Milestone Blog

Leaders in the Trenches: Seeing More in Someone Than They See in Themselves

Posted by Milestone Leadership on May 16, 2019 11:54:09 AM


Rarely do we get where we’re going alone. Every stage of life and career is influenced by others—and those who see and enable potential in the people around them have some of the greatest impact of all. Personal and professional success comes, in part, as a result of leaders who take an active interest and role in developing team members. When a leader pushes the boundaries of an employee’s perception of his or her capabilities, it not only develops new skills and acumen, it builds the kind of confidence needed in fast-paced, ever-shifting work environments.

We invite you to read a great perspective on recognizing and cultivating potential from one of Milestone Leadership’s Soderquist Fellows:

“When I began working for Milestone Leadership as a new fellow, I walked in the door feeling like I was just a student. I was convinced l was incapable of taking on the things I was told I would be doing.

"I kept thinking to myself, ‘Don’t you know I don’t know how to do this? Why do you trust me enough to give me this role? I’m unqualified…don’t you see this?'

"Yet, every personal doubt of mine was met with encouragement from my leaders. I was surrounded by people who believed in me and my capacity to learn—they saw my potential before I saw it myself.

"I was pushed and stretched in ways I couldn’t have imagined, challenged every day by people who trusted and cared for me. I learned I could be the person they saw in me, and I began to move outside of my comfort zone toward a role bigger than I would have ever defined for myself.

"The expectations were very high, but with that came so much trust in my abilities. That unconditional trust has changed my outlook as a young professional. What an honor it has been to have people believe in me so strongly, while caring for me enough to push me to my fullest potential through meaningful feedback. I learned that receiving ongoing feedback should be normal from a team—not because I was wrong, but because I was capable of more and better.

"As I leave my role at Milestone, I carry with me what we refer to as humble confidence. I learned to have confidence in my and my company’s ability to deliver excellence, but with the humbleness that the outcome wasn’t about me. It was always about serving others.

"My leaders trusted and cared enough about me as a person to push me to my fullest potential. I now feel ready and qualified to step into my next opportunity, eager to contribute to others and embrace a fresh mission and culture.”

-Marisa Judson, Soderquist Fellow and Project Coordinator, Milestone Leadership

At Milestone Leadership, we know leaders worth following are those who help team members build from the place of their own strengths, while recognizing and addressing areas that need development. They willingly trust their followers, giving ample room to stretch and grow—but offer meaningful and constructive feedback and the confidence of a soft place to land and regroup when things don’t go as planned.

Who saw and appreciated your potential enough to guide, shape and encourage you along your path? Thank them.


Marisa Judson joined the Milestone Leadership team as a Soderquist Fellow in 2017 and completed her MBA with an emphasis in Market Research and Consumer Insights at John Brown University in the spring of 2019. During her fellowship, she was instrumental in helping coordinate outstanding leadership experiences for hundreds of professionals, as well as managed a wide array of marketing responsibilities for the organization. Marisa will begin the next phase of her career as an account manager with Field Agent, strengthened with the healthy confidence and capabilities that have grown exponentially as a result of working with a team of people who immediately saw and cultivated her enormous potential.

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Topics: Women in Leadership, Soderquist Fellowship, Productivity, Women, Growth, Worth, Candor, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Honesty, Authenticity, Candidness, Tone at the Top, Advice, Management, Empowerment, Millennials, Values, Feedback, Coaching, Self Awareness, Boss, Company Culture, Tips, Success, Workplace, Teams, Milestone, Truth, Team Health, High Performance, Mentorship, High Performing Teams, Challenge, Criticism, Mentors, Learning, Powerful Influencers, Relationships, Values & Ethics, Employee Development, Personal Development, Creating Culture, Leader Worth Following, Communication, Gift

Thanks, Mom: 4 Leadership Lessons from the Women Who Loved Us First

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on May 6, 2016 12:44:49 PM

You rarely find "Mom" as a job title on a resume, but when it comes to leadership development, moms and managers have more in common than you might think. Often, mom is wearing the hats of chief logistics coordinator, events director, lead chef, and financial analyst. It's a full time job, not to mention the additional demands of her responsibilities outside the home.

Yet somehow, in the midst of the craziness of life, Moms find time for leadership development.

It is Mom who gets tasked with the first steps of growing great humans, teaching us lessons in endurance, hardwork, humilty, and compassion.

Here are a few key leadership lessons from Mom we will never forget.

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Topics: Women, Leadership

Equality is Not Sameness

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Mar 30, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Celebrating Women's History Month this March.

I recently had a conversation regarding a new work assignment I have been placed in that will require me to work in a male-dominated environment. I expressed that I speculated it could have been an intentional business move to place a woman in that position rather than one of my male colleagues. That, perhaps, some of my naturally more feminine characteristics would help to balance out the room full of testosterone.

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Topics: Women, Leadership

Leader First. Gender Second.

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Mar 19, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Im often asked, what women inspire you? Do you have female role models in business? Whats it like being a woman in leadership?

All good questions and all impossible to answer.

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Topics: Women, Leadership

Women in Leadership

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Mar 13, 2015 9:15:00 AM

When I was getting my Master’s of Science in Leadership and Ethics at JBU, I heard a lot of theories and debates on leadership. What is leadership? What makes someone a leader? Is leadership important?

Similarly, I heard a lot of theories and debates on ethical business models. What makes a business model profitable? Who defines profitability of a business? Who is responsible for the ethical decisions of a company?

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Topics: Women, Leadership

How to Tell a Better Leadership Story

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 31, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Leadership is a journey. It’s a long story, and there are lots of chapters and many characters. You’re writing the story every day of your life, so there is always something more to add, and there is always something as a leader that you can improve upon or change to make it a better.

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Topics: Women, Leadership

The Best Imposter

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Mar 11, 2014 9:00:00 AM

My first performance evaluation as a Soderquist Fellow was terrifying. Not because I was in the presence of intimidating company, mind you, but because I had convinced myself of the dreadful results I was about to receive. I anticipated being told how much my performance was lacking and how inadequate my work had been. Who am I kidding, I thought to myself. I didn’t even deserve this job in the first place.

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Topics: Women, Leadership

Those Who Came Before

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Mar 6, 2014 9:00:00 AM

In 1987, Congress passed a resolution designating March as National Women’s History Month.  As the public discourse pauses each March to consider the impact women have made in our country’s history, it seems appropriate to consider what the women before me have taught me about leadership.  This year’s national theme: women of character, courage, and commitment; and so I join the conversation. 

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Topics: Women, Leadership

Brave Enough

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Mar 4, 2014 9:00:00 AM

When we look at literature throughout history, we are often hard-pressed to find a strong, courageous female leader as opposed to the typical male hero. Female protagonists, though few and far between, have a variety of insightful leadership lessons for the modern woman.

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Topics: Women, Leadership

Welcome Back Robin!

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Feb 22, 2013 9:00:00 AM


Robin Roberts returned to Good Morning America yesterday, five weeks after her bone marrow transplant. She graciously accepted an abundance of warm greetings from colleagues and fans, saying, “Faith, family and friends have brought me to this moment and I am so full of gratitude."

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Topics: Women, Powerful Influencers, Deeper Life, Values & Ethics

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