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Leading with Intention: Overcoming Obstacles on the Path to Leadership

Leading with Intention: Overcoming Obstacles on the Path to Leadership

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Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take The Lead Women and previous president of Planned Parenthood, joined Worth for the 2023 Women & Worth Summit. She discussed the transformative power of intention and the intriguing concept that what may seem like obstacles—such as sexism, racism, or homophobia—can actually be opportunities.

Feldt's perspective hinges on the mindset we approach challenges with. She asserts that the line between an obstacle and an opportunity is defined by how we think about, approach, and use those difficulties to grow. The key, she explains, is "intention."

Intention and ambition are often conflated, but Feldt makes an essential distinction between the two. Ambition reflects hopes, dreams, and desires, whereas intention embodies the determination, vision, courage, and action to realize those dreams.

This concept is not just a lofty idea but a practical tool that can be applied to any situation, no matter how dire. Feldt illustrates this point by referring to the tumultuous year 2020—a year marked by unemployment, pain, and suffering but also by innovation. Remarkably, women started opening businesses at an unprecedented rate, leading to a near-equal number of women-owned and men-owned businesses in the U.S.

Feldt shares her personal story, where she initially aimed to become the perfect wife and mother, only to find herself unfulfilled. Pursuing higher education was her escape, but it brought a new challenge: she didn't know what she wanted to do. This confusion led her to write a term paper on Planned Parenthood, which, in turn, set her on a path to becoming its President.

Feldt's journey illustrates the dynamic interplay between vision and intention. It's a pathway that she believes every woman can walk.

Gloria Feldt's talk presented a thought-provoking and empowering perspective on facing challenges in life and career. By framing obstacles as opportunities and fostering an intentional mindset, she encourages women to take control of their destinies, transform their challenges into strengths, and prove that they can lead with vision, courage, and joy. Her ideas serve as both an inspiration and a practical guide for women to embrace their potential.

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