Class of 2020 Women of Color LeadStrong Fellows

We asked our Fellows, “What does it mean to lead from the heart in a radical way to impact social change?” This is what they had to say:


Shalini Agrawal
Pathways to Equity

“Leading from the heart is leading with generosity, community and radical love.“


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“Build, lead and empower strong teams of individuals who have a passion and commitment to serve the community.”


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“To be a beacon of peace, embracing radical honesty, grounded purpose and equanimity to cultivate compassionate community healing. “

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Ginna Brelsford
GSA Network

“Social change starts with personal change - with our ability to look inside and find what drives our own growth and inspires growth in others - holistically, radically, with full and open hearts.”


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“Bring others with you, you can’t get there by yourself and everyone has something to offer.”

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“Invoking Audre Lorde today – ‘Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge. They are chaotic, sometimes painful, sometimes contradictory, but they come from deep within us.’”


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“As a woman and a person of color, to unapologetically lead from the heart IS a radical act. I believe that love, compassion, and respect for our interconnectedness is the core of social justice and will lead to positive social change.”


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"Leading from the heart in a radical way to impact social change requires that we enact love, boldness, courage, integrity, vulnerability and conviction. As integrity and virtue enable us to navigate discouraging paths, we must keep our vision and values at the forefront of our business and busyness. Leading from the heart is not popular and can be perceived as weakness in women of color. Daring to impact social change is missional, purpose-driven work with more private victories than public affirmation. Therefore, leading from the heart is one of the only sustainable ways to engage."


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"It means standing in your commitment. Insisting that your intelligence is legitimate and that the accepted way to do things is not the only way to do things, then get busy."


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“Leading from the heart is having courage and compassion to lead with authenticity, transparency, and humility, while appreciating, recognizing, and empowering others to build a strong vision together.”


“When we lead from the heart nothing can stop us. There is a fervency, a passion that gives us the boldness to impact change. I lead an organization where I was once a participant because I want to show girls that they can do anything. We give girls hope and the tools to know that the future is female.”

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“As an empath, I have a deep-seated need to relieve the pain of others. This passion, coupled with wisdom, creates a foundation for heart-aligned leadership. This way of being has been life giving.”


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“To lead from the heart in a radical way is to exploit the truth and/or the reality in a way that is healthy, effective and progressive. Hear, Expect, Adjust, Realize, Transform-HEART.”


“The best way to make systemic change is to the lead from the heart. This means focusing my energy on healing my own wounds and learning from others. Practicing empathy and solidarity creates resilient communities. When we feel and show love, we see the possibility of good in our future and are empowered to create the change we believe in.”


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“Leading from the heart means that I operate from a place of love and commitment for the people I am in service to. It means that I am actively fighting for a better tomorrow.”


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“When leading from my heart in a radical way for social change I draw from the strength, wisdom, creativity and resilience of ancestors, of our social justice movement, and my community for our self-determination. By listening to our hearts, we can listen to our desires and foster truth within ourselves in our community for our full selves to be nurtured, healed and developed.”

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“Trust oneself and create brave spaces for people to be courageous, listen with empathy, and build + activate community.”


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Rachel Wyley
SF Jazz

“Leading from the heart means leveraging, versus concealing, one’s humanity to create powerful narratives for social change alongside the communities one serves’ and to which one belongs.”