In founding 4 companies, I learned in watching my teams develop that leadership comes in many forms and styles. I also witnessed the immensely powerful impact of mindset and communication skills on effectiveness, power, and authenticity. Combine all these with mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and strong values, and you have a leader who will be in transforming a company.
Leadership can develop in a variety of ways and under any circumstance. As the illegitimate child of an Irish Catholic woman, at birth I was sent to an orphanage. This was because of a belief that good Irish Catholic homes do not have illegitimate children. However, at the age of 3, at his insistence, and in opposition to my mother and grandmother, I was adopted by a physically abusive alcoholic man who had married my birth mother. Along with my brother, sister, and grandmother, they lived in the housing projects of South Boston.
Because my grandmother never wanted to see an illegitimate child in her good Catholic home, for the first three years, while she lived there, my father would feed me breakfast, dress me in a sun suit or snowsuit, and put me outside in a playpen at 5:30am before she woke up where I would stay until after she went to bed. When I was 6, my grandmother fell and was placed in a nursing home and as a result I moved into my home full time, joining my brothers and a sister.
I quickly took on the role as leader and protector of the others in the daily beatings because somehow I knew from the core of my being that I would survive and then I could do and be anything I wanted. Consequently, I created a series of dreams for myself and set out to live them as best I could.
To make a long story short, I graduated high school, became a Catholic nun and while there I attended college pursuing a career in social work. When I eventually left, I decided I wanted to see more of the world and so I traded my nun’s habit for an airline stewardess uniform, moved to NYC, and traveled over a million miles across the globe.
Later, I became a wife, a mother of 2, and after 15 years, a divorcee and a single parent. After getting an MA and becoming a licensed psychotherapist to support my children, I spent 20+ years in private practice. In addition, as a natural innovator, and to expand my reach,after becoming certified in 9 modalities of integrated health care, I created a method of my own, becoming a pioneer in energy medicine in the United States. As a result, I founded a nationally-recognized institute teaching the method of energy medicine I had created including the psycho/spiritual correlates of physical disease in 2 & 4 year programs that provided medical internships for my 3rd and 4th yr. students in medical facilities across the country.
When I dropped my youngest child at college, I knew I needed to stop and catch up with myself so, with an amazing support-staff in place, I pursued yet another dream. I moved to the beautiful Caribbean island of Anguilla. After ten glorious years in Anguilla, (managing the company through daily phone calls, emails, and fax plus flying back every 2 months) I felt a calling to return home when I was offered the chance to oversee energy medicine research across the country and become a clinical instructor at the University of Connecticut Medical School. As a result, I moved back to Connecticut in 2006.
In addition, I wanted to reach and help even more people by taking my story and message to a wider audience. Now, as an author, international speaker, coach, and consultant, I am sharing my message with the world that we are all called to leadership, and that we dream for a reason. Anything is possible if we take leadership of our lives, our companies, and/or our careers rather than passively letting them unfold. Under those conditions they fail.
I have tried to always live my life in integrity, kindness, and compassion, although as one client said “You hold my heart and kick my ass.” Living and working with purpose gives us the passion, drive, and heart-connection to know we are all in this together. As leaders, we are called to continuously grow and live our best self and to call that out in all those we are training, over-seeing, and supporting through our teams and our clients, or in any way we choose. We are creating the future no matter our past or perhaps because of it.
We can change the world is the phrase that Dr. Dorothy uses in the closing of this video. It provides her inspiring message of faith and humor for each of those who watch this 40 minute video of how she came to believe that anything is possible, even changing the world.
Transforming Your Style of Leadership
Begin with this Leadership Self-Assessment Tool