Lead with Appreciation

Nov 5, 2021 | Career

Cynthia Knapek, president of Leadership Louisville Center.

For some of us, work can be hard. You might be trying to figure out how you can gain more visibility on your job, get a promotion or improve your communication skills. Cynthia Knapek, president of Leadership Louisville Center, understands the twists and turns that can come with finding your way — and she is committed to helping people in all stages of their career flourish.

The nonprofit organization offers leadership development programs for professionals and uses community projects as the basis for their sessions.

Cynthia gives us some insight on how gratitude influences leadership, and reflects on what she’s thankful for.

What is the connection between gratitude and leadership?

“We do a lot of research on how you can become a better leader and gratitude is an amazing building block for good leadership. What it is helping us do is instead of focusing on what’s broken, what you’re doing is you’re training your brain to figure out how to optimize what’s right.

When we practice gratitude, it increases our self-esteem. This is what allows us to take joy in other people’s accomplishments, which is a great leadership skill. People don’t leave bad jobs: they leave bad bosses. Research indicates that people who have bosses they feel are grateful to them for their work, are more satisfied, so it is a good leadership skill to practice gratitude at work.”

As president, what are you grateful for?

[I am grateful for] My team. I love the mission of this organization, but what I recognize is that the reason we do good work is because the team I work with is spectacular. They show up for each other. They want to be excellent, and they are an incredible blessing to me.”

Table Talk: What You’ll Learn at 100 Wise Women

Leadership Louisville hosts 100 Wise Women — an event that brings together emerging women leaders and successful women leaders for an opportunity to build mentoring relationships. Each event features a keynote speaker who shares the lessons she has learned for the purpose of giving other women the encouragement they need to grow in their careers. After the keynote address, guests at each table participate in a small group conversation led by a table host. Holly Prather, vice president of Leadership Louisville, says their September event featuring Yvette Gentry was the first in-person event they had since 2019. “You could feel the joy it brought to the attendees to be back together. The powerful story shared by Yvette Gentry brought laughter, tears, and a standing ovation — every single woman in the room was touched by her courage and hope.”

Curious? The next Wise Woman event will be November 10, 8-10am at The Olmsted with Kirsten Hawley as the keynote. Kirsten is the senior vice president, chief people, places, and communications officer for Brown-Forman Corporation. Register here.

Kirsten Hawley

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