We LOOOOVE when you want to write school papers about Unveiled bc it helps spread the word!! Ashley Gray did this one - check it out - super well written! A+ from us!!
February 2, 2015
1) Pre-Interview Materials.
Confident, committed, passionate, trustworthy, positive, and role model are some of the key componentsthat come to mind when I think of a good leader. More often than usual, we see individuals leading organizations, businesses, and teams with an overbearing personality that they are superior amongst everyone. However, that is not always the approach you want to go for. Before you can be a leader, you must first be a follower. You must be open to the knowledge of others, intertwining it with your own morals, and use those qualities to encourage those who have grown to look at you for inspiration. To me, there is one person out there who has done just that and her name is Ainsley Britain.
At just 24 years old, Ainsley has already made a name for herself as an actress, singer, author, and a philanthropist. This past year, she made a huge leap when she began her very own online non-profit organization called UNVEILED. This campaign’s purpose is to encourage everyone to “unveil” the lies we tell ourselves in order for us to fulfill our dreams and destinies. Through videos, stories, inspirational posts, and even public speaking assemblies, Unveiled has inspired people of all ages to tell their stories that may be filled with pain and shame, and turn them into worthy, coming of age tales.
As the frontrunner of her campaign, Ainsley has put forth a substantial amount of leadership qualities. In her own words, she describes the leadership qualities that she must possess within her program. “From delegating volunteers and communicating, to participants in one’s campaign, organizing videography, and answering as many questions as possible, leadership skills are put to the test. It takes a lot of encouraging other and also making sure people are doing provided tasks, which I believe are qualities leaders should have.”
These are the questions that I asked Ainsley throughout the interview:
- Talk a little about your organization, and the qualities you possess within it.
- Who has impacted you as a leader, and how have they impacted your life?
- What are some of the most important decisions you’ve made as a leader?
- Where do your ideas for Unveiled come from?
- What is most important to Unveiled in terms of mission, core values, or vision?
- If you were to choose one characteristic that every leaders should possess, what would it be?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge that leaders are faced with in today’s world?
- What advice would you give to someone who was going into a leadership position for the first time?
Considering Ainsley and I have a long distance commute with her in Tennessee and myself in Arizona, we unfortunately could not meet in person to conduct this interview. However, we were able to both manage time on Tuesday, January 27 where we could talk via email.
Here are the interview questions, along with each response that Ainsley gave to me:
Talk a little about your organization, and the qualities you possess within it.
Unveiled is a (forming) online non-profit whose goal is to “unveil” the lies we believe about ourselves such as “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not worthy” so we can fulfill our dreams and destinies. Within starting a non-profit, one absolutely must possess leadership skills. From delegating volunteers and communicating, to participants in one’s campaign, organizing videography, and answering as many questions as possible, leadership skills are put to the test. As a frontrunner, It takes a lot of encouraging others and also making sure people are doing provided tasks, which I believe are qualities leaders should have.
Who has impacted you as a leader, and how have they impacted your life?
My mom has been a huge impact and example of a leader in my life, as well as a mentor. She always taught me to be the first person to greet anyone new and she is a director of a non-profit also. As a single mom of 13 years, she raised me to be fearless, independent, and a great leader. She would explain how to do the right thing even if it wasn’t always popular and to lead others to do the right thing as well. As a cheerleader, student class president, youth group leader, and eventually a teacher of youth through public speaking assemblies, I’ve always had a sort of leadership skill and have always enjoyed being in such a position to influence people for the better.
What are some of the most important decisions you’ve made as a leader?
The most important decisions I make as a leader with Unveiled is how I present myself and my reputation. I want to make sure I’m transparent but still show strength and be marketable for high school and colleges to want to hire a speaker to influence others. I don’t want to appear cold and unapproachable, but it’s a careful balance between letting people in on your life and story and keeping a safeguard and distance up. It’s also important for me to connect with the youth and young adults involved with Unveiled. It’s a decision I have to make daily to make sure I check [social media] or reply to a message of some sortwhen I really just want to focus on the administrative side.
Where do your ideas for Unveiled come from?
The ideas come from random bursts of inspiration, a story submitted to unveiled, or my friends and family. The Lord usually plants little idea seeds in my brain and I go from there, but it’s important to me to see what people around me are going through and feed off of the things they need to see or hear.
What is most important to Unveiled in terms of mission, core values, or vision?
I’d say our mission is the most important thing to our organization because our mission is to love out our core values and vision to encourage people to believe the best about themselves so they can fulfill their huge dreams and know that the negativity surrounding them can be stopped simply with words and what you tell yourself or believe about yourself. It’s so crucial for us to walk out our mission and go out and tell people these things every day. We have to go physically and make sure people feel loved and encouraged, which is a natural thing with everyone involved in Unveiled so that’s a sweet, sweet thing.
If you were to choose one characteristic that every leaders should possess, what would it be?
I believe every leader should possess a sense of relate-ability. No one wants to be lead by someone they feel disconnected to or misunderstood by. A leader has to make sure they’re serving their audience and that means understanding what they are dealing with and remembering you were in the same place.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that leaders are faced with in today’s world?
In my opinion, leaders are placed under a type of microscope and it’s difficult to not let words or negativity from others affect you. Everyone says you have to have “thick skin,” but skin is only so thick before it becomes calloused and unable to feel certain things, which then removed a sense of being able to relate to your leader. So if people were more understanding and less judgemental in general, I think it would be a healthier environment for leaders to expand on their confidence and encouragement.
What advice would you give to someone who was going into a leadership position for the first time?
I would advise them to not try and act like you’re perfect. At the very beginning of your position, let the people under you know that you aren’t perfect, but you will try your best to look out for their interests as well as the interests of the mission. There’s too much pressure in perfection, which can head to a nasty fall and hurt one’s confidence. Transparency is key, but as are boundaries. Also, smile because those are contagious and awesome!
3) Post-Interview Learning Summary
One of the greatest things I learned is that when it comes to leadership, you need to be able to find a balance between being the friend while also having a guard up because of your placement. I learned this lesson back in 2009, and here with Ainsley I was reminded of the importance of it. When I was a cheerleader in highschool I was asked my senior year to come back the following year as an assistant coach. It was a wonderful experience, butI had made friends with them when I was a cheerleader and I didn’t know how to properly coach them. Eventually I was able to build myself a medium in which they called me coach, but I could also encourage them as a role model and sister figure.
When it comes to leadership, everyone is different and we all have our own unique ways of approaching certain jobs and goals. I think it’s all about knowing your environment, targeted audience, and being able to accommodate both of those. For instance, you wouldn’t want a strict military personnel teaching a ballet class. With Ainsley’s approach, her audience is mostly made of high school and college students via the internet. By allowing herself the time of day to communicate through social media and talk to everyone, she’s able to create a character of the role model she is. Her overall appearance and reputation is significant when it comes to building her foundation.
I choose to interview Ainsley because I appreciate and respect her overall leadership approach. I see a lot of similarities between her and myself which is important when you’re a leader. You want to connect on a level that is not a leader talking down to a follower, but a leader encouraging another leader based on their knowledge. If I could do this project over again the only thing I would want to change was being able to have a face to face interview with Ainsley, so that I could ask more questions. Overall, I’m very happy with the outcomeand look forward to watching her grow through her campaign as well the incredible leader that she is.
If you would like to check out the Unveiled Campaign, visit their website at www.unveiledcampaign.com.