Sarah Waugh

Profiles of Leadership | Topic 1Who are you?

I’m Sarah, but friends call me “SJ”, short for my southern moniker, Sarah Jane.

I was dubbed “Sunshine” by a former colleague of mine, and I like to believe this photo encompasses what I’m passionate about… and that is living an authentic life; spreading love, light, and joy to every single person I cross paths with.

By day, I work as a Sustainability Analyst, a position that I “lucked” into, and one that I approach not only with a strong work ethic, but with my personal values as well. I believe in the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit; however, this position has taught me much more about causes dear to my heart….sustainable agriculture, eliminating food waste, fair trade and worker’s rights, along with animal welfare and a variety of other environmental and social concerns. By night, I am a Senior business student at Tarleton State University-Fort Worth campus. It seems I have found my niche, and I look forward to what the future holds for me regarding my career path and education in this sector.

Those who know me personally are familiar with my desire to spread a message of love and acceptance for all. I’m a vocal advocate for the Body Positive Movement, as well as sharing my love for a plant based, intuitive way of eating (no “dieting” here), and self-care modalities including yoga and meditation. I’m the “office hippie” and wear the badge proudly. I believe by being aware of who we are at our most vulnerable and working to create an accepting love of self, that we are then able to share that with others. Leaders come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages, etc. Living authentically and being able to speak our truth, whatever that may look like, fully allows us to connect with others in a meaningful way, regardless of our differences. So I encourage you to explore your heart’s desires, fully embrace your passions, and authentically embrace all that you are and all you can share with others. Much love! (2017).

Profiles of Leadership | Topic 2 | Building Credibility

Photo Credit: Naomi Vaknin

Describe your efforts to increase how others see you as inspiring.

“I do things differently, because I don’t go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head…someone’s got to go out there and love people and show it.” –Princess Diana

I was told recently the way I approach things is unusual, and that it is inspiring. I was quiet for a moment and then I smiled. I realized that in some small way, doing things a bit differently might just be working in my corner of the world. I lead with my heart and not my head, striving to do all things in love. One only has to know me about ten minutes before realizing I have a heart for people and that greatly impacts the way I lead…passionately, and with intention.

Some may be familiar with the notion of conscious leadership. Dr. Cheryl M. Vermey, an executive and leadership development coach, defines conscious leadership as “bringing one’s whole self and with total awareness to your leadership position. It requires authenticity to be who you really are. Conscious leaders focus on the ‘we’ rather than the ‘me’ and realize that their role is to create a culture of trust, care and expansive influence”.

I pour my all into everything I do, with love. It’s non- negotiable for me. It’s what makes me the woman and leader that I am. No matter what the task is, I approach it first from a positive “we” viewpoint. “How can we serve others by doing this? How can I do it in a more loving manner? Is there a different way to go about this, not just ‘the way we’ve always done it’?”…those are questions I ask myself on a daily basis. Whether I am in the office, or out in my community, I want to inspire change from an authentic place. All leaders, no matter where we are want to accomplish whatever outcome we have envisioned. In order to do that, I believe we have to slow down and breathe, take a collective look at whatever situation we are faced with, and come from a “we” place. “What can we do to build trust in this project? How can we build bridges and work better cross-departmentally, or across communities?”

The world needs more conscious leaders. Fort Worth needs more conscious leaders. YOU can be a conscious leader. I encourage each of you reading this to strive for authenticity in all things, and to trust that your heart, along with your head, is able to lead you.

Profiles of Leadership | Topic 3 | Vision for the Future

Photo Credit: Nita McGrew

What is your vision for the future?

My vision for the future: Collaboration…uniting together to take collective action for social and environmental causes that touch us all. It is so easy to be unable to see the forest for the trees, because it’s overwhelming, but sometimes all we need to see is the big picture…the forest, and take the first step together. My daily inspiration, by Desmond Tutu, is “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Let’s put it all together, friends.