Welcome to Powerful Leaders, No Apologies.



Show Notes

In this first episode of Season 2, Debbie brings back the first guest from Season 1, Amanda Koplos. Amanda shares the transformative power of vulnerability in building trust and fostering authentic connections within teams. Through her experiences, Amanda emphasizes the importance of embracing self-doubt and leveraging it as a catalyst for personal and professional growth in the realm of legal leadership.

Links from the episode:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss Farmers Insurance Video  

Connect with Debbie on LinkedIn  

Powerful Leaders Swag Shop    

[1:00] Welcome to Season 2!

[08:14] The power of vulnerability in leadership

[28:06] Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

  • Transcript


    Debbie Foster (00:03):

    Welcome back to The Powerful Leaders No Apologies podcast, where we celebrate fierce, fabulous females making waves in the legal world. I’m Debbie Foster and I’m excited to introduce you to these women who are leading the charge with their bold leadership and influential journeys ready to be inspired by their powerful stories. Here’s the show.



    Welcome to episode one of Season two of the Powerful Leaders. No Apologies, I’m super glad that you’re here. And if you didn’t listen to my quick little teaser about season two, I’m flying solo, and I just want to take a quick minute to say how much I appreciate this podcast coming to life with Beth Thompson, who is a dear friend of mine and has a very busy, very important job with Actionstep. And she has just gotten a promotion, super happy for her, but she’s decided to take a step back. And so I’m going to be flying solo from this point forward on the podcast. And I am also excited to have Amanda Les back on as my guest. Amanda was our first guest on season one episode one of Powerful Leaders. No apologies. And there’s some things going on in Amanda’s life right now where she’s about to take on the reins of a really big position, and as I was thinking about who should be the guest for season two episode one, my mind immediately went to Amanda and she graciously agreed. So Amanda, thank you for being my episode one, season two guest. Maybe you’ll just always be the first guest on every season. I love it. Yeah, that’d be great. Thank you for being here.


    Amanda Koplos (01:51):

    I love it. No problem. I appreciate it. I had a blast the last time and I had my own podcast for a while and I super miss it. And so I saw your email come through and it was like podcasts, and I was like, yes. Say less about this, Debbie. I’m all in. What do we need to do? But yes, you’re right. I’m very busy right now. We are all very, very busy, but we always have time for you. Well,


    Debbie Foster (02:10):

    Tell me what’s going on. What are you about to do? We already kind of talked about this last year, but it’s real now.


    Amanda Koplos (02:17):

    Yes, it is. So I’m about 60 ish, oh gosh, less than that. 50 ish days away from becoming president of the Association of Legal Administrators. You’ve talked a lot about that organization. We have 9,000 plus members across the world, primarily based in the United States, but we do have many other countries represented as well. And our whole association is devoted to people who are leading the business of law. So we’re law firm administrators and managers of all sorts and styles. So the president-elect role is an elected position, and it’s a one year term because God knows I could not do more than a year, but as you are, they start throwing you into the fire, I guess, learning by fire right away. So it’s been very busy few months, I’d like to think it’s going to slow down, but they say it only gets worse. I’m okay with that. It’s


    Debbie Foster (03:13):

    Fine. It’s a big job and it’s such an important job, and I know for me, my career in working with law firms and helping legal professionals lead law firms a LA has played such an important role for me. And so I think maybe we could just take a minute to talk a little bit about who should be a member of the A LA. And if you’re listening and you aren’t a member or a supporter of the A LA, you should know more about that organization because it is so valuable to almost everyone in my kind of circle of influence. So maybe you could just tell us a little bit about the association to make sure that everybody knows.


    Amanda Koplos (03:53):

    Sure. So it really is as basic as I just said, our members are empowered to lead the business of law. And so that could be Lawyerist and managing partners. Primarily it is administrators. Our largest, I’d say 80% of us are administrators of firms. So the primary role, so whether it be an office manager or executive director, COO, all those titles, we know there’s so many and they all pretty much mean the same thing. So those roles, but then also we have people who are controllers of organizations, directors of finance, human resources. It’s those people who are taking a law firm from practicing Lawyerist to a business. And we help you manage the business of law. We help you whether it’s through, we say it’s knowledge, networking and resources, right? Knowledge is our educational conferences and our webinars. Then networking is all the great stuff that we do at conferences or just at lunches or coffee or small in-person lunches. And then resources is the partnerships we make with people like Debbie and Affinity and their business partners. And so those are the three things we offer basically. And so I think members are anybody interested. I mean, our membership is basically anyone interested in the business of law that doesn’t already automatically work for a business partner is a member. And it’s very broad, purposely very broad.


