Kate Delaney is an Emmy award-winning journalist, and was one of the nine speakers featured at Leadercast Women, hosted by the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce. Throughout her impressive career she has interviewed over 15,000 people including athletes, global business leaders, and U.S. presidents.

Despite these accomplishments, Delaney allowed the nearly 500 rejections she had received to weigh herself down. She described leaning on perfectionism as a crutch to complacency and used it as an excuse to live within her comfort zone. In sharing her journey through the field of journalism, Delaney gave three main pieces of advice: commit to going all in, recognize that patience pays and stack your deck. 

Delaney’s story resonated with Kristen Stavlo, who serves on the Young Professional’s Committee of the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce. Stavlo attended Leadercast Women to grow her leadership skills in her current role on the State Farm insurance team, yet she also recognized the ways that these sessions will impact her personal life. When Delaney committed to going all in, she put all of her effort into becoming a successful sports journalist. 

Kristen has always dreamed of owning her own bakery. After successfully sculpting 3D cakes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Stavlo’s dream took a detour when she moved to the La Crosse area. Stavlo explained how the culture and opportunities for a specialty cake shop looked very different between the cities. Stavlo said that she was paralyzed by fear from the expenses and barriers to starting her own bakery in La Crosse.

Committing to starting her own bakery, specializing in cake art and sculpting, would mean taking a leap of faith. This choice would require her to put all of her energy and effort into pursuing her dream. After attending Leadercast Women, Stavlo recognized the importance of committing to going all in to make her bakery a reality. 

Stavlo has developed a five year plan to start her bakery. Delaney’s advice that Stavlo connected with most was the idea that patience pays. Stavlo said that she already knew the importance of patience but this reminder impacted her differently at the conference. In Delaney’s presentation, she explained that we live in a “right now” culture that sets us up for failure. The obsession with immediate gratification can cause individuals to doubt their dreams and feel disappointed when goals are not attained immediately.

Stavlo explained how her fear held her back from pursuing her goals when she originally moved to La Crosse and that the lack of immediate action felt like a huge failure. However, Stavlo says that with her five year plan in place she is confident that her patience and planning will pay off. 

Delaney’s final piece of advice was to stack the deck, or surround yourself with people who support you. Stavlo shared this sentiment. “Don’t listen to the haters,” she said, recognizing that she was lucky to have friends, family, and employers who have supported her and encouraged her to trust her instincts. 

However, many women in leadership are not afforded the same type of support and encouragement. Stavlo, like many of the speakers at Leadercast 2019, acknowledged how social stigma and gender roles have forced women to avoid leadership or feel judged when they lead in a traditional way. When women exhibit the same traits as men in leadership, they are often perceived as being less effective leaders. Stacking the deck requires rallying your fans and letting go of rejections. 

The 2019 Leadercast Women panel was stacked with strong women such as Kate Delany, Glennon Doyle, Deshauna Barber, Luvvie Ajayi, among many others. These women shared their stories and battles in leadership, describing what they believed it meant to “Take Courage.”

Additionally, the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce developed an extra session to bring in voices of local women leaders. This panel included Mandy Roush, owner of Root Down Yoga Studio; Tami Plourde, co-owner and director of sales and marketing at Pearl Street Brewery; and Katie Poehling Seymour, chief operating officer at First Supply Kitchen & Bath

Like Delaney (and most other women), these local leaders have overcome barriers in their careers. However, they all recognized La Crosse as an incredible community that supports women in leadership roles. To continue supporting women in leadership, as a community, we must create spaces for women to be leaders as well as opportunities for women to grow as leaders.

The La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce looks to connect, grow and advocate for local businesses and employees. For more information on the Chamber or how to get connected visit their website