Self-awareness in Leadership – by Deborah Levine

Chattanooga’s Lean In Chapter began its exploration of global leadership where leadership begins: self-awareness. Why is self-awareness the integral ingredient to real leadership? These Women Groundbreakers answered that question with the energy and passion of people who have “been there – done that.” They shared stories of how you have to know yourself, strengths, weaknesses, values, before you can lead others. Knowing what drives you and feeds your soul gives you the ability to overcome your weaknesses and challenges. Understanding your roots gives awareness to and appreciation of other cultures. Self-awareness begins a process of growth which leads to change which should ultimately extend out to help others.


Traci Day, Corporate Education Specialist
     Never stop your journey of self. It is through self discovery that the world opens to your gifts and you create a positive light in the world.

Denise Reed, Chief Business Connector, Public Speaker, Women’s Advocate
     With self-awareness your empathy grows for others. Once you know who you can be in the world, your vision to create a better place and experience is possible.

LeeAnn Barron, Consultant
     We have to know and understand who we are and what we value in order to help others, lead teams, learn from our mistakes, and realize our personal impact on the world. Practicing self-awareness is a great example to those you lead, it gives them an example to follow.

Brenda Freeman Short, Teacher/Lawyer
Self-awareness allows growth and builds confidence. Sharing dreams inspires others to dream no matter their circumstances

Victoria Overholser, Executive Director of Grassroots MidTown
Accepting the truth of yourself, the positives and the challenges, makes you who you are and who you will become. Self-awareness creates acknowledgment of how we can contribute through example.

Luronda Jennings, Executive Director of Journey Educational Services
It is vital to reflect on every life experience in order to become aware of your uniqueness and remain aware to ensure continuous growth.

Cathryn Cohen, Retired Attorney
Self-awareness in and of itself gives rise to leadership. Others cannot take away pride, strength, and sense of self.

Shawn Kurrelmeier-Lee, Educator/Administrator
Self-awareness allows you to focus on your vision. It allows you to be uncluttered by her own self issues that can get in the way or even take over.

Tina Player, Event Coordinator/Planner
Be authentic and honest with yourself. This self-awareness sets you apart and people will be honest with you knowing your truth and what you believe.


These words of wisdom apply not only to Big Picture thinking, but to the smallest of details in our everyday lives. We began with our names, what they mean to us and our families and how they shape our self-awareness. Every time we introduce ourselves and give our name, we are sharing its history and meaning. Others do the same when they tell us their names. Are you aware of the exchange of cultural artifacts that takes place in a simple introduction?

Next time you introduce yourself, say your name slowly. Be aware of the sound and music of it. Picture a friend or loved one who smiled when they said your name. Remember why you like your given name, or why you’re using a nickname. When you give your name the power it deserves, we see your authenticity and inner strength. Now listen closely to the other person’s name, the sound of it, and the face behind it. Savor the experience as global leadership moment.

You can join our exploration of global leadership with our text and workbook: Matrix Model Management System: Guide to Cross-cultural Wisdom

global leadership System


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