Emerging Leader Spotlight: Kinzie Farmer

Every month we invite an emerging leader we admire to share her leadership journey. We ask her to explain how she achieved her current position, what obstacles she encountered on her climb, as well as tips for how to be a rising woman of influence.

This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Kinzie Farmer. Kinzie is a high school senior (graduating any day now, woot!), as well as the Founder and President of Successshe

Kinzie Farmer
Kinzie Farmer

Favorite leadership quote: “Leadership is about influencing those whom you do not control.” —Jamshid Gharajedaghi

Have you experienced a leadership challenge recently that you have overcome?

The challenge of leadership for me is stated in my favorite leadership quote: “Leadership is about influencing those whom you do not control.” I often wonder, “How do you positively influence people in general?  How do you influence your peers?”

My name is Kinzie Farmer and I am a high school senior in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I attend a conventional high school part-time. I am also a part-time student at Iowa BIG, a project-based option for students in the community.

Additionally, I am the Founder and President of Successshe, where the ultimate mission aims to inspire young women to overcome the personal barriers they set on themselves.

As I look back on the year that Successshe has had, I think we have taken giant leaps towards our mission.

In November 2014, we hosted a social media campaign called #GussyDown to challenge women everywhere to go makeup free for five days. We stressed the inequity in the expectations society puts on women to look perfect.

In April 2015, we hosted the first ever Minnow Tank, a pitch competition for young girls to get funding for their community projects. And it was this event that I went from being a one woman team to being the team leader to eight willing and able students. Needless to say, it was quite an adjustment.

Throughout my education, I have been ‘identified’ as a leader. I have attended multiple leadership conferences and have even won scholarships and leadership positions, yet, I wasn’t ready to be a leader, and wasn’t prepared to be expected to blaze a trail for the teams’ success.

My initial mistake was to believe they all thought like me and were motivated in the same way. Boy, was I wrong! I would ask for specific tasks to be done by a certain date, and they would come back by the deadline with nothing to show.

Everything we did was so very public and represented the brand we are trying to build, so I envisioned only the most quality work being done, and the actual work that was being done was below par.

The team wasn’t totally at fault, they were conditioned, as I had been, to check the box and move on and believed what they did didn’t have an effect on anyone else. I had escaped that frame of mind the year prior while working on my own and depending on myself.

It was my job, as their leader, to change their perspectives, and find their motives to lead my colleagues to success. The true challenge wasn’t the tasks to be completed, it was the people.

I have some of the best mentors in the world. Some of them are teachers and others are mentors I have met over time. They led me to understand my role in a team and challenged my leadership habits. Most importantly, I was taught to get to know my team, understand why they are on the team to begin with, what is important to them and what their goals are.

What I learned from leading this team is that I have to delegate tasks to the right people and with that I have seen very positive results.

I have a lot to learn and so does my team, but I’m excited to see what they will bring to Successshe in the future!


In case you are curious: Kinzie will be studying international business at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

You may contact Kinzie Farmer directly on Twitter.

Ann Roushar

Ann joined Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc. as Operations Manager in 2011. Her background is in events and program management, however, with the launch of Be Leaderly, Ann has discovered a new passion for the communications side of the business, including blogging, social media and graphic design. Ann’s vision for this blog is to make it a “must have” resource for women in business, a virtual space where women can feel comfortable about sharing their career wins, woes or worries. Follow @ann_roushar on Twitter.

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