Why I Serve: Lisa Edwards

Diana Baker Freeman

A Desire to Serve Others

Lisa Edwards, President and COO of Diligent Corporation, is the epitome of servant leadership. She understands that in today’s workplace, organizations need to be clear on what they’re contributing to society, and more so in the for-profit sector. As Edwards puts it, leading with purpose means “bringing your whole self to work. It means finding something that you have a passion for.” 

 

Have a Personal Focus

For what purpose are you leading? Edwards points out that employees in the healthcare, education, government and nonprofit sectors deliver value to their communities. It’s harder for for-profit organizations to define what their contribution to society is. As Edwards explains, finding one’s purpose forces us to ask, “What does this company stand for?” She inspires leaders to look at what they do, focus on how they’re going to get there, and how might they be better people through the process.

 

Find Your "Why"

Edwards describes herself as someone who came out of the womb driven, never stopping or slowing down. Recalling a recent conversation where she asked a friend, “Do you ever wonder what’s going to be on your tombstone? What are you leaving in the world? What are you doing?” Her friend responded, saying that she doesn’t worry about that because she has three kids, and they are her life’s purpose. “Your purpose, and your why, is different for everyone," Edwards said, "But everyone should find theirs.”

 

The Right Tools Can Help Drive Purpose

Another person who has found her purpose, and whom Edwards greatly admires, is Jill Vialet, CEO of PlayWorks, Inc., a South Carolina-based service provider helping tens of thousands of children in the state. About Vialet, Edwards says, “Vialet started PlayWorks 25 years ago in two smalls schools and has expanded it to serve more than 20 cities. It’s amazing how one person can truly change a community. I look at people like that, and I think, wow, they really have left a mark on the world! They've really changed their communities for the better. And it's really heartening to see that there are people like that, that we can give tools to make them even better, and that great philanthropists can come in and help them as well.”

Is it time to reconnect with your "Why?" Our free workbook will guide you through the steps to discover, or rediscover, the reason you lead with purpose every day.  

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Diana Baker Freeman
Diana Baker Freeman is a governance specialist with many years and varied experience in board development. She holds an MS in Education Leadership, teaching in both public schools and at the university level. Her experience in classrooms led her to be an enthusiastic advocate for education. After being elected as a school board member she became intrigued with the field of governance, developing a deeper understanding of the role of board member, and how that could lead to improved educational outcomes. As a public school trustee, Diana was nominated and accepted to the yearlong leadership academy, Leadership TASB, through the Texas Association of School Boards, graduating that course as a Master Trustee. Diana became a Board Development Consultant for the Texas Association of School Boards and later as an independent consultant. She has led boards through strategic planning, goal setting, as well as ethics training and examination of roles and responsibilities of board members. She has presented at various state-wide, regional, and national conferences and developed online training for TASB as well as the Southern Regional Training Consortium. She brings her experience to BoardDocs/Diligent in order to further her work in the field of governance.