Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun was the keynote speaker at this year's Conference of Handcrafted Soapmakers. She started her keynote by sharing that she is currently on her fourth career. Moseley Bran's first career was as a prosecutor. She later served as a lawmaker at the local and state levels, including as an Illinois State Senator. Later, she was appointed Ambassador to New Zealand. Today, she is an entrepreneur and the leader of Ambassador Organics which sells certified organic, certified fair trade, biodynamic spices, coffee and tea.
Moseley Braun was very generous with her time after her presentation. Here she is patiently posing for a photo with me. (Thanks to Essential Wholesale, who sponsored Moseley Braun's appearance at the conference, and who graciously invited me to have lunch with them and the Ambassador.) During her talk, I took many notes. I knew she would be an impactful speaker and I wanted to share some of what I learned with you. Here are a few of the highlights.
Be careful. Moseley Braun referred to a play she saw recently about Queen Elizabeth. In it, the queen was in the habit of reminding those around her to be careful. She didn't mean it in a cautionary sense, as in to avoid danger. She meant it in the sense that we should take responsibility, be concerned, and have high regard for others.
She connected this to her passion for sustainability, which she defines as our responsibility to meet our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
You create the future with your actions, in present time. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, the present moment and what you do in it is changing the course of history. She said, and I'm paraphrasing, “Your perceptions determine your responses, and your responses impact how other people live.”
She reminded us that our responses either make things better or they make things worse. She challenged us to aim always for the former outcome.
Everyone is a leader because everyone can help someone. This really hit home with me because I have not always felt qualified to be a leader. For many years, I struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin as a capable, educated woman with unique qualifications to make the world a better place.
I have since learned that leadership is not a matter of qualifications. It's a matter of choice.
Question: What do you think of Moseley Braun's thought provoking remarks and challenges?