Posted by: apritch1221 | November 19, 2012

One of my favorite woman leaders: Ellen Degenerous


In 2009, Ellen spoke at Tulane University’s graduation.  (I know this because my brother went there).  Anyway, I heard her speech was incredible and I’ve always admired her so I finally decided to look it up on Youtube.  If you have 11 minutes (the rest is just dancing), go ahead and watch the whole thing, she’s HILARIOUS.  However, I think it picks up at about 6:30 when she gets into the meat of her leadership story.

My favorite quote of hers, when talking about being a woman leader in the comedy world and then losing everything because she came out as a lesbian was, “Looking back on it I wouldn’t change a thing, it was so important for me to lose everything, because I found out what the most important thing is to be true to yourself.”  I find her to be an extraordinary example of authentic leadership for this reason.

Second favorite quote would have to be “Life is like one big Mardi Gras, but instead of showing people your boobs, show people your brain” which is comedic, yet ties into our discussion on appearance and how it shouldn’t matter.


  1. I really enjoyed this video. I love how much she does for the world. I think she is a true inspiration and she makes things so much more interesting. The best thing about her is that she can truly get people to smile. I thought it was interesting to learn that she did not go to college. The students of the school were so inspired by her that they wanted her to come back to speak at the commencement ceremony. Ellen describes her life like everyone else. She didn’t know what she originally wanted to do until she had a very hard experience. She decided to raise her expectations for herself and she succeeded. With success she also ran into hardships along the way. Although she was pushed back so many times, she kept going forward. She is such a special person and so many people look up to her. She is definitely one of my greatest role models.

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