By Victoria Awkward
Leena Patel, CEO of Global Impact Systems and founder of Sandbox2Boardroom.com, is a dynamic trailblazer who does not let the status quo inhibit her abilities to step into her power. Her company works to enable businesses to become market leaders through designing, streamlining, and executing on innovation initiatives. Within Global Impact Systems, Leena focuses on empowering the people she works with, believing them to be her greatest assets.
“One must balance a confident commanding presence with the sensitivity to be attuned to others. It is an interesting dynamic,” she said. You have to find a way to bridge the gap, to soften up and acknowledge that people have challenges in the workplace.”
Through keynotes, consulting, and strategy days, Leena trains business leaders to become key persons of influence.
“A lot of people are unsure how to add value and so we teach that. We ask them ‘What big problem can you help others to solve?’ We give them the roadmap on how to be creative and innovate in a way that enables them to take advantage of market opportunities and generate a return on investment. We help them think strategically so they can execute on new initiatives skillfully and better contribute to their organization’s success. To thrive in today’s world, you’ve got to add massive value.”
Leena traces her own self-confidence back to her childhood, where she had a strong influence: her grandfather, a direct disciple of Gandhi. He encouraged her to “stand up for what [she believes] in, even if it means changing the status quo.” Leena gravitated towards his message and has never let the traditional paths define or confine her.
“I run a business and have a successful marriage. It is not easy by any means, however, I keep the communication channels open and carve out time for what’s important. It’s a conscious decision to be there for my clients as well as my relationship.”
Leena believes that what appears as an inhibitor can become a driver for action. Her impact is undeniable but she continues to endeavor for more – “Success is a never-ending journey, a combination of doing what you love and serving others. My vision is to see one hundred women within the Fortune 500 in CEO roles by 2025. That means we’ve got to keep banging the drum for change.”
She says: “[Women of color] do not have the same privileges that other women or men have.
However, our history, our story, and our experiences have given us so much inner strength and tenacity. And we are blessed to live at a time where there are platforms like Color Magazine for us to share our stories. Women should take advantage of these opportunities to remind themselves that we are all in this together.”