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Espirit de Corps

Leadership Challenges

teamwork-holding-handsThis past February 24th, my Neurosurgeon informed me that I had spondylolisthesis in my lumbar 5 vertebrae which could only be fixed through surgery and that he had an opening on March 4th.  Recovery time = three months. WHOA, Hey, slow your roll there a minute Dr. Neurosurgeon, I’m too busy for this right now. I have two upcoming luncheons and I am in the middle of planning a huge annual conference, I can’t possibly work surgery into my busy schedule before mid-May.

He looked at me straight in the eye and asked me what the organization would do if I had a massive heart attack or if I died. He insisted that my health come first. The next day Assistant Director, Sonia Boniface, and I came up with a work plan that would allow me to have surgery and keep the Conference on schedule.

On Wednesday, March 18th I was wheeled into surgery and became the recipient of two brand new titanium rods and a cage to protect them in my spine. On Monday, March 23rd I was sitting at the computer in my home office working through email, text and phone calls to communicate with Sonia back at the WLK offices. We were a great team and got a lot done. I got off the pain meds and felt so good that I went back to the office at the beginning of the next week.

Shortly thereafter I got an infection in the incision; a setback I did not need or anticipate. Still through it all Sonia, our web & graphics guru Nicole Mueller, and members of our board pulled me through and together we launched the successful 16th annual Women’s Business & Leadership Conference.

Esprit de Corps. Build it and live it.

teamwork-carol-soniaI am thankful that when Janet Holloway founded Women Leading Kentucky she surrounded herself with the smartest women (and a few good men) to help fulfill her vision. Still today, these dynamic individuals guide the organization by serving on the Board of Directors and Advisory Council and are always available to lend their expertise.

Then Janet hired Sonia, one of the smartest decisions she ever made in my opinion. Every organization needs a worker bee and Sonia is that and more! As we approach our 17th year the willingness to work together for the good of the organization that Janet built in those early days carries us on today. Esprit de Corps, the spirit that makes the body strong.

So how exactly do you build a spirit within your organization that puts everyone on the same page working for the same goal? Let’s talk about that over the next few weeks. I would love to hear your stories about building a top-notch team.  I’ll share your experiences in this blog as time and space permit. Feel free to email me at

Leadership Lessons Learned

In early October I found myself once again in excruciating pain only to find out that the infection I had in April never really cleared up. I found myself being wheeled into round two of surgery followed by a week’s stay in the hospital while they waited on results to determine the severity of the infection. Worst case scenario; the infection was in my bloodstream, bones or even the hardware in my spine. If so, I would go home and spend six to eight weeks administering really strong antibiotics intravenously. WHOA, Hey, slow your roll there a minute, Dr. Center for Disease Control, I don’t have time for this! I have two luncheons, a workshop, networking event and the entire winter Roundtable season to plan.

Famous last words. As I lay helpless in my hospital room, I came to the realization that I could trust Sonia, Janet and others to successfully carry on in my absence.  Fortunately, test results showed the infection was superficial and all that was needed was two weeks of oral antibiotics. My lesson learned is that the esprit de corps, which pulled me through the first time, still flourishes at Women Leading Kentucky. This is something for which I am grateful and will never take for granted.

Esprit de Corps. Build it and live it.  

4 Responses so far.

  1. Carol, I think I speak for many when I say I am glad you are healing better now, and that you have such a great team at Women Leading Kentucky. We certainly all benefit from your teamwork, and an outsider like myself would have never known there were struggles – the highest compliment, I believe!

    All of you ladies do a wonderful job, and I’m proud to have attended so many of your events. Looking forward to the conference in 2016. Hoping everyone on your team is healthy and at 100% for the holidays and conference season!

  2. Tina Craig says:

    Wow, Congratulations on coming out of all that a stronger woman and more power to you for having the strength to allow others to step in when needed. This was a great story, thank you for sharing.

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