Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

31 Days of Self Love: Role Models

31 Days of Self Love

Day 28: Who are your role models and what qualities do you share with them? 

I have been very blessed to have many lovely role models in my life. I believe the universe was kind in giving them to me because I’ve been on my own for so very long.

Some of the highlights of my people who have traits I admire include:

Kelly…for the passion with which she loves her kids and is willing to learn new things from them. Also, without a doubt no one has ever had my back like her.
Jelisa…for her ability to love deeply without condition
Tanya…for her steadfastness in friendship and her unique ability to ask questions to get at issues
Nicole…for her ability to love and welcome anyone whether she’s known them for 20 years or 20 minutes
Marilyn…for her massive loads of creativity and an ever present sense of mischief
Linda…for her ability to see good and have hope in all circumstances
Monique…for her ability to laugh even in the dark moments
Melanie…for her indomitable spirit to do the right thing in all things
Marcus…for his contagious energy and belief in himself
Margie…the ultimate female role model, brilliant boss, and person who showed me the importance of making even simple things lovely (For instance, ff you are going to have a simple meal of cheese, crackers, and drink wine, do it on the good dishes in the garden in fall and it suddenly becomes extraordinarily special!)

To this day I still have a deep abiding admiration for Barbara Arlin who was my 1st grade teacher. In my entire life I believe one of the few people who really saw me as I am was this lovely women. She saw my abilities and my deficits and she encouraged me in all of it. She wasn’t afraid to challenge me but she did it with such compassion and care. I was a wounded little girl and she worked hard every day to make sure I wouldn’t stay wounded. Her imprint is indelible.

From a career perspective, my life has been changed by 2 men. Safwan Shah and Russ Dhooge. Each of these men gave me a chance when I needed one. But more than that, they each paid attention and invested in me.

  • Safwan was the one leader in my life that I’ve always said I would follow off a bridge so long as he felt it was a good idea. He has presence, dignity, and gravitas…all with a twinkle in his eye as he thinks of the way he’s going to present the next information in such a way as to enthral a room. When he pays you a compliment, it is never forgotten. He is also never done. Never done thinking about what is next. Never done looking for an opportunity to change the world. Never done expecting to see good things in me and others. He taught me the art of storytelling and how critical it is in how we influence others and improve our products. I’m ever grateful to get to watch his adventures.
  • Russ helped me hone my craft as a Product Manager. He gave me a lot of room to make mistakes and choose unwisely. But he celebrated my successes with great joy. Russ also taught me the art of having a helluva good time while working. He enjoys a puzzle and working it out with smart people and I was always glad to be on his list of smart people. The year I worked for Russ was a rough year emotionally. I cried…A LOT! When I look back on it I’m usually embarrassed, except when I think of Russ. He was compassionate and patient with the crazy crying lady and when the time came he nudged me hard to go to Amazon and give it a try. It was life changing and opened so many doors…but I might have chickened out had it not been for him. These days he never ends an email to me without telling me he loves and misses me…and it never ceases to feel like a hug.

Damaged kids sometimes luck out and get the most beautiful people in their lives to model what love and living well look like. Because of these people (and so many more that aren’t mentioned), I am who I am and know what I know.

I love you!


  1. Chrissy

    I expand from every word you write or speak to me. You’ve been an important soul to me since we first became closer cousins. I love you and everything i know about you 💟

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