Wednesday Woman of Influence – One-on-one with Nancy Beach
Two weeks ago I had the great privilege to sit down over a cup of tea with Nancy Beach. I’ve been mulling over our conversation and thought I would finally share some of the highlights of that discussion.
I have observed Nancy from afar for several years and admire her role as a prominent woman in church leadership. Because of what she has accomplished as a leader I think that subconsciously I assumed this has always been easy for her. What I discovered in our meeting was that this great leader has tackled her share of challenges… some of them simply a part of ministry leadership in a mega-church like Willow, others a direct result of being a female in that role.
Here are some things I observed about Nancy from our time together:
- She took time for me. We met the afternoon before the Gifted to Lead Conference that she was co-hosting the next day. She didn’t appear stressed or preoccupied in spite of the many things that I’m sure were battling for her attention. She was completely committed to the conversation with me.
- Very confident and comfortable about who she is. She has embraced her unique gifts and plays to those strengths.
- Easy to talk to. I felt like I was catching up with a long-time friend.
- Great sense of humor. As focused as she is, she knows how to lighten things up and have fun.
- Passionate about equipping other leaders, especially women. Nancy takes seriously her responsibility to help widen the path for future women leaders in the church.
- Has found a way to develop boundaries to manage family and work life. She talked so fondly of her relationships with her husband and girls. It’s obvious she has worked hard to find a way to live her dreams in all of these roles.
- Has learned to not define herself by her accomplishments.
At the end of our conversation I asked Nancy what she would say to challenge me in my role as a woman in church leadership. Here are the three things that she shared:
- Be intentional about creating the culture for other women leaders in your church. Help chart the path for other women in leadership.
- Be willing to speak up. Develop confidence in your gifts and operate in them.
- Have someone outside of the church where you serve in whom you can confide.
My 90 minute conversation with Nancy has done more to encourage me and mentor me than many of the books and conferences that I’ve consumed. It was a treasure to be able to learn from her and be inspired.
[By the way, my friend Jan recently wrote a review of Nancy’s new book “Gifted to Lead“. Be sure to check that out too!]
So, if you had 90 minutes to sit with someone you admire, who would it be?