    Debbie Foster (05:25):

    And from a business partner perspective, if you sell products and services to law firms, get involved with your local chapters, get involved with a national, it’s just a great place to go where there are decision makers and influencers and people who can help you get better at selling into law firms and working more closely with law firms to help them solve some of their challenges. So it’s been a huge part of my professional life and just getting to meet people like Amanda, and I mean, it’s really been a big part of my life. A lot of my friends are a friends, and I don’t know what I would do without those people. So yeah, super excited.


    Amanda Koplos (06:05):

    I have a lot of a friends, yes, I have more a friends than I have non a LA friends. I always tell the story that when my husband and I got married, it’s been many years, not many years, but it’s been years now, we had a very small wedding, 50 people at our wedding, Debbie, and we each got to pick 25. And on my 25 side, eight of them, four were people I had met in a LA and their spouses. So eight of my 25 came out of a LA, and those people are still important to me. So that’s the people that we doubled down with on our life. So I promise, I know it sounds like we’re a cult. We’re not a cult


    Debbie Foster (06:40):

    For sure.


    Amanda Koplos (06:41):

    Yes, we’re not a cult, but we do have the benefits of that comradery, right?


    Debbie Foster (06:46):

    Yeah. I’m actually kind of surprised that you didn’t borrow five or eight or 10 of your husband’s invites in that whole process. No. No. Okay.


    Amanda Koplos (06:56):

    No, he has. I have his friends too.


    Debbie Foster (07:01):

    So the of the reasons why I really wanted to have you on is because first of all, I really do admire you and respect you as a leader. And I’ve had some experience not just in watching you as you’ve come up through the A LA, but working with you at your firm and working with someone at your firm who works for you. That was a mentee of mine. And so I’ve gotten to see lots of different aspects of your leadership style. And one of the things that I think is an important distinction when it comes to leadership is thinking about what it takes to be a leader of people on your team who you’re trying to get work done and figure out who’s best at doing what and finding people superpowers and all that good stuff. And then also being a leader of leaders, which is a little tiny nuance, but it’s a big difference. And because you have stepped into this role, and you were in chapter leadership first in Austin, and I think have been in chapter leadership in Orlando as well,


    Amanda Koplos (08:06):

    I haven’t yet. Really? Oh, you’ll be, but I’ll come back around to them in a few years. Oh yeah, don’t worry. Don’t worry.


    Debbie Foster (08:12):

    And then leading through a national, especially in a national, you go to a board meeting and you are sitting around a table of people who have led chapters and some big chapters of the organization and who are leaders in their law firms too. And so that’s different than when we show up for work and we’re leading people who are on our teams. And I just would love for you to talk a little bit about that nuance of leading leaders.


    Amanda Koplos (08:40):

    Sure. It’s very difficult to lead when you have no power over the person who has to respond to you when you have no control over how much they get paid and whether or not they get a promotion and whether or not they get PTO or a bonus. When you have none of those things, you don’t have the stick. We always talk about when you manage people, it’s the carrot or stick philosophy. Do you motivate them positively or do you negatively impact them? But when you are leading volunteer leaders, you have no sticks. You have to do it all through carrots. And so especially, it’s a whole bunch of people like me, it’s a whole bunch of a people. We are the leaders of our organizations and we have led chapters. And so you’re dealing with strong personalities, you’re dealing with individual ambitions, and really what you have to do is maintain a cohesive structure and convince people to show up as their best selves with only the reward of doing the best job to dangle in front of them.



