Should I Answer this Call?

Ashley Schenk recently earned her M.B.A. in Project Management, Human Resources, and Public Relations from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia and has received much recognition in her career, including Austin Partners in Education Business Partner of the Year and CWS Outstanding Volunteer. She takes part in numerous leadership initiatives and is committed to learning and growth. As the Head B.R.I.D.G.E. Coach and Executive Coordinator for CWS Corporate Housing, she helps encourage leadership, innovation, and creative thinking by establishing organizational tools and communicating company goals, corporate recognition, and overseeing employee volunteerism. Her professional goal is to inspire corporations to recognize the importance of building strong corporate culture, teams, and individuals through leadership, community service, and employee engagement.

It was 5:30 PM in the afternoon, I had effectively conquered the work day and I was keeping my fingers crossed for a successful victory over the grueling battlefield of Austin traffic when my cell phone rings with an “UNKNOWN” number on my caller ID.  I immediately pressed DECLINE.


Normally, I would have continued on with my life without the slightest hesitation in pressing the decline button, but this was not a normal afternoon. I had just received my first lesson in my SOS Gr8 Women Leaders program and I was extremely eager to listen to it.

Lesson 1: Answering the Call to Leadership… as the man began to speak, I started thinking to myself, “There are so many things I don’t know about leadership, am I really ready to answer this call?”  

For as long as I can remember, when having to choose to face the unknown, I’ve always pressed decline… even in something so little as answering a call from an unknown number. You see, there is just something about the unknown that can be really intimidating and scary. As humans, we are conditioned to think that in order to move forward, we must be in control and know what is waiting for us. We often hold back in fear of failure, are opposed to change, and challenged with the insecurity of not knowing. I realized that I’ve developed a very natural habit of pressing the decline button when having to choose to face the unknown.

When I decided to join the SOS Gr8 Women Leaders Program, I became committed to pressing ACCEPT and answering the call. Luckily, eight other amazing women decided to answer the same call and chose to accept the journey of discovering how we can each uniquely lead. On my first day, I recognized that my fear of the unknown had stopped my progress of discovering and understanding new things about myself, developing a career path, and creating a route that would take me to the next step in my growth. It will be through this program and remarkable group of women that I will build trusting relationships, attain a greater knowledge of who I am, and discover my personal leadership style.

After the first class, I was reminded that leadership is simply the ability to influence. Leadership is for everyone. Leaders are made. Leaders are unique. Leaders are developed over time…. it’s my time to answer the call and I’ve decided to press ACCEPT.

I am confident this will be one of the best investments I have ever made.

Check back every month as Ashley continues her journey through the SOS Gr8 Women Leaders Program.

The SOS Gr8 Women Leaders Program is a year-long leadership development program designed to empower and equip leaders to make a difference. Click here to learn more! Also, check out this short video!

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