Leadership

3 Lessons: Driven by Purpose

By / Jun 2, 2019 (Willie Petersen)

Mika Leonard, Chief Operating Officer of the Native American Financial Services Association, approaches her work with an open heart and mind.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I credit much of my professional success to surrounding myself with smart people. Utilize your network. I’m blown away by those willing to provide mentorships and introductions. You might also be amazed by what you can learn from a simple conversation. This, of course, works both ways—you should also be willing to help others.

Remain passionate. It may seem overly simple, but I truly believe it’s important to remain passionate about your work. I am a Native American woman—an enrolled member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. It’s no surprise that I choose to work in this field because I have ties to it. This work allows me to give back to my own community, something that’s incredibly meaningful.

Develop cultural competency. I have spent much of my professional life working with Native American communities. In this line of work, having a strong cultural competency is key. And as our world continues to become more diverse, we must all maintain respect and open-mindedness. Ask questions and never assume to know the answers.

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