    And it requires, as a leader, you have to have do it through inspiration, recognition, and support. It’s a three-tiered process. So to I emphasize our shared mission and get them on board with it. We recently had a training event called the Association Leadership Institute. It’s a invite only training. It’s only 60 people, and it’s for those of us in the association who are at the highest, not highest here, but we’re all in the elected positions. And so we have a training session and it’s kicked off by the President-elect, and that session is training leaders to lead other leaders. It’s a great event, and it’s kind of like a kickoff to training them to lead, but we actually had entire sessions on how do you lead and motivate leaders and how do you recognize them? And that a lot of that is through the importance of showing the shared mission and showing them the impact they can make through that.



    So it’s very motivational, and when you give support, what’s interesting is that you have to give a lot of grace to people in ALA because they are also doing very real full-time jobs. We had another session come on recently. We use a lot of LS in a LA, but we had the essentials of chapter leadership, which is an educational thing we put on to lead for chapter leaders to learn how to lead their chapters. I am the mc of this event, Debbie. So at the end of every session, I’m coming on and talking and introducing the next group or whatever. I had a partner, even though I had to do not disturb on my door, walk in, walk behind me and need something. And so I quickly sent a message. I didn’t go off camera because I want people to see that vulnerability. I want people to see I still have to do a job, put myself on mute, turned around and helped him and came right back. So yeah, you have to give them grace to do their jobs. You do. And you have to know that when they come in, I’ve come into a board meeting after having to terminate somebody. I’ve had come in after a bad board meeting internally where I was, and I have to bring all that in. And so yeah,


    Debbie Foster (11:54):

    It’s a lot. I think that this idea of how busy everyone is and we’re all trying to carve out pieces of time from our schedules to do really great work and show up as our best selves. It’s just not always easy to lead that group. I think because I’m friends with so many, I don’t know how many people of the 60 that were in the room, but I probably friends with 50 of them, and I saw lots of their posts on LinkedIn, and I saw something that you did that I thought was super cool, and it really speaks to how do you inspire them. You had a theme. Tell me about your theme and tell me how you picked it.


    Amanda Koplos (12:33):

    I did have a theme. I love a great theme. I love a great theme. We’re planning another event right now, and somebody from headquarters goes, well, you have a theme. And I was like, that’s not the question. The question is, what will your theme be? I will a hundred percent have a theme. And that kind of harkens back to a LA of old. We did a lot more themes back in the old days. And so I’m trying to figure out what made me excited about being in a LA and what can keep people excited. So how do you have a theme without being too corny? And so it’s like this fine line, but anyways, my theme was, here we go, is kind of like the message I’m going to be, I don’t know, preaching, but the message I’m going to be spreading throughout my president year.



    And as president, we don’t really have a bully pulpit. It’s really our goal is to inspire. So here we go, is kind of built on. AI is going through a lot of changes, a lot of stuff coming up, but we’ve put a lot of stuff in place. So let’s go. There we go. So kind of play on that was we did a Dr. Seuss themed, oh, the Places You’ll Go. And I came up with the idea, but the way people leaned into it was just so flattering and so motivating. We had somebody who had to do a 15 minute presentation on the changes of governance in a LA, right? The do list topic. Her name is Alyssa Goldstein, love her to death. She shows up in a full Grinch costume, gets out of the corner, walks up full Grinch costume. She’s doing the Jim Carrey, looks like she’s pausing, and she does her whole first opening in the Jim Carrey voice.



    And people afterwards were like, this is the best session on governance we’ve ever had. But every single person who had to speak leaned into that theme. There was poems all over the place, people who used their own money to buy costumes to present, and it was great. But I also feel like it was motivational, right? Because the goal was for us to say, all these things are possible. A LA has. All these things are possible. And the last session I bought copies of, oh, the places will Go. And I wrote individual messages to every single volunteer attendee thinking that individual for coming, but also using specific examples of how they will be able to impact our association. And I want ’em to take it and I mean, set it on a bookshelf and 10 years later open it up and see somebody encourage them and thank them.


