Irena Sendler’s love for her fellow human beings made her an extraordinary leader.

Her love helped her to save 2,500 Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto but it also made her question, until the end of her life, if she could have done more.

This week’s WomanScape feature shares Irena Sendler’s story, Finding Leadership in a Jar of Names . Many reading this article will undoubtedly know a modern-day philosopher named Simon Sinek.  Simon is an extraordinary person: a British-American speaker, writer and organizational consultant who is known the world over for inspiring great leadership, trust and self-love.  His work underscores why Irena was such an amazing leader.

When I consider Irena’s gift to the world and the children she saved, she did what Simon Sinek asks us to do: to put the love back in leadership.  This means learning that great leadership inspires others to follow and builds the possibility for change.  Irena worked with others to save children from death, a a truly inspiring humanitarian accomplishment.  Children and parents trusted her and Irena loved herself enough to do what she knew was right.

Last week’s Rachel Carson was the same.  She put love back in leadership by reawakening our love for the natural world.  Her book, Silent Spring, caused a revolution in the way we see pesticides, our relationship to nature and the need to protect our fragile ecosystem.

Today’s article shares how a small group of high school students in Kansas created a project that ultimately changed the world.

When they researched a paper about Irena’s life, it led to the creation of a play (Life in a Jar) and, eventually, a landslide of attention paid to Irena’s life.

Below is that story, as Megan Felt describes how a study project in 1999 changed her life and inspired a new generation to meet Irena Sendler.

But it’s important not to stop here.  What do our current leaders need to do if we want them to inspire us and create a better world through change? According to this second Ted Talk, “entrepreneur and former Icelandic presidential candidate Halla Tómasdóttir thinks global leaders need to change their ways” or risk becoming irrelevant.

Words like trust, accountability and equality take center stage over fear, lack of accountability and inequality.  But to have these, you need to love more than yourself.  As Halla says, you need to love the world and each other to be a leader of global change.

Rose McInerney

Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

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