There are people that you meet and you instantly feel as though you have known them your entire life. Peggy Flanagan is one of those people. She is warm, authentic, smart as hell, funny, and fierce. Peggy is also a mom, a partner, a Native woman and passionate about using her platform and voice to make things better for women and children.
I met Peggy when she was the Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund in Minnesota. Our worlds intersected when we participated in an 18-month leadership program focused on improving state child well-being policies. Over the course of the intensive program, we got to know each other and members of our cohort very well.
We became each other’s sounding boards, cheerleaders, and at times, a trusted shoulder to cry on. The program was incredibly rewarding but also extremely challenging.
I have bittersweet memories of that time — feelings of inadequacy and struggles with my own insecurities around trying to be a better child advocate. It was in one of these moments that I distinctly recall Peggy gently encouraging me to use my voice, regardless of how scared I felt, or how softly I spoke. She reminded me that my words have meaning and power and to not give up that power just because I had fear or didn’t think others would like what I had to say. I have never forgotten that moment and it continues to shape me and how I show up every day.
Since that time, I’ve had the honor of watching Peggy in action as an advocate and cheering her on from afar in her journey to elected office. Earlier this year, she was sworn into office as the Lt. Gov. of Minnesota —becoming the highest ranking Native woman to hold state office — in history. Let that sink in for a second.
Peggy is part of a growing movement of women running for and holding office across the country in 2019: 127 in Congress, 86 statewide elected officials and 2,126 in state legislatures. That doesn’t include the thousands of women holding office at the local government and school board level!
These are women like many of us — with growing lists of things to take care of at home and work — who decided to stand up to be a voice for their communities. Making change is not an easy task, but Peggy and these women are not only up for the challenge, but they welcome it and charge into battle for all of us!
To me, Peggy is the epitome of a boss lady. That’s why when I joined North, I knew she had to be a featured guest on our Boss Talk podcast. During this episode, we covered #allthethings — from balancing working mom life to struggling with “imposter syndrome” to sharing our favorite boss lady jams. As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we can’t think of a better way to end it than to share our conversation with this Minnesota boss lady with Boss Talk nation!