    Debbie Foster (14:58):

    So is, I don’t know if, I can’t remember now if it was last year at a annual or if it was the year before, but I closed my session with, oh, the Places You’ll Go, and there’s a video, and I will ask Chelsea to link it in the show notes. Farmers Insurance did it. And I’m not exactly sure why they did it, but they’re the sponsor of it. And so the ad plays at the beginning of the end, but they read the book and you see all the pictures. And if you haven’t taken the time to read through that book, why would you? Unless it’s sitting on your bookshelf or you’re reading it to your kids or whatever,


    Amanda Koplos (15:33):

    Unless you’re graduating from college, right? It’s such


    Debbie Foster (15:36):

    A motivational, inspirational book.


    Amanda Koplos (15:40):

    It really is. It really is. I read from it. And yeah, I mean,


    Debbie Foster (15:45):



    Amanda Koplos (15:46):

    My whole idea, Debbie, this is the funniest story, and I told everybody this story, but couple of 12, 13 years ago, there was this thing that went around social media about this dad who bought these books for his kids when they were young, and then went to every single teacher they had throughout their entire elementary, middle school, high school school, and had them write notes to their kids. And he gave this to ’em at their high school graduation day, and they got to read all the notes from all the teachers they had had. And I had very young kids at the time, and I was like, oh my God, this is great. I’m going to do it. I bought two books and I made it through Mother’s Day Out, and I made it through kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and that’s about it because I’m a working mom with big ambitions. I mean, I have kids whose baby books stopped at eight months, maybe he walked, who knows, it’s not his baby book. But I found these books when we were moving recently, and I opened them up and I sealed the nice things. And I just think to myself, this is going to be such a great graduation gift to my kids someday. But they’re going to say, mom,


    Debbie Foster (16:48):

    What happened? You’ll be like, I did my best


    Amanda Koplos (16:51):

    Lead plans, best lead plans. I did my best as a mom. I mean, your food on the table. I know


    Debbie Foster (16:57):

    My daughter has a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, and I have multiple times in her little journey as a mom sent her. The thing that said something about the Instagram thing behind every mom who thinks they have it all together is someone who’s like, what am I screwing up today? Right. We’re all just trying to figure it out as we go.


    Amanda Koplos (17:18):

    It’s the Instagram moms who photographed one side of their house because they’ve moved all the mess from that part, and it’s now in the part behind it. Right? Nobody’s doing three sixties of the whole house.


    Debbie Foster (17:30):

    No, no, it’s really true. And I think as ambitious female leaders thinking about Instagram is the highlight reel. It’s not the whole movie. You watch the highlight reel and you’re like, that is going to be the funniest movie. And then you’re like, every funny part was in the highlight reel. It actually wasn’t that funny. Just the reel was funny. So there’s lessons there. Instagram


    Amanda Koplos (17:55):

    Is like a trailer for your life is what you’re saying. Yes,


    Debbie Foster (17:57):

    Exactly. There are little lessons there for sure. Okay, so let me ask you this question. As you have led so many leaders in your journey, especially just in a LA, and probably even outside of that too, but any unexpected lessons that you’ve learned along the way?


    Amanda Koplos (18:15):

    I would say that I have learned about the power of vulnerability in leadership. So it’s natural to assume that leaders always should project confidence and authority. And I’ve discovered that showing vulnerability as an example, explaining that you didn’t do the baby book thing that you had set out to do because you’re just not there. It can strengthen connections and foster trust and acknowledging my own limitations, which I was not at all prepared to do and does not something that comes easy to acknowledge my own limitations and being open about my challenges. And when I speak, I say if I make a mistake and I’m speaking live, I just laugh it off and go back and forth. I was not prepared. That vulnerability can encourage others to do the same. A LA is great because it’s kind of our playground of where everybody in the room wants us to succeed, and if we fail in the leadership or what we’re doing is public speaking, they’re there to lift us back up again. But I’ve noticed that when I’m, one of the unexpected lessons I’ve learned is that being vulnerable is actually motivational and not a weakness.


    Debbie Foster (19:29):

    That’s really good. And it’s so true, and especially when you are in a position, and I watch this in a room, whether it’s at a chapter or at a annual, and you look around the room and you know that there are people who are sitting in that room thinking, I could never do what that person is doing.


