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Effective Leadership: Learning How to Move Forward

September 27, 2022

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Lynne Gilliland

Lynne Gilliland Consulting

We know that failing is expected, but is it possible that our failures could also be our biggest teachers? This week in Lessons from Leaders, host Lynne Gilliland sits down with three leaders who share their experiences and views on failing, the curiosity that comes with lessons learned, and how to move forward, stronger.

Michele Laird

Michèle Laird, the Senior Vice President for Programs at Pact, quickly shared her take on failure and the importance of trying and being willing to fail. She shares that when her family sits around the table for dinner, she asks them, “What did you fail at today?”

In this episode, Michele talks about normalizing failure and encouraging looking at what may not have gone “correctly” and learning from what happened.

If people aren’t failing, then I think that possibly they are actually not pushing beyond the envelope. They are not innovating or not going for that hard thing and stretching. That’s why it is important to recognize and celebrate failure. – Michèle Laird

She also shared a blurb from Janet Finch, the author of White Oleander, who says, “The Phoenix must burn to emerge.” Michèle says that a big ‘burning failure’ may not be the goal, but that the lessons learned from failure are ones she encourages all entrepreneurs, CEOs, and leaders to use to evolve further.

Listen to the episode below about her experience with failure and how she has built a community culture around accepting mistakes and moving forward with innovation, recognition, and celebration.

Janti Soeripto

Janti Soeripto the President and CEO of Save The Children US, a leading humanitarian organization for children. Her story of leadership is diverse and unique in her experience. With 20 years in the consumer sector, selling tissues, diapers, and — as she mentions — even frozen peas, she shares the similarities and the differences in her leadership upbringing to where she is now.

This episode is not just a must-listen because of Janti’s story of leadership, but because of our conversation regarding the story of her current leadership. When we started talking about what it is like to lead in this climate of the ever-changing workforce, social injustice, a pandemic, and much more, here is what Janti started with:

You have to be constantly adaptive… The process of planning, thinking of the worst thing that could happen, and thinking of the best thing that could happen, while that is valuable, do not put too much emphasis on what the outcome could be months from now, because who could have predicted what was going to happen [in the last two years]. Let it go. Stay curious about what we don’t know.

Janti is a seeker of knowledge, innovation, and wisdom; it is something I deeply admire and loved to glean from in this episode.

Mishelle Rudzinski

Mishelle Rudzinski is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of SPOON.

Mishelle’s story of leadership and co-founding an organization is like many leaders: She saw a need and decided to fill it. Her leadership story began at a deeply personal level with the adoption of her daughter. A journey thathich included an incorrect diagnosis and severe malnourishment.

Her own daughter’s experience with malnutrition led to the research of children everywhere who have been living outside of families in what is termed as residential care.

We couldn’t find any solid answers, and we couldn’t find any organizations that were addressing this. We thought we would go volunteer somewhere, but we couldn’t find an organization. This led to us reaching out to the right people, networking with them, and saying together, ‘Let’s solve the problem.’ That led to the beginning of SPOON.

Mishelle’s questioning and her curiosity around finding a need and taking it step by step, without getting stopped by the ‘how,’ is just the beginning of her inspirational journey in leadership.


Real conversations. Current topics. Honest leaders. Found where ever you listen to podcasts. You can hear top tips from leaders across the world. Lynne and her guests discuss everything from success to failure, fear to courage, and the path to growth. Listen today!


Check out Humentum’s course – Leadership Behavior for NGOs