that they are appreciated, that you as employers and managers believe that they can become strong and successful leaders someday.
Speaking of women leaders, I recently interviewed a wonderful woman who serves our profession in a leadership capacity.
Barbara Kemmis, the Executive Director of Cremation Association of North America (CANA) joined me recently on the Your Funeral Coach Talks podcast. We discussed how she came to the association, her interview she thought she botched, and how she grew CANA 11 years ago to become the successful association it is today. Barbara shares that CANA has almost 10 women presidents in their association history (more than any in our profession). She talks about her early mentors, her incredibly efficient team serving 3,300 members, her most admired woman in history, and the newest book she is reading about women and examining their relationship with power. I hope you will listen in.
If I or any of my Collaborative Network Partners can be of support to you on how to better serve your staff and your families, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
My best always,