Steel Magnolia in Pakistan

Cheryl offers:  Dressed in traditional Muslim attire, the beautiful face of Mukhtar Mai stares at me from a magazine page with a hint of serenity, courage, and steely determination in her eyes. The story below her picture reads “After her brother held hands with a girl of a higher caste, as punishment Mukhtar Mai was gang raped and led naked down dusty streets in Pakistan. Beside the field where she suffered the darkest violence, Mukhtar built an abused women’s shelter, legal aid clinic, and two schools. Out of tragedy, she formed a lasting hope.” We cannot always control the events of our lives, yet we certainly do control how we respond to them. Years ago Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus famously wrote “A business short on capital can borrow money, and one with a poor location can move. But a business short on leadership has little chance of survival,” I found this in a great leadership book which is no longer available called The Essence of Leadership by Edwin A. Locke. Mukhtar’s organizations have not only survived, they have expanded and thrived.   The fact Mukhtar has started and runs not one, but four different businesses would seem to be affirmation enough that they are blessed with her leadership talents and skills, courage, understanding, and appreciation for the importance of education and more importantly, generosity of spirit.  Like a steel magnolia, she has a lovely exterior, and anyone can tell there is also a steely resolve to make a difference underneath.  She is making a difference and the world is a better place because of it.

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