Women in Leadership: Linda Lane
Women in Leadership is a blog series featuring accomplished women leaders at One Call sharing their successes, lessons learned and best practices to help inspire purposeful success in your personal life and career development. This month, Linda Lane, president of Harbor Health Systems, kicks off our series by sharing her favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt (check out the video!) and offering powerful advice to inspire the next generation of women leaders.
Recognized as one of Business Insurance’s Women to Watch, Linda is a pacesetter in the workers’ compensation industry. Her career in workers’ compensation started in 1996 and since then she has continued to embrace challenges, thinks creatively and bust through the male-dominated industry. Outside of her professional portfolio, Linda is a founder and foundation chair of the Women to Watch Foundation, a program that works to elevate the livelihood, health and advancement of women and girls globally.
How did it feel to be recognized as one of Business Insurance's Women to Watch?
The first time I was a part of the Women to Watch initiative, I was merely a spectator. One of our clients was recognized 10 years ago, and I was invited to attend the event as a guest of hers. At that dinner, Gloria Steinman was the keynote speaker and I sat as a guest and became immersed in the powerfulness of the women in the room. To remember that night and then flash forward to the announcement of myself being honored was truly humbling. Throughout my life to this point, I had gained accolades and career promotions, but this recognition was an all-encompassing moment in my career – my personal passions and my life journey. There are no words to explain just how truly amazing the experience was.
What made you want to begin the Women to Watch Foundation?
I began reflecting on my legacy and what I was leaving behind for the women following in my footsteps. In this reflection, I asked myself “what my life was about other than just who I was, what I did for a living and what was my bigger purpose in life?” These reflections reminded me of the invaluable opportunities I experienced outside of my career, many of which were led or heavily influenced by amazing women. I quickly realized when amazing women come together, amazing things can happen.
“After I traveled to Africa with the Starkey Hearing Foundation and got to witness people hearing for the first time is really when the switch went off and I started to wonder what type of legacy I was going to leave the world with.”
What have you learned about leadership in your role as President of Harbor Health Systems, a One Call Company?
One of the things I have observed as I reflect back on my time at Harbor Health is that as women, we feel like we need to be fully ready to take on an opportunity before we accept it. When initially asked to take on the role, my first thought was, “Are you crazy? This is healthcare technology, and I have no background in that.” If I continued with that mindset, I would have had a totally different career path. I told myself, “you are tenacious enough, smart enough, passionate enough and what you don’t know, you will learn.”
How did you get where you are today and who were the influential people that helped you along the way?
My father. He was a man who spent 40 years with the boy scouts, and he taught me about commitment, discipline, loyalty and perseverance. He set in motion the strong work ethic that stayed with me; when you pick something, you stick to it. The other influences in my life are previous bosses I have had. I have never been afraid to lean into them for guidance. They have taught me that in order to be successful, you have to exude a level of confidence while always be in search of how to make pieces of you better.
What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader to gain commitment and ambition from your team?
As I grew up in leadership roles, the most important thing I learned is that you have to trust and be trusted. Your team needs to understand and know that they can count on you. They need to understand that if they ask for your help, you are going to be there to provide your support and emotional stability. If there is a flurry of excitement in a positive or negative way, there has to be a tower of strength in a leader who can take a step back and pull the team together. As women, we are passionate and emotional, and we have to learn to have a balance.
"When there’s something you can’t learn, surround yourself with a team who can fill in those gaps. I learned that I had to be purposeful and fearless in my actions and find the right people to help me."
What strategies would you offer the next generation of female leaders who are looking to climb the ranks in their organizations?
The qualities that we as women possess are very different than men. As women, we have to find our voice. It is very easy to be at the table with men and just sit back and listen; you have to find your ability to assert yourself, understand your value and stand up for what you believe in. You cannot be afraid to fail. If you do not step up, you could miss an incredible opportunity to lead an amazing group of people. These principles will also be instrumental in achieving the position you want, the compensation you deserve and the awards you should be recognized for.
What resources do women in leadership need most? Can you reference a podcast series or a book that has benefited you the most?
It’s important to find a mentor or a coach within your organization as well as outside your organization whom you can trust. Outside of the organization, find someone that understands you well and can help you develop on a personal level. Professionally, search for someone that can help you successfully navigate within the organization.
There is an author named Brené Brown who does a lot of writing on fear, vulnerability and all things about getting out of your own head. She talks about how exuding confidence while showing your vulnerability is key to allowing people to connect with you. She also does TED talks, and I listen to TED talks when I am looking for inspiration in times of difficulty.