Women Leaders Encouraged to be Themselves During Annual Leadership Breakfast

joansteffend“Remember who you are, be who you are, share who you are and change the world.”

That was the message at the 2nd Annual Women’s Leadership Networking Breakfast. The event was held on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 at the Rasmussen College Blaine campus. Rasmussen College partnered with the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce to provide an engaging and inspiring discussion with some of Minnesota’s leading women professionals. 

Nearly 100 women from the Twin Cities area were treated with breakfast before hearing Joan Steffend, a former TV Host and author, once struggled with finding the kind of person she wanted to be.

“When people look at my life, they see a degree of success,” said Steffend. “But I don’t look back and think that.”

The Minnesota native admits she doesn’t have a lot to complain about. The former KARE 11 anchor and HGTV host says she has two beautiful daughters, a supportive husband and a home she loves, but she felt something was missing from her life.

“I took out a legal pad and wrote my autobiography,” said Steffend. “I’ve always loved to write, but never have I had that kind of experience. At first, the words fell off the pen, but then they just stopped. I didn’t finish until five years later.”

What she realized, Steffend says, is she lost herself for a long time. She says she spent years being someone others told her to be instead of listening to herself.

“I was told I was stubborn and hot tempered, so I finally took the time to think about that,” said Steffend. “What I realized is I’m actually just outspoken about myself. It’s important to spend time with those stories that are told about you.”

Steffend turned her experience into a book called …and she sparkled – a story about rediscovering oneself and the joy it can bring. Steffend later co-authored Peace Begins with Me and recently wrote Peace In, Peace Out, a book about how to bring peace into our lives and how to share with it others.

“I ask all of you to remember who you are, because you are magnificent,” said Steffend. “Without you, the world is incomplete.”

womenleadershipSteffend’s message hit home for six Twin Cities leaders who took the time to answer a series of questions. The panel was made up of business owners and politicians, as well as chamber and hospital presidents. When asked about the biggest obstacle they’ve faced as women, they talked about overcoming the double standard they’ve each encountered.

“When a woman is strong and opinioned, she’s called a nasty word, but it’s expected of men,” said Rhonda Sivarajah, Anoka County Commissioner District 6. “We have to change that double standard and realize it’s OK for a woman to stand up for what she believes in.”

“Like most mothers, I tell my girls they’re beautiful,” said Lori Higgins, MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce President. “But I also tell them they’re smart and great leaders.”

The panel was also asked to give a closing statement. Like Steffend, many shared a similar message of being who you are.

“Live your passion each and every day and take care of yourself,” said Higgins. “As women, we wear a lot of hats, but we need to take care of ourselves.”

“Know that you can and be true to yourself,” said Carol LeDoux, Anoka County Commissioner District 5. “You must realize other people’s opinions don’t have to influence what you believe in yourself.”

The event wrapped-up with time for networking. Rasmussen College Blaine Campus Director, Patty Sagert, also talked about the importance of these leadership events as a way for students and community members to learn from leaders about specific topics like servant-leadership and entrepreneurial leadership.

External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Molly Andersen is the Senior Public Relations Manager at Collegis Education. She is a passionate storyteller and believes in the power of education. She is responsible for creating content that educates, engages and inspires current, past and future students at Rasmussen College. Connect with Molly through social media.

Receive Personalized Information Today

  • Personalized financial aid
  • Customized support services
  • Detailed program plan
  • Attend a no-obiligation Nursing Information Session
  • Meet the Dean of Nursing
  • Enrollment application
  • Personalized financial aid
  • Career path guidance

How may we contact you?

Please complete all fields

What would you like to study?

The program you have selected is not available in your area. Please select another program of interest.

By requesting information, I authorize Rasmussen College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided.

Share Your Story Ideas
Our campuses and online community have stories to tell and we want to hear them! Did your campus raise the most money in the community for an organization? Do you have online study tips for other students? Would you like to share a personal success story about overcoming an obstacle while earning your degree?
To have your story idea considered:
  • You must be a faculty member, current student or graduate
  • Story ideas must be regarding Rasmussen College or an inspiring story about a student at Rasmussen College
  • Your submission must be original and may not have been published elsewhere online already
Please Note: Your story idea may be featured on the Rasmussen College News Beat or on one of our social networks. A member of our news team will contact you should we move forward with a blog post.
Feel free to suggest an idea for a blog post to be featured on the Rasmussen College News Beat by filling out the form below:

First Name: (required)

Last Name: (required)

Email Address: (required)

Phone Number: (required)

500 characters or less


Your Story Idea Has Been Submitted

Thank you for sending us a story idea! We’re reviewing submissions and may contact you soon to learn more about your story. In the meantime, make sure to check out our current blogs to see what’s happening on campus.