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What Does Legacy Mean to You? – Mary Kurek

High-achieving professional women contemplate leadership in the context of legacy

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The L³ Alliance (Lifestyle, Legacy, and Leading by example) is the women’s group for the Wells International Foundation. Founder & CEO, Dr. Monique Y. Wells, believes it is important for high-achieving professional women to keep the idea of legacy “top of mind” and to observe how doing so influences their impact as leaders. She invites women leaders to reflect on this concept by contributing to the What Does Legacy Mean to You? article series.

Today’s article features Mary Kurek, President and CEO of Frontrunners Development, Inc. Frontrunners Development enjoys a partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network through its Frontrunners Innovate Magazine (the 1st international business networking publication for global innovators) and the Frontrunners League of Social Impact Innovation. Kurek is a curator of strategic relationships to scale business, impact, and to bridge the gap between problems and solutions.”

Mary Kurek
Founder & President: Frontrunners Development, Inc. + Frontrunners Innovate Magazine

L³ Alliance: What does the word “legacy” mean to you?

MK: To me, the word conjures up a thematic approach to one’s life that sustains well beyond the person and creates benefit for others.

L³ Alliance: How does it apply to you right now as a woman who is a leader in your field?

MK: I work in a typically male-dominated field, so the legacy I build isn’t just wrapped around my own work. It is interlaced with the legacy of those who I mentor to create their own impact.  My legacy IS the legacy that they are creating.  

As a connector who dwells in the greater good space of social impact, how I build my legacy through others is to:

1.  Pay attention and realize that there are really no coincidences.

2.  Seek “well” good connections from the standpoint of diversity and know that when one seeks, one usually finds.

3. Fill the gap – connect “well,” moving others into places that will advance the good work. 

4. Trust in the Lord to do His magic and get out of His way. 

In this manner, I can influence, inspire, and connect people forward to do more than I can do, and the legacy grows.

L³ Alliance: Do you believe there is a relationship between leadership and legacy? If so, describe what the relationship is. If not, explain why not.

MK: In my case, definitely yes.  To me, leadership is knowing yourself, your skills, your talents, and your intentions. You authentically need to like others and appreciate what you see are their gifts (even if they can’t see their own). 

The reason leadership connects to legacy is that there are human beings between the two.  For me, since my work involves developing business relationships between people and helping them to grow their impact, leadership is what provides the fertile ground for things to advance toward a great outcome.  That great outcome is part of their legacy . . . and thereby, mine.

L³ Alliance: How can keeping legacy “top of mind” help you be a better leader?

MK: I hate to say it this way, but the older you get, the more important legacy becomes.  If we could start thinking about it earlier and training youth throughout their education to think about it, then we’d be solving more world problems. 

That said, I really think you need to know a bit about yourself and the world — develop some beliefs, break a few paradigms, and meet lots of diverse people — to get a grip on your personal legacy. 

But, as an adult, if you create some space to continue learning and growing and finding the sweet spot that says “THIS is what I want to be remembered for,” then leadership is an inevitable part of the journey.  And the process makes you better not just as a leader, but also as a human being.

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