When I think of leadership, Becky Roloff is the embodiment of what it means to lead well. You enter her orange-walled, inspiration-laden YWCA office and are greeted with warmth. You can’t enter a conversation without feeling her devotion to the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women — it’s not only on the walls, it oozes out of her pores! Yes, she’s an accomplished professional with a Harvard MBA, yet her simple wisdom stems from her parents and her humble upbringing in North Dakota. I was honored to interview Becky for my first “Inspiring Women” column in Minnesota Business magazine, where she shared the top lessons she’s learned in business and in life.
“The taller the dive, the more solid the platform. In her early adult life, Becky spent time life-guarding. She likens leadership to what she knows about diving. The shorter the dive, the more flexible the diving board. The higher the dive, the more solid the platform. It’s the same way in leadership. “If you’re going to take a big risk,” she says, “you need to solidly know the leadership team is behind you and your organization’s platform is solid. When you as a leader want to implement change, it’s your job to make the most secure platform possible for the team and organization to leap from.””