    Amanda Koplos (19:48):

    Could never do it,


    Debbie Foster (19:49):

    But they could actually. They could because you and them we’re the same people with the same struggles and the same self-doubt and all of those things. We’re the same people. You just have to take that first step forward. And that’s one of the things that I love about the A LA, and not that I didn’t ask for her permission before this, but I feel like I’ve talked about Julie who works for you, and Julie was my mentee through the Susan L. French program, through the A Foundation, which another thing I love about the A LA is they have a foundation, the charitable always looking to give back. And I have two mentees now that are just, oh my gosh, they’re amazing. Oh,


    Amanda Koplos (20:30):

    I know. I was on the foundation and got to interview and vote and choose those two. And they are going to be powerful future leaders.



    Debbie, when you write this list of powerful leaders, the two of them, and Julie too, I’ll tell you about Julie. So when I started here, we had kind of this, our firm is growing, so we have a hundred people now. We have 50 attorneys, so some firms that are smaller, an office manager or people in my role can do it all right? But once you get to having a hundred people, the executive director has to focus on things that are not, like the air conditioning is not working, the sink in the kitchen is backed up. Those office manager type two Ds. And so we had runners and we had this role open for this office services person to basically manage the runners, and they found Julie and they brought her in. And so I didn’t pick her. She came in not long after I started here.



    I said, let’s see what Julie can do. Let’s see what she can do. And so over the past four years, it’s really about lifting her up and seeing what she can do. And when I tell you that I’m encouraging her, she is president elect of the central Florida a LA chapter. And four years ago, she could not stand up in front of a crowd and say a word, and she’ll tell you she still can’t do that. She still says she can’t, but I know she can’t. And I encourage her all the time to do that. And I’m super excited for Julie. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what will be next for her when she leaves this firm. I’d like to think she’s going to be here forever unless we grow exponentially. I have to sit with the realistic that she isn’t going to be here with me forever.



    But we’ve talked about what jobs are there in legal. I spend a lot of time, do you want to go into hr? If you want to go into hr, here’s what we need to do for you. If you want to go into finance, here’s what we need to do for you. If you want to do an office manager role for a large national law firm, those are great roles. That’s where I came from. It’s really great leadership opportunity. You will need some HR experience. So how can we get you some of that you will need, she’s got the facilities down. But I also we’re about to do a big build out. Julie’s never done one before, so I have told her, you are in every meeting I am in, you are on every email I’m on. At the end of it, when we use all the words and you didn’t understand where they are, pull me aside and I will tell you what every single word meant. And so maybe by next time she’ll be prepared to do it herself, and I won’t have to do, I figure out which attorney is getting which office.


    Debbie Foster (23:04):

    And I so enjoyed the sessions that I got to do with her and with that group. The other person with Julie ended up not leaving. I think she left legal. So it was just Julie and I where Joanna and Erica, I have both of them, and they’re actually going to be guests on the show in a few weeks. They’re going to be on, oh, look at that.


    Amanda Koplos (23:23):

    I speak it. And so it shall be true.


    Debbie Foster (23:25):

    Exactly. They’re really amazing. But I saw that announcement about Julie and I cannot help but be so proud of what she’s accomplished because I remember at CLI, after our last year, CLI, she had to get up on stage and she was like, oh my gosh. And she did amazing. She just got up there and she owned it and she did it. And that’s part of the most fulfilling part of my job. And I know your job is wanting more for the people that we surround ourselves with and figuring out how to help them get there,


    Amanda Koplos (23:59):

    Right? And some of it is just telling them, Julie, what role are you going to take? And she said to me, maybe I’ll be president someday. And I was like, well, who’s going to be president next year? Well, I’m not sure. Oh, so you’re not sure there isn’t somebody waiting? Why isn’t it you then? Well, because I know No, you have unprecedented law firm support. Not all firms support leaders the way ours does. Very, very fortunate for that. And if I walk over to your desk and I’m like, Hey, whatcha working on today? And you tell me a LA, okay, cool. Is everything your job done? Yeah. Great. Okay. A LA. Great. Perfect. Let’s do it. So you have no, there’s no excuse. There’s no excuse. You have great support system. Our firm, our two other administrative managers, our HR manager and our controller. Were both central Florida a LA presidents. So I will, when Julie is, I’ll have three and then me. So I’ll have a whole full firm full of it.


