Mothers’ Leadership: Hold On to Me as We Go

Mothers are the number one influencers of girls’ leadership ambitions. At GLI, we’re celebrating Mother’s Day and honoring mothers by sharing their stories of personal and professional leadership. In this piece, GLI NJ Outreach Manager and mother Amie Herman discusses the meaning of leadership and family support with her two daughters, Emily (15) and Hannah (10).

Hannah:  So, Emily, how do you think Mom is a face of leadership?

Emily:  What sticks out in my mind is that she really got us through some hard times as a family, when it was just the three of us alone. During that time, she could have just retreated and fallen apart.  It’s not that she wasn’t sad or scared –– in fact she let me know when she was feeling those feelings. Even so, she led us through.

Hannah:  What do you mean by ‘led’ us through?

Emily:  Mom seemed to know what she wanted and needed to do and decided that she could do it. It was like she knew what she wanted for herself and for us and she reached for it, even though there were challenges.  But I think most of all I could see how strong she was and how she expressed how she felt and what she hoped for, and I felt that I could do the same. I needed that when things were really tough –– to be able to express how I was feeling. Mom and I, we can talk about things. I think it’s why I feel comfortable saying what I mean and meaning what I say now, with her, and with you and my friends too. How do you think Mom is the face of leadership, Hannah?

Hannah:  I think it is that Mom says, “Do what you want to do, be what you want to be. Just be yourself, not what others want you to be.”

Emily:  That’s really true. Mom has ideas and opinions, for sure. You know where she stands! I also feel like she encourages us to share our ideas and feelings. I like that I can do that even if we disagree. I like that she says “On this we can agree to disagree!’” I also like that if we are in a disagreement and she’s feeling mad, she’ll say “I think I need a time out!” (Laughs)

Hannah:  Yeah! You know what else I think makes her a leader? That she is funny.  She is goofy sometimes and makes me laugh!

Emily:  Yes! Mom is crazy and weird sometimes. I know my friends think she is really funny. She embarrasses me –– in a good way! I like that she has enthusiasm for things and activities. Like when she says, “Let’s go on an adventure –– let’s go do something,” and we don’t know where we will end up but we know it’s going to be fun.

Hannah: I think Mom is a leader to me because she makes me feel like I can do things I haven’t done before. She’s like, “Go for it!” I can try stuff and like what I like and be who I am.

Amie: Wow. I am really touched by what both of you are saying. I think both of you are the faces of leadership. Emily, I love and admire that you are “what you see is what you get” with people and that you’ll say to girl friends “I don’t do drama.” I think that is why people trust and confide in you. I also love that you have a zest and a presence with people and can get to know people easily. You can strike up a conversation with anyone, including adults.  I always get feedback about how friendly and kind you are. It’s probably why you are making a killing with babysitting gigs!

Emily:  Are you looking for a percentage? (Laughs) No way!

AmieHannah, I love that when you wake up you put together the most unique outfits ever. You have the coolest fashion sense of any 10-year-old and it’s all YOU. I also think it is neat that you love to write poetry and draw amazing anime characters, and that you cry like me when we read the picture book of John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’. I also want to say how proud I was of you that you decided to sing a solo at the school variety show this year. I know that was a big risk for you and you were nervous…

Hannah:  I was nervous. But it was fun. I’m glad I picked the song “Home”.


Hannah:  Because of the lyrics. “Hold on to me as we go… as we go down this unfamiliar road… just know you’re not alone, I’m going to make this place your home.” It reminds me of us and of our home.

AmieI love you very much, girls.

Emily and Hannah:  We love you too.

  1. Amie Herman

    Thanks Shannon — it is hard, beautiful, amazing, exasperating work to raise daughters, and there isn’t a cookbook for it! You do the best you can, figuring it out as you go, and remind yourself that it is an incredible honor to have the ‘front row seats’ to watch two people you love growing and becoming themselves. That’s the best of all. It is worth the work every single day.

  2. Shannon Keane

    Amie, thanks for sharing this. I have tears in my eyes. The mutual, love, support, and admiration comes through. It’s such a testament to the way you’ve raised them!


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