Emerging Leader Spotlight: Molly Hansen

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, and tips for how to be a rising woman of influence.

This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Molly Hansen, Business Process Analyst with Thrivent Financial.

We met Molly through her manager, Nicole Doebert, who was featured in a past Emerging Leader Spotlight.

Molly Hansen
Molly Hansen

Favorite leadership quote: “Leadership is a posture and a choice, not a role that must be bestowed on you. Step up and a be a leader when no one is watching or expecting you to do so.” — Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything, by John B. Izzo and Marshall Goldsmith.

What is your leadership style?

I tend to be a collaborative leader. Whether I’m working with others on a project, a process improvement, or daily tasks, the result is most successful when everyone works together and respects one another.

I am also a firm believer in the idea of synergy and that one plus one equals three. I try to lead by example. My actions align with what I say and I stay true to my values. I know that if I want people’s trust, I can’t just “talk the talk,” but also need to “walk the walk.”

What steps are you currently taking to improve yourself, professionally?

I have started to form and grow new relationships. I joined the Thrivent Women’s Leadership Network Cohort, in which I meet monthly with extremely talented and inspirational women in the organization. We share personal experiences and help each other grow in our careers.  Their expertise and fresh perspectives really push me to focus on my own professional vision.

I also meet weekly with mentors, who continue to guide me through their own experiences, insight, and wealth of knowledge they have gained in their careers. My mentors have also helped foster cross-organization learning and relationship-building.

I also have taken development into my own hands by signing up for training classes and seminars, both skills-based and organization/business focused. I take on stretch assignments, in which I not only have the ability to build network, but also acquire new proficiencies and methodologies. Additionally, I read newsletters and articles, both internal and external, to keep me updated on business and leadership news.

What are some top tips you can recommend to other women who want to be recognized as high-potential emerging leaders?

Don’t shy away from new challenges. You, and others in your organization, will never know what your potential is if you never try something new. Look for stretch assignments and volunteer for projects that bring new experiences. People will notice when you are willing to step up, rise to the challenge, and obtain results.

Don’t be afraid to fail. This is a lesson I’m continually working on myself, but I’ve come to realize that failure doesn’t necessarily signify that the work was unsuccessful. If you can learn from it, and apply that knowledge to your next endeavor, then you’re still ahead. Furthermore, sometimes, failure is the success. It can teach you other ways to approach a situation or identify alternate solutions that can provide better results.

Build a strong network of support. The relationships you form and maintain within your organization can contribute greatly to long term growth and development. You not only gain influential connections, but you can also learn different perspectives, skills, and techniques.

You recently attended a workshop with Jo Miller. What were the key takeaways that you have started to use, which you learned from her session?

I recently attended the Poised for Leadership Workshop. Jo’s knowledge, passion, and insight not only taught me how to strengthen and develop my leadership skills, but also truly inspired me. An extremely valuable lesson I learned from that seminar is to actively think about what the next level is and to challenge myself to demonstrate the competencies of that vision – not just for my current role. It has helped push me to take on even more stretch assignments and really challenge myself to be – and do – more.

A quote from Jo also stuck with me: “Instead of trying to influence a situation, become a person of influence.” She helped me realize that I can’t influence any situation until I become, and act, like someone people want to follow.


Connect with Molly Hansen on LinkedIn.

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Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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