I didn’t expect to love Kathy Ireland.
In fact, when I first looked at the promotional materials for the conference I attended last weekend, I expressed frustration about the way the materials promoted her appearance.
She’s amazingly beautiful. Amazingly successful in business.
The promo materials for the conference highlighted both of these factors, but I only saw the photos. The inclusion of so many photos seemed superficial to me.
So I didn’t expect to love Kathy Ireland.
But I did.
From the moment she began her presentation, it became very clear to me that I had seriously underestimated Kathy Ireland’s beauty.
I’m not talking about her outward appearance, though she is stunning.
I am talking about the inner beauty that radiated as she talked about her life and experiences, her priorities, her faith, and her family.
Even more impressive to me: her humility and focus on others.
Here are a few things I loved about Kathy Ireland:
- She spoke boldly about her faith from the platform, to a group of over one thousand people. She did so without excuses, with sensitivity to differing viewpoints, completely unashamedly.
- She gave credit to others. She emphasized the importance of her team and their contributions. She downplayed her own fame, talent, ability, and accomplishments.
- She engaged and valued others. During her talk, during the question and answer time, and while interacting casually with people, Kathy listened, called people by name, asked questions. In fact, during the photo opportunity, her staff needed to remind people NOT to talk with her to keep the line moving. I heard later that this was less about people wanting to talk to Kathy (although I am sure they wanted to) and more about the fact that Kathy wanted to take time to get to know each person.
- She is just like me. Well, not really. She’s really tall. She’s a supermodel. She owns a 1.5 billion dollar company. AND… she’s a mom who juggles work and family. A mom who starts the day with her children, who sees them off to school, who makes difficult choices about how to spend her time each day, who loves her work and looks for ways to add value to others.
She is just like me and not much like me, all at once.
Tell me something! Have you ever found a role model in an unexpected place? Who inspires you? Who do you admire? Why?
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
“She spoke boldly about her faith from the platform, to a group of over one thousand people. She did so without excuses, with sensitivity to differing viewpoints, completely unashamedly.” Have we become too sensitive about offending people if we speak about our faith and refrain from speaking freely or is it ashamed? (From a Christian perspective I think of Peter denying knowing Jesus three times). I admire people that can speak proudly about their faith. It is not about judging others for what they are not, it is about telling people what you believe.
To be honest, for the most part, “regular” people inspire me. People like you, Becky, and another sisterfriend, Carol Dorn Sanders. People like my “angelfriend” Sue Pitts-Fisher, who died in January 2010 but her spirit lives on. People like Coach Ed Thomas, beloved football coach, spiritual leader, and teacher who was shot and killed by one of his own players in 2009. My parents. My sister. My husband. My kids — Jake (11) and Jeremy (9) who are wise beyond their years. These people keep me grounded while lifting me up — the “wind beneath my wings” so-to-speak. (sorry to get cheezy)
The primary “famous” people who inspire me are Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, from whom I’ve literally been transformed, more than once. But having read your post, I’d add Kathy Ireland to that list.
Angie — I completely agree with you. I am more likely to admire people I know closely and personally, ordinary people who shine in extraordinary ways. AND I think that’s why I was surprised by my reaction to seeing Kathy Ireland speak… because she was so authentic and down to earth despite her tremendous success.
I relished every word of this post. You reminded me, once again, of the value of relationships. I’ve been blessed to have so many different women encourage me–women I respect and admire and want to be like when I grow up. Several come to mind: Authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck and Donita K. Paul–each of these women in different ways have encouraged me as I transitioned from nonfiction to fiction writing. And I’ve thought, “I am so blessed to have them pour their expertise into me. To share their time and their talent with me.”
Their gift of relationship has made me wonder how can I go and do the same for someone else?
Yep! She DOES sound just like you! 🙂 As always, your light shines through this post. Thanks
I was at that same conference and saw Kathy Ireland speak as well. I completely agree with all of your points.
Toward the beginning of her speech I thought ‘here goes another one of those high school valedictorian’ type speech’s, but at the end I completely regretted thinking that.
Thanks for posting this.
Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. (Incidentally, if you haven’t seen it, I got an amazing response from Kathy to my blog post… it further reinforced my view of her. You can see the screen shot of our tweets on my Facebook page facebook.com/weavinginfluence.)
I’m super curious as to how you found my blog (and the post). Too bad we didn’t have a chance to connect at SuperConference. Maybe next year?
I hope you’ll come back to my blog again. I look forward to checking out your website also.
I found your blog via a Facebook link from Terry Bean. He reposted your story. I was intrigued as I saw the post related to GKIC Superconference.
Just liked your page and saw the tweet from Kathy Ireland…that is awesome! Keep up the great work.