This year is my third year as a Women in Business Society member and my second year volunteering for the Smart Women Make Change Banquet.

The Smart Women Make Change banquet is held each year to support Junior Achievement of North Florida which is a local and national award-winning program teaching girls about money, careers, and entrepreneurship.

This is an essay I wrote for a leadership class about the keynote speaker at the banquet, Kathleen Murphy.

Leadership Role Model

Recently I had attended the “Smart Women Make Change” Junior Achievement Girls signature event while volunteering for the women in business society at UNF. At this event the keynote speaker was Kathleen Murphy, who was named one of the 50 most powerful women in business by Fortune Magazine, out ranking Oprah Winfrey. After hearing her speak at the event and researching who Kathleen Murphy was my leadership role model and expressed similar traits and goals that I set for myself in my leadership career.

Kathleen Murphy is president of Personal Investing, which is a Fidelity Investments company that provides retail brokerage, mutual funds, managed accounts, annuities to millions of investors. (About Kathleen Murphy, 2012) The first thing that I noticed about Murphy is how much she was willing to give back to the community through her field. JAGirl$ is a program in Jacksonville for young girls who’s mission is to, “prepare girls and young women for economic success by providing hands-on experiences and educational opportunities that honor, value and celebrate the female perspective, experiences and unique development” (About JA Girls, 2012).  Murphy took the time out of her schedule to come and speak about how to be successful in her field and life. As a leader I also think that it’s great to give back to the community by speaking from personal experience and advising the next generation. Murphy showed leadership traits such as being self-assured and free of doubt, she was articulate in the message she was presenting, and insightful towards the audience she was speaking to.  As a leader I also feel that I have these traits and appreciate the importance of making my values and goals relevant to the group that I am speaking to.

During her keynote speech Murphy stressed the importance of keeping a positive attitude in situation you are placed in and to celebrate your success when you accomplish your goals.  Looking at Murphy from the situational leadership perspective I would definitely say that we both share the traits of coaching leaders. With a high directive and high supportive behavior, Coaching leaders encourage their followers to reach their goals while supporting their emotional needs at the same time (Northhouse, 2013).

Another important note that Murphy stressed was the importance of just showing up because you never know what opportunities you may be given. I believe that everyday we are given opportunities to better ourselves but sometimes we are just too lazy or set in our ways to take them. However, I think living life to its fullest means taking these chances and learning from the outcomes even if they are not what’s expected.  Murphy reminded the audience that the measure of a person is what you do with what you have and to do something with the gifts that we are given. As a leader I would interpret this to mean that we should always value our individuality. It is important to value even what you may think are the smallest pieces in a puzzle because at the end of the day we are all connected and everything fits together to make a bigger picture.

Works Cited

“About Kathleen Murphy.” Junior Achievement, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <;.

“About JA Girl$.” Junior Achievement, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2012. <;.

Northhouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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