I believe you can learn something from every person you meet, whether they are a CEO of an international corporation or a college freshman trying to find their way. There are many fascinating people on the Thought of the Day distribution list, and Liz’s THD Reader Feature is a way to share that wisdom.
Allison Kropp is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, Cincinnatian, Hoya, lawyer and volunteer.
1. How did you get on the Thought of the Day distribution list?
My friend, Kristie Sheanshang, forwarded me the emails and then I asked Bill Keating, Jr. to join his list!
2. What is your favorite Thought of the Day and why?
Are You a Leader?
- Leaders are confident and modest.
- Leaders are authentic. Know who you are. Walk your talk.
- Leaders are listeners.
- Leaders are good at giving encouragement, and they are never satisfied.
- Leaders make unexpected connections.
- Leaders provide direction.
- Leaders protect their people from danger and expose them to reality.
- Leaders make change – and stand for values that don’t change.
- Leaders lead by example.
- Leaders don’t blame – they learn.
- Leaders look for and network with other leaders.
- The job of the leader: To make more leaders.
I have this on top of my coffee maker and read it every morning. It’s my favorite because it reminds me how to lead by example. We are all leaders of something. And, it is how we lead, not what we lead, that defines us and makes the difference. I try to be thoughtful and intentional about what I do and how I do it, and I appreciate the Thoughts of the Day as nice reminders and good motivation on how to achieve that goal.
3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
My favorite ice cream is when it’s on the side of the plate next to a big piece of cake with lots of icing! I have a huge sweet tooth!
4. What is your life’s purpose?
My dad had an aunt, who was an amazing woman, Sister Grace Marie Hiltz. She was a Sister of Charity, and at one point in her life, she was the President of Good Samaritan Hospital. I knew her when I was young, but did not get to know her as well as I wish I could have. When she died, Good Samaritan Hospital had a publication that included a story about her. The caption under her photo said, “Sister Grace Marie gave joy to those around her with a power that was contagious.” THAT is what I aspire to do – be like Sister Grace Marie and give joy to those around me with a power that is contagious. Honestly, it’s a work in progress! I also strive to understand. There is so much that I do not know and understand. And, I strongly believe that peace begins with understanding. I’m inspired by the prayer of St. Francis and pray more to understand than to be understood.
5. (Besides marriage/having kids/etc.) What are you most proud of in your life?I honestly am most proud of my husband and children! They give me joy and give my life purpose. I love them for that and so much more! But, honestly, I’m more grateful than proud. I have to admit that I’m overwhelmed by gratitude – for my family, for my friends, for the many blessings and opportunities I’ve had and continue to have as a result of the kindness and generosity of others, most notably, my parents. And, it is that gratitude that inspires and motivates me every day.
6. From your experience, what is most important in life?
Wow, there are so many things that are important in life! For me, integrity is most important. Success for me is not necessarily about winning, but it is doing the right thing, for the right reason, in the right way.
7. What do you believe in?
I believe strongly that God is good! I am fortunate to have gone to the Summit Country Day School, which was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Saint Julie Billiart, was known to have always said, “Ah, how good is the good God!” Saint Julie’s spirit and legacy are infused within the education and mission of the Summit, and her belief in the goodness of God is something that I share. And, I believe there is goodness in every person. I try to reflect that goodness and hope that people see and appreciate it in themselves and each other.
8. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a lawyer, like my dad. Lucky me, I got to do it! And, even though, I’m not actively practicing law, I absolutely love being a lawyer because it gives me the opportunity to be an advocate and a counselor. When I was little, I also wanted to be a great mom, like my mother. Again, lucky me, I get to be a mom to three great children, but, I’m still trying to be a great mom like her! All kidding aside, I still ask myself what I want to be as I continue to grow up. And, my answer is that I want to be an example to my children and my community. I want to be a problem solver, someone who seeks to understand and find solutions, and bring people together to work toward a common goal.
9. What is the one thing you need to do every day to get ready to take on the day?
Coffee! I am an early riser, and love the peace and quiet of the early morning. I really look forward to my first cup of coffee in the morning.
