Pursue Your Passion to be an Innovatove Leader

I recently spoke at Stanford University on Innovative Leadership, detailing successful strategies and research-based leadership principles.

Inspiring others to lead and innovate is my passion. I am a professor, author and speaker and I get to interact frequently with many different kinds of people who are seeking information on leadership and innovation. I am fortunate to be able to share what has worked for me but also, what strategies work for leaders and innovators I have worked with and profiled in my Transforming Your STEM Career Through Leadership and Innovation book.

An inspirational leader I have chosen to feature as the STEM Spotlight Profile, is Stephanie Cole Hill, the President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions – Civil Product Line.

For career and leadership development, Stephanie encourages others to:
◾Create a track record of success
◾Choose the right attitude
◾Be authentic
◾Build business acumen
◾Step outside your comfort zone
◾Engage and care about the team around you

Virtual Collaboration

She also recently wrote for the Baltimore Sun how vital it is in any career to have someone to turn to for professional guidance. Today, this can be implemented more readily through the use of technology and electronic communities. That ‘someone’ can be a member of your social media network, a virtual mentor, coach, or even a LinkedIn group member with similar goals, despite the fact that he or she is located half way around the world. The point is, don’t limit your search for resources, inspiration, or role models to those in your physical world – go virtual.

Innovation Leaders Carry Passion

In doing the research for the book, I found Stephanie’s approach was common to innovation leaders that I profiled. Each leader pursued something they were passionate about which drove them to go the extra mile, to lead within their field.

What’s Your Passion?

Indicators of passion are what matters to you, gets you fired up, makes you happy, or even makes you cry.
◾Identify where your passion is valued – who else does this matter to? Individuals, groups, corporations, industries, or countries (that’s right – consider going global!)
◾Make a business case for your passion.
◾Find the right “climate” for you to develop as a leader and innovator within the focus of your passion. The right environment will play a significant role in your success as an innovative leader.
◾Stay the course through the tough times. Above all, don’t be afraid to fail!!!
◾Don’t be afraid if no one else has done it or if no one who looks like you has done it. You can find mentors, support, and success in a variety of people and places.
◾Commit yourself to a life-long learning curve to develop as a leader and innovator.
◾Know that you are a winner!

Leadership in Personal Life

But don’t limit the recognition of your innovative, leadership portfolio to the professional environment. Many of us are innovative leaders in the community, in our personal lives, and at home. Recognizing that that you already have these skills at work in some areas of your life will motivate you to develop them in your professional and career endeavors.

Here’s to the innovator and the leader in you!

With great confidence in you,


“Transforming Your STEM Career Through Leadership and Innovation is an important addition to every successful woman’s book shelf, and to the collections of public and university libraries and career centers. Readers can’t help but feel empowered to succeed.”

Peggy A. Pritchard, Editor , Success Strategies for Women in Science: A Portable Mentor


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