This week Leadership Johns Creek hosted its second event for The Leadership Johns Creek Speaker Series. Our intent is to increase the value of our Alumni’s continued membership in the organization. One of the ways to add value to each member is to weigh in to their education, inspiration of their personal leadership journey.
Mrs. Lisa Eason shared with our group her compelling story of overcoming the worst of childhood scenarios. Her story of rising to a position of leadership within the State of Georgia’s Purchasing Agency but only after overcoming a series of life events that could have crippled someone to a life of addiction, self-pity or worst case complacency. I have “roughly” detailed her story below for those who were not in attendance.
Mrs. Eason began by sharing the three traits that she believes separates “good” leaders from “great” leaders:
Strong work ethics
She began by sharing her family dynamics and history. Lisa being the oldest of 4 children in a family that went through a divorce prior to her 5th birthday. She was left to care for her younger siblings at only her age of 11 years old. Preparing meals and being the general caretaker while her mother was absorbed in dating.
By the age of 15, she was pregnant and refused to give up the child to abortion or adoption. Dropping out of school during the 9th grade to care for her own child, yet made it clear that she never accepted aid from the government in any manner. Her job at a sewing factory provided for and her responsibilities.
She escaped an abusive relationship by picking up her children one afternoon from their school or respective places of care to drive to Newnan, Georgia where a friend had offered refuge.
While in Georgia she later became married to a person who she described as “someone who didn’t like to work….”
Desiring to improve her life; she applied for an advanced position in management at the sewing factory, but realized that a high school education was needed. So being the overcomer that she is she studied and passed the test for a GED Diploma.
Continuing to pursue higher dreams and a better life she continued to find new opportunities, one with the organization that helped promote young people in getting their GED.
One of the positions which she desired required a college degree. So naturally, she enrolled in college and began classes with her 4 year old sitting in her lap throughout numerous classes. Resisting giving up her educational dreams after failing Calculus she continued to study and ultimately passed Calculus with a 110 grade in the class.
Continuing on she took 7 ½ years but she ultimately finished college!
It was during this time that she shared her husband; the one who didn’t care to work was revealed to have sexually abused her daughter. Before the trial ever happened he committed suicide while in prison. Dealing with the turmoil and grief associated with all of these events she forged ahead never in self-pity but always with an eye towards improving herself and her families’ outcome.
The element of compassion and giving back approach that Mrs. Eason exhibits stems from her boss for a number of years that played an important role in her advancement. Lisa was ashamed to share her background and life story with anyone until Ron Jackson, her boss, caught wind of her story and set up an opportunity for her to share it with her local paper.
Between Ron Jackson and her Mother-In-Law years prior they were the few people who ever encouraged her with their actions and words which made such a difference in her life. Still today she values encouragement expressing that you never know how your kindness and words of encouragement can make a difference.
After her story was “out of the bag” so to speak, she was afforded numerous opportunities to share her message of overcoming circumstances and pursuing higher education. She now will often be heard giving commencement speeches at high schools and schools that specialize in GED programs.
Her career has continued to move forward due to her determination, work ethic and compassion for others. She stated that her first action item after being promoted to Assistant Deputy of Purchasing with the State of Georgia was to look for someone to mentor.
To Tweet This Message Click Here: Because as a leader you always have to look for ways to give back.
Her most recent efforts to giving back has led to the purchasing which she is mentoring just last week received their GED diploma and is looking to go higher with their career and education.
She ended by sharing some vision that she hopes to “run a college” someday. I personally have no doubt that she will get there. I encouraged her as we closed the Speaker Series event that her story was valuable, as is everyone’s, but her story would make for a great book. We can probably look for that soon considering her determination, work ethic and compassion for helping others.
End of Speaker Notes
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