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Pay it Forward


I am very privileged to have had excellent leader role models in my life. 

In recent years, I have been advised that being a leader means you'll be lonely, but I don't think that this has to be true. I have built an excellent personal network of diverse, strong women and femme leaders across the globe. They are my strength when I am in doubt, and it has prepared me to help and support other women who may be like myself in the past. I wish to be like my first mentor and the leaders I respect. 

I want to help connect diverse women and femmes in education who are leaders, or aspiring leaders, so that they can also feel supported.

The very first woman who took me under her wing was already fighting a battle to be heard as a woman herself, and also as a woman of color. She is an absolute professional. I was only in my position as an international teacher for my third year, but she could 'see me' and my light which laid under the shadows of those who were rewarded, even when they acted in an unprofessional manner.

We would chat outside of school, under strict rules that we were not friends at work, because she needed a sounding board for the everyday micro-or, not so micro-aggressions during the school day. In return, I received advice and important knowledge from a critical, feminist thinker who guided me on how to thrive in this type of environment.

I am not perfect. I never claim to be. 

I make mistakes, but I take responsibility for them. I learned how to do this from my life in a Fortune 500 company when I was lucky enough to work for a caring and thoughtful leader in IT for Manufacturing and Engineering, and who went on to become CIO at that company. His philosophy was that we needed to admit mistakes in order to be solution oriented.

Not all cultures, nor even US company cultures, agree with this philosophical approach, but it made sense to me and it is probably why I went into teaching. Reflecting and learning from mistakes is key and I love to do it.

These two people, as well as others over my twenty year teaching career, invested their time in me and trusted me, even when I didn't have the confidence in myself.I have learned from many types of leaders over the years and I finally decided that I was truly ready to be a reflective, caring leader.

I moved to Kyoto, Japan, this year and, since I have also enjoyed the support of some of the women who work with WomenEd, I decided that I would like to help organize aspiring women and femme leaders of all backgrounds, educational expertise and passions to come together to see if we can build a WomenEd network here in Japan. 

I am brand new to the country, so I don't know what that may entail, but I am willing to take the first step and have a chat with women across Japan to see what we need and what can be done and will commit to doing all that I can.I would like to 'pay it forward.'

Peace to you.

Please get in touch with Heather on LinkedIn or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in joining a network in Japan.

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A Heartfelt Thanks to #10%Braver


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Monday, 24 June 2024

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