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, who were married ten days shy of 62 years, ensured that my siblings and I had the 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 that were 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 are the women who 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 was on the ground needing 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 internally butterflies are flying a little out of formation.  

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

My roots and early life experiences influence how I show up today.

Call to Action

As you engage in reflection and introspection, I invite you to 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?

May this help to establish your foundation as you build your leadership legacy.  

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 is a coach, consultant, and women’s leadership strategist. Her leadership program, Maximize Her LeadershipSM, guides women in bringing together their talents, strengths, and executive presence to experience a thriving career.

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.