Disrupt

Women all around us live and lead as Disruptors for Dignity

Amanda Kathryn Roman yoga pose

Disrupt

Women all around us live and lead as Disruptors for Dignity

Amanda Kathryn Roman smiling

Here are the stories of some of the most inspirational women that I have the pleasure of learning from on my journey.

Elisa Batista

Elisa Batista

Care of Self

READ HER STORY
Khalilah Olokunola

Khalilah Olokunola

Care of Others

READ HER STORY
Jill Alban

Jill Alban

Adventures

READ HER STORY
Tevis Trower

Tevis Trower

Learn & Share

READ HER STORY

Do you know someone who is a Disruptor for Dignity?

Submit their story for consideration to be featured.

SUBMIT

Elisa Batista - Care of Self

Elisa Batista - Care of Self

Elisa is a 44-year old mother of two teenagers who makes her living as a campaign director for UltraViolet supporting survivors of sexual assault. She loves the fact that she gets to help other women while also earning a living wage to fulfill her most important role as a mother. The way that Eisa approaches her work is rooted in dignity. She fervently believes that no one owns another human being - not a partner, an organization, or a government - and therefore it is never acceptable to exploit another human being for personal gain. At the same time, she fully acknowledges that we are all reliant on earth’s natural resources and human-made economic and social systems to thrive; therefore no one should hog resources or monopolize systems. 

Throughout her life, Elisa often found herself in a place where her needs were met and she was able to splurge on things like an annual vacation. Simultaneously, she often wondered what our society would look like if so many people weren’t striving to accumulate multiple cars, houses, and more stuff than needed to live - how many more people could earn living wages? how many more people could have a home… healthcare? These explorations and her servant-leader’s heart led to a career fighting for women’s rights and elevating her sisters, particularly those in need. While everyone’s journey is different, we all face difficulties as life ebbs and flows. One of the valuable lessons that Elisa is learning is how important it is to honor the struggles we go through and to create space for the silver lining to appear.

After years of denial, Elisa made a commitment to a 12 step program which created the space for her to learn how to better care for herself, as she was caring for so many other people. It took her years to get a sponsor because she didn't think she had a problem. She didn't think she needed God, or higher power, and that simply was not true. Now, she knows it is the program that helped her feel whole and remain grounded in everything she does. It was the process of learning how to honor her own dignity that allows her to honor others. In order to consistently show-up as a disruptor, Elisa credits care of self as the fuel that keeps her going. Beginning with a solid eight hours of sleep at night followed by daily exercise and three square meals a day are what keep her whole. While there were certainly times that she had to sacrifice sleep and settle for less than ideal quick meals while her children were younger, now that they are older she will not compromise on these self-care necessities. 

For anyone who may be reading Elisa’s story and is eager to start incorporating more care of self into their lives at home, work, and play, she has a few suggestions. First, figure out what you really want in your life - not what others want you to do or for you, but what you really, really want. Clarity on what really speaks to you and what you value requires taking a step back to really authentically check-in with yourself. Second, feel the emotions through that discovery process - all of them. Elisa knows how scary and messy this type of self-examination can be - there was a time that she found herself divorced and without a job - but she knows it allows you to focus on what is truly important to you and you need to know that in order to take care of yourself. Third, find a way to connect with a higher power. Elisa has a strong spiritual practice through a 12-step program where she belongs to a community, has a sponsor, and serves as a sponsor. She credits sticking with her program for her active care of self and recognizes that it has helped her grow in every aspect of her life, that is helped her become a better parent and a better professional. Additionally, it has helped her become a better listener which in turn has exponentially increased the trust she now earns from the survivors of sexual assault.

Khalilah Olokunola - Care of Others

Elisa Batista - Care of Self

Story coming soon!

Jill Alban - Adventures

Elisa Batista - Care of Self

Jill describes herself as a discerning force for change - someone who is very tactical and action oriented. She loves execution and connection, especially the kind that sparks between people and ideas that force play and accelerate change. As the founder of a small marketing consulting firm, most of the work that Jill does supports the state of Montana, but the magic she brings to clients is much broader than brand building and executing marketing strategies. 

Earned through hard work and persistence, which she attributes to an athlete’s mindset, Jill has consistently taken on projects and opportunities knowing she would have to stretch and grow to achieve the desired outcomes. Looking back, she realized that it was those initiatives that challenged her and pushed her beyond her comfort zone that provided the most fulfilling experiences of her life. Those opportunities taught her that she had the ability to bring people together and facilitate conversations that lead to social impact. 

Since her background also includes training as a professional executive coach and a long period spent in the nonprofit sector, Jill has always been really interested in programs and projects that impact the planet, especially during a time when there is a real need for solutions when it comes to environmental conservation. She is an optimist and does not like to spend time (nor does she think it’s productive for groups or individuals to spend time) operating from a place of despair. While Jill fully acknowledges that grief is important - and that feeling one’s emotions is a critical part of growth - she also fully believes that operating out of optimism is the most productive way to initiate environmental activism and ultimately, spark the collaborative spirit necessary to get the job done. With that perspective in mind, she relishes the opportunity to work with individuals and organizations that are directly  or indirectly working on positive change within the environmental movement. Her strength draws on  the way she guides founders and executives to clarify vision and intention which then defines the scope of impact for the brand. Jill is passionate about living a life of impact and helping other people and organizations to clear out the gunk, get really aligned, and function at a high energetic level so that they can make the impact they envision.  