10. What are you currently doing to positively impact your community and why?
I have the privilege of getting to serve on a few local nonprofit boards. I find that to be very rewarding and have learned so much about the needs of our community, and have learned so much from my board colleagues. All of the organizations are making a positive impact on our community, and I believe strongly in their missions. There is one, though, that I want to highlight because it provides support for other nonprofits throughout our community, and that is the Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio (“PBPO”). The mission of PBPO is to provide free legal services to nonprofits that do not have the resources to pay for legal services. It works by pairing volunteer attorneys with nonprofit clients by matching the client’s specific need with the attorney’s specific area of practice. So, for instance, if an organization needs to have its bylaws reviewed or revised, an attorney like me who has experience in tax-exempt organization law, can volunteer to review the nonprofit’s bylaws and advise them. And, if a nonprofit client has a real estate or employment law matter, then they can have an attorney with real estate or employment law experience volunteer to help them. PBPO is making a positive impact on charities in our community, which are themselves making a positive impact on individuals in our community. So, the positive impact is even greater. And, for me, as both a volunteer attorney and a board member, it’s a rewarding way to make a small positive impact that has a broader positive ripple effect.
11. What difficult situation happened to you that, in hindsight, turned out to be a blessing in disguise?
As a teenager, I struggled with depression. It was hard, and I often felt trapped in a vicious circle of feeling unworthy, then feeling sorry for myself, then feeling angry at myself for feeling sorry for myself, then feeling unworthy again. Ugh! It was bad. But, I was able to get through it with the love and support of my family and friends. I consider that challenge to be a blessing in disguise for many reasons. First, I learned resilience. I became more self-aware and learned to understand and appreciate my own strengths and weaknesses. I also learned acceptance and humility, and most of all, I learned empathy. As I look back, I can see that challenge as a gift. And, that has helped me to approach all challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.
12. How do you find balance and fulfillment in your life?
I enjoy spending time working and volunteering, and I cherish the time I have with my family. I find fulfillment in being able to pursue my goals, while guiding and supporting my children as they pursue their own. Balancing marriage, children, work and personal interests is challenging, but nothing worth doing is without a challenge and I love it! I have to say that I always thought balance was a sort of state of being, and I’ve learned that it is more of a constant state of activity, which has helped me embrace the fantastic chaos of our life. I really prefer to be dynamic rather than static.
13. When was the last time you took a leap of faith?
You asked me about the decision I made to leave my active law practice and become a stay-at-home mom and whether that was a leap of faith. I had not ever considered that decision to be a leap of faith, but as I think about it, that’s exactly what it was. As I said earlier, I absolutely love being a lawyer. I enjoy being an advocate and a counselor and I like to help people solve problems. And, I was very fortunate to get to practice law at a wonderful firm – Dinsmore – with wonderful colleagues and mentors – and to practice an area of law that I find deeply rewarding – non-profit and tax-exempt organization law. When my oldest child got to middle school, I made the decision to step away from my career because I realized that I could probably have a second chance at a career and could use my skills in other ways, but I would not get a second chance at raising my children. Both my husband and I worked and enjoyed our jobs, and I had always taken the position of primary caregiver. But, as I got more involved with my career, I found myself wanting to do more and more for my career and thought that I was “leaning in,” when in fact, I was leaning away from the struggles and challenges of raising my family. I found it a lot easier to spend my time giving advice and solutions to clients who sought it, than I did giving direction and discipline to my children, who often did not want to hear it. I realized that, for me, working and delegating responsibility for caring for my children was the path of least resistance. Ultimately, I had to remind myself to refocus my priorities and lean in to the my family in ways that I wasn’t doing. And, I do not regret that decision at all. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to be home with my children, and experience their joys and sorrows, as I aspire to give them both roots and wings. It’s an amazing journey and I’m so glad that I took the leap of faith to do it! I do sometimes feel like I’m not as relevant as an attorney, but I try to stay involved as a volunteer, and that really helps me find balance. And, I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a “stay-at-home mom” – except during quarantine!
14. What do you want your legacy to be?
This is the hardest question to answer, and at first, I wasn’t going to answer it. But, I’m glad you asked it because it challenged me to really think about how all of these questions about my life, my purpose, my beliefs and motivations are connected and whether they actually are leading me on the right path. I’d like my legacy to be one of kindness and respect. I hope I can lead by example in showing people how to look for and honor the goodness in each person. I hope that I can help people see and understand their own strengths and use their own talents to individually and collectively work together.
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