1girl’s “In Her Own Words” feature gives us the opportunity to highlight the lives of a wide variety of women who are making an impact in their communities in many different ways. Our first feature is Sue Villilo, MSW, LISW-S, a Social Worker and Executive Director of LSS Faith Mission and CHOICES.
I enjoy reading, cooking and swimming as well as spending time with my friends and family. I am interested and active in groups that promote social justice or equality for all people.
Who or what inspires you?
I work in a shelter for people who are experiencing homelessness. The people that I meet there, who are homeless, inspire me every day. They have such interesting and diverse backgrounds and life stories. They are all in the shelter trying to make a better life for themselves and overcome the difficulties they have faced. They inspire me to work hard, to fight for equality and try to bring about positive changes in the world.
What does it mean to be a leader?
Being a leader means being a great listener so that you can bring people together to work or create change. A leader has to be able to understand what people they are working with really need and want to help guide them in that direction. I think of a leader not as someone who is out in front with others following but as someone who hears what is needed, points the way and then walks with those they are leading. It also means being willing to make some difficult decisions along the way and accept responsibility for how things turn out.
Think back to when you were in middle school – what advice would you offer to yourself knowing what you know now?
I would tell myself it is ok to make mistakes! Try your best but know that everyone messes up from time to time, don’t be afraid of that. If you make a mistake, fix it if you can or apologize and move on if you cannot. Always learn from the mistakes you make, that is a part of life!
Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Sue! You’re making an impact on lives every day.