Senator Elizabeth Warren: A Caregiver Leading Change
Senator Elizabeth Warren: A Caregiver Leading Change
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has said about caregivers: “There are four kinds of people in this world, those who have been, those who currently are, those who will be, and, those who will need caregivers.” I think one person could be all of those at different times in their lives. I know I have been at least two of them, just this year. It’s easy for us to imagine Nurses, Kindergarten teachers, and Social Workers as caregivers but can we imagine others – business or political leaders – as such?
Elizabeth Warren, US Senator from Massachusetts and a current contender for nomination as 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate who demonstrates Caregiver Archetype behaviors in her past actions, in what she stands for and in what she says about the future. Those who know leaders with these attributes recognize Senator Warren’s core value. Those who have not experienced this leadership are taken by surprise. In either case, let’s take a few moments to think about the difference Senator Warren could make in American political culture given a higher level of authority, visibility and responsibility.
Senator Warren is a passionate and outspoken individual who holds the distinction of being the first female US Senator in the history of Massachusetts and one of only 20 women currently serving in the Senate. She holds the position long occupied by Senator Teddy Kennedy and the 2012 race for that seat was one of the most watched and competitive in the country.
In her own words, Senator Warren grew up in small-town Oklahoma “on the ragged edges of middle class.” Her father sold carpeting and was a maintenance man. After he suffered a heart attack, her mother worked the phones in Sears’ catalog sales so the family could keep its home. Elizabeth began waiting tables at her Aunt’s restaurant at age 13 to help out. As an ambitious teenager, she dreamed of college and becoming an elementary school teacher but early marriage and motherhood temporarily put her dreams out of reach.
In time, married and with a 2-year old at home, Elizabeth went to Rutgers Law School and within 15 years she was a distinguished law professor and a renowned expert in Bankruptcy Law and in the reasons why people go bankrupt. Later, she was invited to go to Washington, DC to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws. Even though she fought for 10 years, she lost her goal to hold the federal government accountable during the financial crisis. No matter. She brought an idea to fruition for a new agency designed to protect consumers from predatory bankers.
Caregivers as Leaders
A caregiver Archetype has strengths which include compassion, empathy for others and responsiveness. Caregivers also proudly act as mentors for co-workers, employees, or those they serve. And, they have the need and ability to help others rise to their potential or to “pull themselves up by bootstraps.”
On the shadow side, Caregivers can put others first so much so that they can sacrifice profits or they can guilt others into making sacrifices. Here are some things Senator Warren has said to her opponents and followers that demonstrate both strength and shadow behaviors:
- “People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters.”
- “Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea, God Bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you get to take a hunk of that and pay it forward for the next kid who comes along.”
- “The word’s out: I’m a woman, and I’m going to have trouble backing off on that. I am what I am. I’ll go out and talk to people about what’s happening to their families, and when I do that, I’m a mother. I’m a grandmother.”
- “I know what I am in Washington to do: I’m here to fight for hardworking families.”
What can we expect of Senator Warren’s future leadership?
Well, she makes no bones about her fight – tooth and nail – for the middle class. She believes that America’s government must do better for working families. Here’s what her ideal change management plan would include:
- Healthcare – opposition to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act because our government should have a singular perspective to maintain the financial stability of families confronting illness or injury.
- Gun Laws – a reinstatement of a ban on extended magazine weapons and more vigorous background screenings including those purchased at gun shows.
- Education – a fight for less debt for young people who have “done all we asked of them – and are getting slammed.”
- Jobs – a small tax increase on those making more than $1M per year to pay for jobs such as rebuilding roads, bridges, and water systems while building the economy with added money in circulation.
Keeping Americans physically and emotionally safe and supported is not a bad goal for a political leader. Senator Warren has worked hard over three decades to build a better tomorrow for Americans. It seems she doesn’t plan on curtailing that passion anytime soon. What do you think? Do Caregiver leaders make a difference? Stand up, be counted and tell us your story about being or experiencing a Caregiver leader.