Meet Amelia Kruse, NYC-based Transformational Leadership Coach for C-level executives and small business owners alike. Heart-centered and service-driven, Amelia has spent a good deal of her life serving others, from multi-national corporations to local communities in Southeast Africa. Once the Director of Product Research and User Research at Refinery 29, Amelia was given the opportunity to receive formal leadership training and thereby discovered her passion for helping others to tap into their own inward and outward leadership. Read on for Amelia's insight into authentic leadership - what it looks like, how to own it, and how self-care can make you a better leader.
What is leadership to you?
We’re in a time right now where women are truly stepping into their power, making their voices heard, and seeking out greater positions of leadership in all settings - social, political, and personal. What advice do you have for someone wanting to step into leadership, of their own life and otherwise?
I would start by saying do all you can to deepen your self-awareness. Seek to understand your values, what drives you, your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on recognizing and acknowledging your emotions and how they become triggered - discovering patterns in your emotions and their corresponding behaviors can be incredibly empowering. From there (with time and energy!) comes the ability to manage your feelings, impulses, and reactions, and behave in a way that is truly authentic to you. This involves stripping away the labels and self-limiting beliefs to see who you are at the core of your being. That’s where a leadership transformation starts from. The journey after that is liberating and organic as you move into noticing and then elevating the ways in which you interact with people and function in meaningful relationships. Ultimately, this gives you the capacity to utilize your empathy and manage the emotions of others, the cornerstone of effective leadership.
How do you define self-care? How does it impact one’s leadership?
Self-care to me is self-compassion. Showing yourself the love, kindness, and support you show your most treasured loved ones. Self-compassion manifests differently for different people, so I always urge my clients to think about and experiment with the small things that lift them up when they need some positive reinforcement, relax them when they need to de-stress, and fuel their body, mind, and spirit to pursue their passions and work through the natural up and down cycles of life. Individuals with high levels of self-compassion can more effectively strengthen their confidence, creativity and clarity in problem-solving, all of which positively impact their ability to be a successful and strong leader.
Who has been the best example and model of female leadership in your life? What’s the best piece of advice or words of wisdom you’ve received from her?
Oh, that’s easy, my mother for sure! She epitomizes the saying ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood’. I feel as if I received a lot of my abilities to coach from her. The most important thing in coaching is to always put yourself in the client’s world and to understand and appreciate how they see and experience things. My mother rarely gave us dictatorial directions (and thus when she did we knew it was serious!), she always treated us like individuals who, with her guidance and support, could come up with creative solutions. And that belief has stayed with me and now allows me to do the same for the individuals that I coach.
If you could have dinner with any three women, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would say Maya Angelou, Gertrude Bell, and Mother Teresa. The only reason my living mentors (Oprah Winfrey and Brene Brown for example) aren’t on the list is that their books and podcasts help to somewhat satisfy my curiosity! I am in awe of these women and would want nothing more than to sit in their presence, feel their energy and listen to the recounts of their lives. To hear how they saw the world and continued to deepen and strengthen their connection to themselves and others no matter what was thrown their way.
What is your long-term vision for yourself and your business?
My long-term vision is to continue to help others see, create and live fulfilling, meaningful lives and to do the same for myself. As Socrates said, ‘an unexamined life isn’t worth living’ because by knowing ourselves, our lives not only have meaning and value but true joy. And by knowing ourselves truly, we can begin to know and thus be connected to others.
If you could stand on the peak of a mountain and say or shout one thing, that all of the girls and women in the world would hear, what would it be?
It would have to be a quote by Winston Churchill about bravery, perseverance, and having perspective… “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”