Be the Leader You Are Meant to Be

At the Women of Power Summit, Bishop Vashti McKenzie energizes the crowd

Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, wowed the women during her keynote this morning sponsored by ADP at the Women of Power Summit in Hollywood, Florida.

[Related: Memorable Moments from Women of Power: Day 1]

With humor, sass, gravitas, and pinky swear promises, this leader of the AME church exhorted her listeners to not only own their truth, but to let go of hindrances holding them back. Here are a few highlights.

Opening up with a hilarious but common sense litany of things accomplished women ought to know, McKenzie captivated the audience. “You oughta know—

  • How to be positive in negative situations
  • That sometimes the answer is “not now,” and sometimes it’s “never.”
  • That Spandex doesn’t look good on every body
  • How to flirt without getting into trouble
  • If you don’t know, ask for help
  • What you care deeply about

The bishop also urged the leaders in the room to “go deep,” to not be afraid of abandoning the superficial but to address life-and-death issues our society must grapple with—such as the tragic lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan.

“Leadership is not for the faint of heart,” she said, and went on to describe how women are recasting the leadership model by being not only assertive, but also flexible and relational, inviting others into the decision-making process.

“Close the door to the past, open the door to the future, and walk into your destiny,” McKenzie had all the attendees—nearly 1,000 strong—promise and pinky swear.

“Promise me you’ll dream big and trust God to take you through the process,” she charged the women. “Start encouraging yourself since criticizing yourself hasn’t worked.”

“Stop working it out yourself and let God do the heavy lifting.”

“Stop wasting your time on things you can’t change, and spend time on things that have possibility.”

“Turn challenges into opportunities.”

“Leadership is reaching beyond your comfort zone.”

“The world is waiting for who God has called you to be.”

The keynote was so energizing, McKenzie and the audience broke out in a dance at the end! Be sure to watch the live stream for other unique messages that all women leaders need to hear from other Women of Power.