Today Jan Hicks is living her best life as a farmer, mother, and doting grandmother. When she retired as a two-star Major General in 2005, she was serving as the Commanding General of the United States Army Signal Corps. I had the tremendous good fortune of serving under Jan when she was the Battalion Commander of the 125th Signal Battalion in Helemano, Hawaii. Leokani Okauwila – a Hawaiian phrase that translates into Voice of Lightning – was the motto of our unit that provided tactical communications support to the 25th Infantry Division. 

If you’ve read the first chapter of my book, you’ll be familiar with the story about my boss poking me in the chest with some salty language. Jan Hicks was that boss. She was also one of the most inspiring, authentic, and deeply kind leaders I have ever had the privilege of serving under. By the way, if you haven’t read the first chapter of my book, what are you waiting for? I’m giving the first chapter away for free here, so please check it out! 

As a freshly minted Lieutenant, I was doubtful that I would ever be able to succeed in the army while at the same time being my authentic self. Though we never spoke about it directly, Jan embodied authenticity and kindness so thoroughly that I have known for the rest of my life that it is 100% possible to be myself and be effective as a leader. 

I have to confess, I got a little more emotional than usual recording this episode. I didn’t realize until we were speaking the full extent of Jan’s impact on me all these years later. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to serve with this incredible human being who knows in her bones who she is and what she stands for. I hope that listening to this episode strengthens your own conviction to be true to yourself and kind to others. 

Show Notes:

  • How to handle a man mansplaining to you that he can’t work for you because you’re a woman. 
  • The “rest of the story” behind Becky’s infamous “unfuck this, Lieutenant” moment.
  • What it was like being the first General Officer in the Army who was also a mom. 
  • The profound gift of life-long friendships. 
  • You can opt out of being miserable. 
  • How life’s pendulum will eventually swing back in your favor. 
  • The ripple effect of embodying goodness and kindness.
  • It’s okay to make mistakes, just make sure you’re making new ones. 

Pre-order Becky’s Book Impact With Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself