LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE
LIFE OF MADAM C. J. WALKER
1. Great women build businesses and legacies
that outlive them. When a person truly walks
in their purpose during their lifetime, one
of the results is a business or legacy that
continues to flourish long after they are dead.
To be forgotten after death is to have existed
and not lived.
Great women develop other women. They
build up other women, and they reach back
to pull other women forward. Madam C. J.
Walker is an excellent example of a woman
who built other women. From sharing
her story to offering training and reward
programmes, she was developing women
and reaching back to pull others forward.
It takes greatness to do this. Small women
pull others down but a sign of a truly great
woman is that she is lifting others around
her. Great women equip other women for
Great women do not play the victim. They
don’t trade blames, and they don’t make
excuses. They recognise that their birth
circumstances do not have to determine how
they end their journey. Madam C. J. Walker
was born poor, she had no formal education,
her parents were slaves, and she became an
orphan at about seven years of age. These
were legitimate excuses that she could
have used as an obstacle or a limitation but
she refused to play the victim; she refused
to allow the circumstances of her birth to
determine her end. While we don’t get to
choose how we begin, we get to decide how
we end. Never forget this truth.
Great women give back. They give back
mainly by sharing their journey to inspire
others. Madam Walker shared her story to
give hope to other black people, especially
women. She spoke of her journey, where
she had come from, and the various stages
she had gone through, to give hope to her
audience that if she could do it, they could
too. And she didn’t stop there; she also gave
her money to ensure a better life for black
people. She knew her roots and having risen
above the circumstances that had kept others
like her down; she gave back to help many
escape those circumstances. Great women
Great women can rise above their
circumstances and situations. Not everyone
can rise above their circumstances because
to do so takes hard work, determination,
resilience and not many are ready for
that. Not many can endure hardness. Too
many quit before their big break and so
they remain stuck in their circumstances.
It takes a great woman to rise above the
circumstances into which she was born.
Great women pour their lives into others.
Madam C. J. Walker poured her life into
other women. She went beyond the call of
duty when she trained her salesforce. She
was not just training them so they could be
good employees and make money for her
company, she was teaching them everything
she knew and what had worked for her and
by so doing, she was pouring her life into
them and duplicating herself. Anyone can
teach, but it takes a truly great woman to
reproduce herself in others. When you get
to this level, you experience significance and
you know that you can never die.
Great women never forget their roots.
And they are not ashamed of their origins.
Someone once said that the past is a stepping
stone to the future. It is disastrous to forget
where you have come from. Even as great
women travel towards the future they dream
of; they take with them the realities of where
they have been.
Great women are vocal and share their truth
fearlessly. It takes boldness and courage
to share your truth, especially when it is a
truth that offends others. Madan C. J. Walker
shared the truth about her life, background
and achievements boldly.
Great women promote themselves. As
Madam Walker shared her story, she stated
DOZ Magazine | February 2020