    Debbie Foster (24:58):

    And that’s one of the things that I think when we think about this podcast, the whole reason why we started this podcast is because how do you make more powerful female leaders? You engage the powerful female leaders to do so. And that’s what I love seeing people with the passion for doing that. And I love being someone who can be impactful there too, whether it be through a formal mentor-mentee relationship, or just what we share as leaders when we’re speaking or presenting or coaching people. There’s just so many opportunities to do that, and it is really one of my favorite parts of my job, and I know it’s yours


    Amanda Koplos (25:38):

    Too. Yeah, I love it. Yep.


    Debbie Foster (25:41):

    Now, I want to just shift gears because it’s kind of related, and I know there are probably a million things that we could have talked about, and this time has gone by so fast. But before I ask you my last question, was there anything else you wanted to touch on? Because I want to make sure that if you have any other,


    Amanda Koplos (25:57):

    I have a story for you. Okay. Can you indulge me a minute for a story? Yes,


    Debbie Foster (26:00):

    Please. I would love that.


    Amanda Koplos (26:01):

    So I told you I got an email from you last week or so. Will you be on the podcast? I had dinner with a friend that night, not a LA friend. I have a few of them I know not in legal. And I said, oh my God, I’m going to be on a podcast. And he goes, I thought you had a podcast. I was like, I do, but it’s on hiatus and I’m going to be on Debbie Foster’s podcast. He goes, well, who’s Debbie Foster? And I was like, well, okay, first of all, she’s like the most connected person in law firm management. He goes, okay. And I said, but you don’t understand. Everybody knows Debbie, and she’s a leader in law firm management. He goes, well, okay. And I said, well, she’s a fellow in the College of Law practice management. That’s my goal. And he’s like, aren’t you already like that, aren’t you? No, Nope, I’m not there. That’s not me. And I said, okay, she has her own company. He goes, yeah, great. And I go, you don’t get it. And he goes, no, you don’t get it. You don’t get it, Amanda. You are doing all those things. Stop thinking that somebody is farther. And we talk about the imposter syndrome over and over and over again, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in the room and thought I could never do what Debbie Foster does.


    Debbie Foster (27:16):



    Amanda Koplos (27:16):

    He’s like, you have to stop that mentality. You have to stop it. Yeah. So anyways, I wanted to indulge you on that because it was meant to uplift me not to.


    Debbie Foster (27:27):

    Yeah. But you said something similar. I was just going back through the transcript of our last podcast, and one of the things that stood out to me as I was scrolling through is you said something, I feel like I’m always reading people my resume. I’m always proving that I belong here. And that was a super vulnerable thing to say on the podcast the last time, and I totally agree with your friend. I hear things like that from people. And a lot of it is because, and I’m sure that you hear it too, a lot of it is because a lot of people that know me, know me from me being on a stage, but what they don’t know is how stressed out I was before I got up there, and how I wish I would’ve prepared for multiple hours, and instead it was only 20 minutes, and how I was worried that people were going to get up and walk out, and how I’m always worried that no one’s actually going to show up to what I do. All of those things are true for me, and they’re true for you. But we’re actually, some people look at us and say they really have it all together. And I’m here to tell you that, I mean, some days I have things together more so than others, but there are way more days that I’m like, oh my gosh, that meeting is in five minutes. I better go find whatever it is that I need for that meeting. There’s way more days like that.


    Amanda Koplos (28:44):

    There are way more days like that. A hundred percent. Yeah. My most recent unprepared for a presentation was I was up next on a virtual thing, and I had not prepared it. And I’m writing my slides in the background writing them, and I said, let me share my screen as I put the last word down on my slide. Let’s toe in the line. I’d like to be a little more prepared than that. But yeah, afterwards they were like, oh my God, your presentation was so great. And I was like, yeah, I know.


    Debbie Foster (29:16):

    Yep. That happens to me. And I often, sometimes I say this out loud, sometimes I only think it, I say or think I should not be rewarded for my bad behavior because it gives me no incentive to do better the next time.


