Women Who've Shaped Me

I started reading the book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. I'm only a few chapters into the book, and I wish I would've written it. Besides the fact this book is a raging success, it's also filled with raging reality and truth, particularly that women's voices in leadership is desperately needed. I'm quite confident this blog will continue communicating stories, opportunities, and resources for women in leadership. This is only the beginning of my voice being heard and collecting the voices of strong, beautiful, broken, and gifted women. Let's be clear: no one is a self-made man...or woman. We all have a line of human beings to thank who've molded us into the leaders we are today. As a woman who's been leading for my entire life, I know women need each other. We need other women to push us, move us, mentor us, inspire us, kick our butts, soften our hearts, and pour into us to become the leaders we were created to be. Yes, I wouldn't be the leader I am today without some incredible men in my life (my husband at the top of that list!), but it's the women who've kept me in the game.

Therefore, today, I want to begin by acknowledging some of the women who've shaped my leadership. (I'm sure to get myself into trouble by surely missing a few.)

  • My mom and Grandma Getz - Mom, you removed barriers for me, looked into my soul and said "GO". Granny, if only you were born in another generation...but you were through me and you've never ceased to be my cheerleader and ever proud of me.
  • Jeanne Stevens, Rebecca Lujan Loveless and Kelly Petersen Skiles - You are my BABs, my girls. Jeanne, miraculously, you were my first boss in the church and continuously pushed me until I thought I would break. You didn't stop believing in me and caring about my character as much as you did my contribution. Becca, the prophetic strength of your leadership and tireless voice for women moves me beyond words. You have a faith and hope and love that astounds me. Kelly, my first partner in ministry and faithful encourager. Your leadership gifting and faithfulness to continual growth challenges me. Together, you three are my running partners and dearest friends. I'm so grateful to call you forever friends and leadership co-laborers.
  • Nancy Beach and Nancy Ortberg - When I began my formal leadership journey at the tender age of 18, you stood before me and showed me that being faithful to God's call sometimes meant more than your family. I watched your lives and wondered if I could be like you when I grew up. I've grown up and I'm ridiculously grateful you are both still present in my life, speaking into it now 17 years later. Thank you for pioneering ahead of my generation and reaching back to pull us along.
  • Mindy Caliguire - Ten years of investment is impossible to convey in a few lines. Your personal commitment to soul health and leadership strength has given me a compass for spiritual leadership. Countless coffee dates, cross-country phone calls, and endless prayers have brought me to a place of confidence, strength, and brokenness in my leadership.
  • Kara Powell - When I read your books in college, I had no idea that you'd become such a dear friend and mentor. You've taught me more about being a "working mom" than most anyone. Your executive leadership capacity, enormous mothering heart, and relentless pursuit of Jesus have deeply informed me. And you lead some of the best meetings in the world.
  • Erin Kim - My dear friend, you embody servant leadership in its purest form. You love the ones our God cares most about - orphans - and compellingly invite us into the grand adventure of loving the orphan with you. Your life and leadership is chock full of authenticity, authority, humility, and reckless obedience.
  • Women staff at Newsong Church - Forever it's been my dream to serve alongside fantastically strong women in leading God's people. Never has there been a day where that's been truer than today. Julie, Rehana, and Liz - you spearhead the way for a generation of women throughout our community. You are so very good.

Last, but certainly not least: Addise Aster Tarike Diaz. You've shaped me, my daughter, in every way, everyday. Even at 3 years old, you are clearly a strong, strong leader. I lead so one day you can lead with less limitations, restrictions, prejudices, and injustices. I lead so you can see an obedient momma who's committed to the calling God's placed in my life. I lead so you will see modeled that developing the gifts God has created you with is so very important. I lead so you know you can lead, too.


Women, we need each other to lead in the ways God's called us to. There's enough societal - and even religious - pressure not to lead. But we must. We must lean into the divine callings God's placed within us and not settle for anything less. May your list of women who've shaped you remind you that you are who you are because of God's people. And may you thank them today for depositing those leadership offerings into your soul.



April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.