Written by Katrina Daniel Tuesday, May 22 2012
Tara Sophia Mohr, nationally-recognized leadership coach
Tara Sophia Mohr is truly the child of a kindler, gentler, more progressive universe; that kindness and progressiveness is the basis of her life’s work.
When Mohr was 14, her English teacher assigned a variety of books around the coming of age theme and every title – “Black Boy,” “Lord of the Flies” and “A Separate Peace” – featured stories about boys written by men. She knew that the story of girls coming of age was very different, and with these titles, they would only be learning half the story. Her response: Mohr met with the principal, formed a committee, raised funds, lobbied the school board and eventually works about girls, written by women, were added to the curriculum. This foundational experience continues to be at the heart of Mohr’s work - “to restore feminine vision to the world. To help create a world that is equally shaped by women and men’s voices, perspectives and strengths. To bring our world back into balance in this way.”
Today Mohr’s work includes coaching women leaders, leading the Playing Big global leadership program as well as leading The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign, through which hundreds of bloggers write about the importance of investing in girls’ education in the developing world. In 2010, Mohr stepped in the national spotlight when she wrote her, “10 Rules for Brilliant Women” - that called on women to stop waiting for validation and to instead own their own brilliance and share it with the world. Her piece struck a chord, and she was featured on the “Today” show as well as on media outlets from Boston to Seattle.
Womenetics: What would you say is the driving force behind your mission of equality, understanding and strength for women?
Tara Sophia Mohr: I remember a day when I slid into the backseat of my car when my mom came to pick me up from school. “Mom,” I said, “I hate Johnny. He teased me at recess.” My mom replied, ”What do you think is going on at home for Johnny that would cause him to tease other kids?” That was how I grew up - with an emphasis on empathy and understanding human psychology and motivation from a very young age. My mom lived with a kind of ever-present spirituality that deeply informed my own love of being on a spiritual path. And my dad is a total sweetheart - one of the most ethical, kind men you will ever meet.
Womenetics: If someone had no access to the Internet, how would you explain what you do?
Mohr: Oy! No Internet? Hmm... I help women create careers and lives that make them happy, that are true to who they really are. I do that through my writing, through courses I lead and through working one-on-one with individuals. I think of my work as a hybrid of business and art because I’m guided both by what will thrive in the marketplace and by an inner vision of what I want to express in the world.
Womenetics: Explain to us your special project, the Girl Effect blogging campaign. What was your goal? What’s the mission?
Mohr: I was incredibly moved by the short educational videos being produced by the Girl Effect organization. I thought: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a single day when bloggers devoted the space on their blogs to sharing the videos and spreading the message of investing in girls’ well-being and education? I reached out to my network of bloggers to invite them to participate by blogging about this on a particular day, and provided them with links to the tools they needed to get more informed about the issues. Everyone who blogged was also asked to spread the word to other bloggers. We had over 800 bloggers participate this year. As a result, people have raised funds, volunteered, gotten involved with related causes and gained an appreciation for the privilege they and their daughters have.
Womenetics: What has been your biggest challenge?
Mohr: Patience. People keep telling me my business has had a meteoric rise to success because so much has happened over the past two years. After all, I was featured on the “Today” show talking about my work just two years after I had quit my old job and changed to this new career. But along the way, I have often felt that things were taking too long. I’m so passionate about everything I am building, and sometimes it’s hard to enjoy the journey. I want it all yesterday!
Womenetics: What lessons have you learned? What would you do differently?
Mohr: To get social with social media sooner in the process. I wasted a long time blogging but not really connecting with other bloggers in the way I needed to build an audience. I also wished I had learned sooner about some of the tactics for launching online products - those little tactical things that make a big difference in sales.
Womenetics: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Mohr: Running a thriving media company that provides a portfolio of resources - online, written, video, audio and events - that helps women create more fulfilling, knock-the-ball-out-of-the park lives and careers. Delivering some of those offerings myself and having a team that delivers others.
Womenetics: What makes you smile when you get out of bed in the morning? And, what do you do to relax?
Mohr: My husband and my writing make me smile, and my friends coming over later in the day for a cup of tea. Green tea. My health. Quite honestly I’m not the best at relaxing, but it does happen, usually when I’m just hanging out with my husband, taking a bath or going dancing.
Read more about female leaders and their secrets to success:
Find out how Jackie Zehner became the youngest woman in partnership with Goldman Sachs.
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This is how we do it: Female leaders and our unique way of getting things done.
Katrina Daniel is an award-winning journalist and broadcast reporter/anchor. She has worked in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and as a national correspondent for several networks. She commutes between Miami and the Carolinas, writing for magazines and news organizations. She lives with one horse, four dogs and a cat.