Posted by: ryanpatecell | November 28, 2012

TIME’s Person of the Year

E.L. James: As the author of the 50 Shades of Gray trilogy, E.L. (her friends call her Erika Leonard) Jamesrefused to give up on her idea of a fiction novel. While her work did not have a major publishing house supporting her and spreading the publicity, she believed in herself and was determined to be successful. Her work likely isn’t enough to grasp the title of “Person of the Year,” but it comes with a great leadership lesson. To be a leader, you don’t have to lead hundred or thousands of people. It takes a strong self-concept and tons of strength to write a novel. With constant rejection letters, E.L. James persisted and has uprooted the publishing world, become the talk of its mostly female readers, spawned dozens of copycats, brought S&M sexual practices into the mainstream and got her a movie deal. Leadership doesn’t always stare us straight in the face, but instead can be found in everyday life. Regardless of how many people you ‘save’ or ‘how much money you donate,’ there is leadership on all levels. E.L. James pushed the boundaries and was extremely successful by selling 31 million copies. It’s such an inspiration to see how a love for writing- even in a hard economy- can be so profitable if there is persistence.


  1. Ryan, I think your insight into leadership is totally right. I think it goes back to the different levels of authority we learned in 310. (referent, position, etc.) I think if you have a vision and will do what it takes to make it happen, you are a leader. I think (even though I’m not the biggest fan of 50 Shades) E.L did an amazing job achieving her goal. Now that she is in the media, she is a leader and has her gained position and now can do how she chooses with that power. This is awesome!

  2. I totally agree. It is easy for me to develop a narrow view of what success and advances for women look like and totally discount the strides that don’t fall into that category. Earlier in the semester we talked about success being defined by the things that fulfill us, and that’s different for everyone. Thanks for highlighting this awesome achievement.

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