Meet Co-author Maria Thorpe of Step into Leadership Greatness – Leaders Producing Leaders
I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with co-author Maria Thorpe about why she wanted to be a part of the amazing leadership book project Step Into Leadership Greatness – Leaders Producing Leaders? She confessed that she had been waiting for this opportunity since the release of Volume 1 of Dr. Jennifer Jones Bryant’s book, Step Into Leadership Greatness – Leadership Isn’t Just a Title. Because of poor timing, she missed the opportunity, but she knew that when and if Dr. Bryant decided to do a second volume, she would be front and center and ready to be a part. She was not going to miss this chance a second time.
Secondly I posed this question, “What was the driving force behind wanting to being a part of a book collaboration on leadership?” She explained that she was drawn to this project because she feels that there is a need for great leaders to emerge during such a time as this in the world. That spoke volumes to Dr. Bryant and the impact of her influential leadership.
I then asked Maria why leadership was so important to her? She shared that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic happening worldwide, now more than ever before, people need guidance, tools, and the necessary information that will help get them back on track and make better decisions for themselves and their families as they continue on with life as they know it. After being mandated to shelter in place for almost two years, there’s a need to check on one another to make sure all is well and to identify areas where help is needed. Thorpe deeply believes in helping thy neighbor! After all, serving others is one of the greatest examples of leadership.
Throughout her chapter, her goal is for people to understand that skills required to become an effective leader can be learned which gives them an opportunity to become one. She also wants readers to realize that there’s no “cookie cutter” approach to leadership, given there are a variety of styles. In her chapter, she will convey how everyone’s path to leadership can be different and that it is ok. Thorpe views herself as a valuable resource in this area and wants to sincerely help others.
When I asked her to ponder the concept of leaders producing leaders and what it meant to her, she explained how others must reach back and bring someone forward along the way with a succession plan in place. She believes that you must meet people where they are and on their level. To be successful in anything, Thorpe shared the importance of being clear on what’s needed and the expectation from others while finding out what their needs are as well. She realizes that for some, leadership can be intimidating and scary, but you must work through your fears. She says that you must avoid standing still because it causes you not to move forward. In fact, she sometimes views it as moving backwards because everyone else will start passing you and have no problems leaving you behind. Thorpe wants to be that credible example who will help push others through their moments of fear and uncertainty and is not afraid to bring the heat. “If you don’t move forward, how will you ever know what you can achieve?” Even if you’re afraid … just do it,” she said.
Thorpe practices what she preaches, and does it through mentoring, especially our youth, which she feels is vitally important. She believes that leadership is not just about execution but connecting and interacting with others. She also believes in the importance of networking and leveraging relationships given that we possess what someone else needs and vice versa. Thorpe introduced a concept to her team called, “Meet Your Neighbor” encouraging them to leave from behind their desks once a week and introduce themselves to other co-workers in order to get to know and learn more about them.
Maria Thorpe is a multifaceted professional with many areas of expertise under her belt. She’s an engineer, speaker, mentor, real estate investor and agent, business owner, mother, wife, and friend who has a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). She is definitely leading the way for our youth in the field of engineering and has participated in many panel discussions and served on a variety of platforms. She volunteers as a mentor at a local high school as well as her high school alma mater and is the co-owner of The Waldorf Chess Club with her husband. Thorpe loves working with the youth and wants to continue to be an invaluable resource for them. She lets no grass grow under her feet as she is working on a summer intern program for young engineers as well as writing a children’s book for young boys that will discuss effective ways to interact with each other. In addition, and to her credit, Thorpe is the first African American female Engineer to hold the position of Director in the Engineering Department where she’s currently employed and has received many awards and honors in the areas of STEM and Leadership.
To connect with Maria Thorpe, contact her on:
Facebook – Maria Thorpe
Instagram – @mariathorpe.104