Jill likes to think about dignity as how we treat ourselves and other people, the interpersonal relationships that weave throughout our lives and over time. Recognizing that we all operate on default settings with traits that we are hardwired with from our upbringing and lived experiences, she believes that the first step toward understanding how to function at a higher level of dignity towards one’s self and towards others is developing the self awareness that we need to learn how to check our ego. That mountain is a hard one to climb with never-ending opportunities to overcome obstacles. The way she thinks of it is that there are many ways up that mountain. More formal pathways might include mindfulness and meditation practices and some less formal paths may reveal themselves through mentorship and learning exchanges. Jill works to leave her ego at the door every day, but she is the first to admit that she is not successful each time. Motivated to hold herself accountable while she serves as a guide - and, she hopes, a role model - Jill is committed to communicating clearly and releasing attachment to any particular outcome. Through trial and error over years of experience, she has realized when sometimes her good intentions can stymie growth and get in the way of co-creation in community, so she strives to design time to sit back and listen, absorb, and then act, hopefully living out of a belief in the right of others to express their opinions so that she can honestly occupy the space as an authentic contributor. 

Adventure is a value that Jill lives by. For her, it is inextricable from experiences in the great outdoors. The adventure of leaving the east coast 17 years ago to move to western Montana was a big leap of faith for a girl who was raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Living in Montana has provided tons of opportunities to explore things she never experienced as a child with her family like fly fishing, river trips, backpacking, trail running, and just spending time in the wilderness. Now those experiences in the woods, (especially running 20+ miles on her own in the wilderness!), are a spiritual tonic and adventure is part of her daily life. She has learned that adventures are what has provided  a needed confidence booster for her along with ample opportunity to challenge herself to keep leveling-up her mindset and honing her actions in the boardroom and beyond. Jill firmly believes that exploring and learning in new environments while on adventures is what provided her with an incredible set of blueprints for how to approach the challenges she faces professionally.

As Montana is undergoing rapid changes within its human and natural ecosystems, Jill is excited to contribute solutions to the challenges Montanans are facing. She is working on new ways to bring people together through a common set of values and direction across the public, private, and civic sectors.

For anyone who may be reading Jill’s story and is eager to start incorporating more adventure into their lives at home, work, and play, she has a few suggestions. First, start small - you don’t have to go on some big wilderness quest all by yourself right away. Look for a state park or an open space area nearby, start with an hour, and just give yourself permission to explore. Second, leave your phone in the car - if you really want to connect with the experience, get away from your screens and give your brain a rest. Third, let it flow - adventures come in many shapes and sizes and they all have something valuable to teach us. 

Tevis Trower - Learn & Share

Elisa Batista - Care of Self

Tevis was known as the kid with the weirdo parents when she was younger. In reality, they were unique individuals who raised their daughter to follow suit with her own individuality. So, from a young age, Tevis had a taste of freedom and an awareness that we all come into the world fully human. And then, like all of us, she danced through life wondering which parts of herself she wanted to serve, which ones she wanted to disown, hide, or put lipstick on in order to be loved by others, to belong somewhere. Now, in her work as a well-known leadership futurist, work culture strategist, and award-winning author, Tevis draws on her own lifelong learning experience. What she loves the most about her work is the opportunity to guide business leaders back into their fully human state creating pathways to thrive for all those in their wake.

When it comes to dignity, Tevis believes that most people don’t really know what it means, or that they compartmentalize it thinking of it as a posture or the air that we project. She defines it as stepping into the most radical truth of who we are as individuals and identifies as a disruptor for dignity because she knows it is not enough to convey a sense of empowerment. Tevis wholeheartedly believes that we must act boldly as we navigate the arenas and institutions that we all move through. Recognizing that disruption happens at various levels, she believes that when we can acknowledge the accompanying discomfort and see it as stepping into something that wasn’t working with a measure of freedom that we always possessed, but hadn’t used, real change takes place.

Tevis has long been attuned to the arc of being different. She has learned that we are each born totally who we are, then how we move through waves of conformity first conforming to our families and then typically rejecting our family and finding other things to substitute through another conformity. At some point, we realize that wherever we may be on our journey, there is some tribalism to it - a shared language, a shared costume, and some shared set of values - and no matter where we look, there is a desire to belong. Then, in many of the philosophical conversations we engage, we find the juxtaposition or paradox that exists between freedom and belonging. Tevis shares her innate awareness of these roles, social cues, and how we craft ourselves to whoever we want to matter to on a consistent basis. She helps people slow down and see that if we all actually reclaimed our humanity, and stood fully as the human beings that we have created - allowing the one we came in as to emerge - that juxtaposition would not exist. Freedom would not contradict a longing. Tevis is the first to acknowledge that you can never really know if you do a great job of teaching others self-mastery, but she believes that should not diminish the gusto and passion brought to the endeavor. There is also plenty of evidence that catalyzing self-mastery and creativity inside of corporations helps people get closer to themselves and their own dignity

In pursuit of her lifelong learning journey, Tevis is  going on a walkabout to unplug, connect to other humans more frequently and with greater depth. She wants to avail herself to the human experience in such a way that she is stepping beyond her own echo chamber. 

For anyone who may be reading Tevis’ story and is eager to start incorporating more ways to learn & share into their lives at home, work, and play, she has a few suggestions. First, be humble enough to admit you don’t know - learning requires you to admit there are other ways to get where you are going. Second, allow the discomfort and darkness, the frustration and tears, the blind spots to be a part of your experience. Our shadow sides are part of the human condition and as disruptors and changemakers we need to recognize all of ourselves. Third, apply what you are learning. Don’t hide in learning - move through the cycle, listen to yourself, and share what you are learning.