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Sep 3, 2019

Welcome to She Leads Podcast Season 5, Episode 1! This episode of She Leads Podcast features Michele Hall-Duncan founder of enCourage Kids Foundation. Michele Hall-Duncan is a Non-Profit Board Member, Pediatric Healthcare Advocate, and Speaker who leads her life like the Boss she is. To hear Michele Hall-Duncan’s take on leadership, listen to her interview as she discusses the importance of consistency, focusing on one task at a time, and never giving up.

Michele Hall-Duncan Bio

Michele Hall-Duncan is the President & CEO of enCourage Kids Foundation, a leading US non-profit focused on humanizing healthcare for children and their families by resourcing impact-driven pediatric programs and supporting the Child Life Community. For more than two decades she has cultivated relationships with Child Life Staff and all levels of hospital administration, developing an integral understanding of trends in creative therapies which has served to help position enCourage Kids to be on the forefront of state-of-the-art programming in pediatric healthcare.

Michele’s passion and warm personality, combined with her leadership expertise, has made her a sought-after speaker and board member. She is a Trustee of Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation where she serves as board Secretary and chair of the governance committee; serves on the Advisory Board of one of the nation’s leading anti-bullying organizations, STOMP Out BullyingTM; and is a board member of the New York City chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where she also serves on the Professional Advancement Committee.

A native of Flint, Michigan, Michele is a proud graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. in Advertising, and has been an active associate member of the Essex Hudson Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. for 10 years.

Nicole Walker’s Interview Commentary

I really enjoyed this interview with Michele and I hope you did as well.

I agree with Michele’s stance on women having a higher standard and expectation of excellence for ourselves and other women. As Michele mentioned, “women judge women differently than men”. I am wondering if this comes from a place of “I had to work hard for mine so you are going to work hard for yours”. There is no denying that women have to work harder than men to be recognized, which in turns causes us to have higher expectations of others. I will be happy to see the day when we don’t treat each other this way, it’s old, outdated, and not beneficial. A quote by Michele Hall-Duncan reads, “women empowering women is one of the most important things that we can do for each other”.

I admire Michele’s understanding and appreciation of the different leadership styles people possess. As Michele stated, everyone doesn’t lead the same and everyone doesn’t want to be led the same. Respecting individuality and taking the time to get to know those around us is crucial to being a successful leader. A quote by Linda Thompson reads, “Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experiences molds us into fascinating beings. I pray we all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together”.

I can relate Michele’s passion to passion for women empowerment, as I have the same. Uplifting and inspiring others sets my soul on fire! Successful leaders beget successful leaders. Our life experiences either leave us bitter or BETTER. We have the choice to help others learn from our experiences in either a positive or a negative way. Effecting positive change is a choice! Being able to help others avoid your negative experiences and pitfalls is a gift! As with Michele, I love helping people breathe life into themselves and find their purpose.

Nicole Walker’s Takeaway of the Week

Michele mentioned the importance of being authentic, as opposed to being overly arrogant or shrinking.  When we choose to present ourselves in the way that we are most comfortable with, we are embracing and walking in our authentic selves. According to Michele, being a Woman of Color is of great value to everyone around because of the experiences that we bring with us. We are is super important!

I am a very transparent person, yet I struggle with being vulnerable. Complete authenticity is a setup for vulnerability, yet I know the freedom associated with it is priceless. Allowing ourselves to be fully seen and unapologetically authentic takes an immense amount of courage and strength. 

I will make it my business to find ways to come out of my shell and present myself fully in both personal and business settings, as I know it will help me to grow and thrive. 

A quote by Katelyn S. Irons reads, “Shine with all you have. When someone tries to blow you out, just take their oxygen and burn brighter”.

Nicole Walker’s Leadership Challenge

My leadership challenge for you would be to think about the one thing you can take away from this episode and adopt into your life.  I know it’s hard to absorb too much information at one time and it’s even harder to try and implement too many changes at once.  When I attend a training or listen to podcasts I aim to walk away with a least one thing that stuck out to me and one way that I can change as a result.  I challenge you to do the same! 

Don’t forget to subscribe to She Leads Podcast for first access to future episodes. And also, like and share this episode of She Leads Podcast entitled “Be Confident with Michele Hall-Duncan”.

Thanks and until next time “Be Empowered and Empower On”!