On Whose Shoulders Do You Stand?

The shoulders on which I stand.

I would be remiss to let this Black History Month recognition in the U.S. pass without acknowledging the shoulders on which I stand.

My Beginnings

As a girl who grew up in rural Mississippi, our parents – married ten days shy of 62 years – ensured my siblings and I had the career opportunity not afforded them.

We had the chance to complete a 12-year high school education. We could also earn undergraduate and advanced degrees and enjoy careers beyond my parents’ reach.

The Women On Whose Shoulders I Stand

I honor my mother and maternal grandmother this month. These are the women on whose shoulders I stand.

💫 These women taught me the value of knowing and managing myself with a sense of decorum, engaging strengths – natural gifts and talents – while being conscious yet not fixating on limitations.

💫 My grandmother taught me to hold my head high when walking because nothing on the ground needed my attention. So I instead used my peripheral vision to detect and avoid any obstructions.

💫 These women taught me the value of finding common ground in diverse situations, not intentionally harming others, even in challenging circumstances.

💫 They also taught me to stand confidently in who I am, even when butterflies fly a little out of formation internally.  

They were my first role models of “never give up” before I learned Winston Churchill originated the quote.

My roots and early life experiences influence how I show up today. I embrace the grit my mother and maternal grandmother displayed throughout their lives.

Call to Action

As you engage in reflection and introspection, ask yourself:

✅ On whose shoulders do I stand?

✅ Who has significantly influenced who I am today? In what way?

✅ How am I establishing a platform for others to stand on my shoulders?

If there is an opportunity to express your gratitude to the women on whose shoulders you stand, I invite you to do so. If that opportunity has passed, journaling your thoughts releases appreciation for those who paved the way for you to become who you are today. 

May you continue establishing your foundation to support others in their becoming process.  

I would love to hear your story. Contact me at End View Solutions.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.