    Amanda Koplos (29:29):

    I hope you and I never have to speak together because we’re going to meet up five minutes before and go, did you prepare? No. Did you prepare? No. And then just hopefully off the cuff, let’s go.


    Debbie Foster (29:39):

    That’s right. Well, here’s the last thing I want to ask you, and it’s connected. When I asked you when you were on the podcast before about your leadership superpower, you talked a lot about training people so they can leave you, but treating ’em right, so they stay for as long as they can be there. And I thought that was a really great superpower in something that I’ve seen in real life with you and with Julie. And you talked about the marketing director that you found a role for and how I


    Amanda Koplos (30:07):

    Had breakfast with her last week. Nice. So she’s got a consulting company where she’s outsourcing marketing for law firms. Yeah, absolutely.


    Debbie Foster (30:16):

    So I want to ask you, would you pick a second superpower? Is there anything else on your list that you think this is something, or maybe just something in the last year that as you’ve taken on this new role that you’ve discovered, a new superpower that you’ve had to make?


    Amanda Koplos (30:32):

    Well, yeah. It’s interesting because that superpower doesn’t really hold up in ALA necessarily, right? The encouraging people, giving them professional development, encouraging them to leave you, that power doesn’t really impact when you’re leading a bunch of volunteer leaders. You have to, at that point, your leadership has to be, I would say it’s fostering collaboration. I try to find common ground with everybody, and you’re building this consensus among diverse stakeholders. It’s very difficult when you get into our boardroom where you have 12 people with strong personalities and ambitions and egos, and this, I have to have this delicate balance of empowerment and accountability. So I would say my leadership superpower with regards to what I do in ALA is the ability to foster collaboration. It is the ability to say, you know what? On my current board of directors, there’s a lot of sports enthusiasts.



    So our team building event in August is going to be going to a White Sox game. Last year we went and did an escape room because that was made up of the groups. And I have a, she says, self-titled herself the Chief Sports Officer of the board of directors, because we have a lot of people who are really involved in sports, and I watch baseball, football fan more than anything, but that’s really important to all of them. And we did a March madness bracket, and last year we did some picks and football. So it’s finding that common ground and the things that make things fun. But then it’s also making sure that the people, it’s that inclusivity too. There are people on our board who do not know sports. We have somebody who is not based in the United States. So when we did A NFL football pick them, she didn’t know any of these players.



    And when we just did our March Madness brackets, she didn’t know what we’re doing. So I called her as soon as we announced this, called her separately and said, Hey, here’s what March Madness is. Can we screen share? And let me show you how to make a bracket. I’m not going to tell you the right picks because Lord knows mine, it was out in the first round, whatever, but let me show you how to do this. And so that fostering collaboration, that building inclusivity when you do that, and ultimately it’s also about having fun. I want to have fun. I want people to voluntarily get by a Grinch costume, realize it doesn’t fit. Go to your boyfriend’s mother’s house, have them him the thing, and add a panel on the side so it fits you. And then stay at home and practice your gritch voice and come up and be vulnerable and make a whole bunch of people laugh. That’s what I want to do. And the only way you can do that is if you foster a collaboration.


    Debbie Foster (33:09):

    I love that. That’s great. Amanda, thank you so much for being a guest. I will be in that room cheering you on when you take the gavel and you start your official year as president. And I’m sure you’re going to do amazing.


    Amanda Koplos (33:25):

    Yes. That day. I better be prepared.


    Debbie Foster (33:27):

    You should be prepared on that. They have a teleprompter for you. So they have a


    Amanda Koplos (33:31):

    Teleprompter, and I’m already writing the script. That one I’ll be the most prepared for. That’s amazing. I’ll probably still mess it up, but whatever. That’s


    Debbie Foster (33:38):

    Amazing. Thank you for being a guest. And that’s a wrap for the first episode of Season two of The Powerful Leaders No apologies podcast. And that’s a wrap. Are you feeling inspired? Take that energy and go make a difference today. And don’t forget to subscribe to Keep up with our latest episodes. And if today’s show really resonated with you, share this episode with your friends and colleagues. You’ll also find some resources and ways to connect in the show notes. So until our next episode, get out there and change the world.