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7 Q+As: Kristen with Leadershape

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Sponsor 7 Q+As with Kristen of Leadershape! Leadershape puts the “leader” is leadership- encouraging and inspiring young people to live authentic lives!



1. What are you grateful for today?
Today, I am grateful for the never ending support of my husband.

2. Tell us about one of your friends and what you love about her.
My friend Rebecca is such a wonderful friend and I am lucky to call her my best friend. We met 10 years ago when I moved to Champaign. She was one of the first people I met when we got to town and since sharing a few laughs over Custard Cup, we have become best friends. Since that time, she has moved away and I miss her dearly. There are many things I love and appreciate about her but the one thing that I love most is her ability to share in my joy, my sadness and all of the in between of life. When I say share in those things, she takes them on as her own joys & sadness. It is an amazing gift  and has been a tremendous blessing in my life.  Many friends have come and gone over the past 10 years but because Rebecca appreciates me for who I am and for that I am forever grateful to her.

3. Describe one of the best days of your life.
It’s funny that sometimes the best day starts out as simply average, nothing special. One of the best days of my life was the day my son was born. After 6 years of infertility and many, many struggles, we thought we would never see the day we would welcome a healthy baby into our lives. And the day he was born, was really an average day-  that was of course until he was born! Because of some medical conditions, I had been scheduled to give birth to my son via c-section. The good part about that was I “knew” what day he would be born. And since I am a planner by nature, I liked that a lot. It gave me plenty of time to figure out exactly what I wanted that day to be like.  Well, our son had other plans. 6 weeks prior to his scheduled “due date” he decided it was his birthday. It was totally unexpected and because of that there was no stress the night before worrying about what would happen, no family eagerly awaiting his arrival, no friends texting to find out what was happening. In the short moments between meeting with our doctors and deciding it was time for our son to be born, it was simply me and my husband. And for me those moments before our son was born and the time we spent as a family of three on that day, a day that started out like any other, was one that fills my heart with joy every time I think of it. It reminded me that sometimes the best things are not planned or expected, they just happen.

4. What’s the best lesson you learned from your mother/grandmother?
My grandmother is an amazing servant. She is 92 years young and there isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t do something for someone else. She is the most giving and humble person I know. She taught me the value of serving others in our family and in our community and doing so with no expectation of getting something in return. The wonderful thing about the way I learned this lesson is that she never sat me down and said, here is what you do. She just asked me to come along with her and serve.  It is a daily part of her life and since I was too a daily part of her life as I was growing up, we did it together. I learned so many lessons that formed my foundation for who I am by simply spending time with her. It was in those times as we were baking cookies for a neighbor who was under the weather or cooking my grandfathers favorite meal for him on a day he wasn’t feeling good,  that I learned the importance of giving to others.

5. We’re all unique. What is your special gift?
My patience when working with and being in community with others.

6. What could women be doing to make their community a better place?
Women can be kinder to each other. The world around us is constantly asking us to compare ourselves to one another. That immediately set up a dynamic where one woman is better than the other. We are quick to judge and slow to listen. I think that if women in our community interacted with each other with care, kindness and compassion, we could transform the community in ways big and small.

7. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I would become a foster parent and open my home to children who need love, kindness, support and a safe space.

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