Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries

A Meandering River Still Reaches the Sea

Amy Fingerle

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874608.ch44

As I have progressed in my professional and personal life—in academia, extracurricular pursuits, and my career—it has become abundantly clear that many of the qualities that make a strong leader are identical to those possessed by a self-aware, fulfilled individual. Under the weight and influence of societal pressures, what is less obvious but just as important to understand is that we each function and obtain fulfillment in different ways. We can therefore deduce that the path to become a leader, or to practice leadership, cannot possibly be the same for everyone. Perhaps by sharing the path one has traveled, the lessons learned from fallen trees climbed over and false summits achieved, others will be inspired to more boldly pursue their own path. Here is mine.

I grew up in a university town and attended school alongside the children of professors and surgeons and lawyers. From kindergarten through high school graduation, there were both explicit and unspoken expectations to take advantage of opportunities to enroll in accelerated classes, play a sport each season, and make time for sufficiently off-the-beaten-path experiences to write about in our college application essays. Within the competitive culture this atmosphere fostered, the focus seemed to be less on self-discovery than on the prospect of future success. We were enormously privileged, but I came to understand that the pressure to follow a charted course might have hindered our ability to give ourselves—our true selves—to the world.