My grandparents were all immigrants from tyrant-ruled Eastern Europe during the early decades of the 20th century. They treasured their voting rights as only new citizens can, and they instilled in me their almost sappy love of the American ideals of liberty, justice, and fairness.

Having struggled to get to their promised land, they considered voting their sacred duty. Every election, no matter what. They weren’t naïve about politics, nor did they expect their favored candidates to win every time. They just wanted their votes counted honestly and their voices heard fairly.

They would have loved Jennifer Brunner, Ohio’s first female Secretary of State who served from 2007-2011. She’s a true American hero for cleaning up the state’s election system after its 2004 debacle, one that is remembered as one of the most sordid chapters in our nation’s history.

Read More

This is an advice column where I’m supposed to answer your questions. But this Thanksgiving, I’m shaking things up in my life, so I turned the tables and asked some fabulous women leaders this question:

What leadership lesson are you most thankful for?

The outpouring of responses made me exceedingly grateful. Not a turkey among them.

Here with a Thanksgiving feast of delicious wisdom you can savor calorie-free—and use all year.

Saying grace (and listening to it)

Anita Sands last year at age 34 became COO of UBS Wealth Management Americas, and is one of the smartest and best grounded leaders I know. She credits her father with her most important leadership lesson: “common sense is not the common.” Not surprisingly, she then resonated with this advice:

My first boss when I was a young academic really trained me in how to “think”. The first thing he told me was that people who can find the answers are a dime a dozen but people who know what are the right questions to ask are really valuable. So I’ve always tried to employ that skill as a leader – am I asking the right questions, what question is not being asked in the room.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=372kTyy3ELs&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Read More

This past week, I learned more about Ohio politics than I ever wanted to know, in particular next Tuesday’s (May 4) Democratic primary contest between Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher. The winner will go up against Republican Rob Portman in the November general election.

I suggest you read Kelley Bell’s Huffington Post column to get more facts and colorful descriptions of the intra-party machinations than I have bandwidth to recount here.

My involvement has been only peripheral. I happened to jump into a Facebook conversation begun by one of my favorite columnists, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Connie Schultz, in which she bemoaned acrimony between women about the question of when (if ever) it’s incumbent on us to support our sisters who are running for office.

Read More