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The Courage to Roar: Leadership without Remorse

Women Courageous

ISBN: 978-1-83982-423-4, eISBN: 978-1-83982-422-7

Publication date: 25 November 2021


This chapter describes the experience of a tenured, senior professional leader (chief executive officer [CEO]) of a nonprofit human service organization. Although strongly supported by the board, she was harassed by a small group of board members and a couple of their friends (nonboard members), who insisted she take actions that would circumvent legitimate board process. Their actions would have resulted in “underground communications” and unilateral decisions. By speaking up and calling them out, the board became divided and conflicted, culminating in the resignation of the CEO. The scholarly commentary that follows the story adds a framework for explaining how important it is to maintain a moral compass, to hold fast to personal integrity, and to refuse to keep silent in the face of adversity. By sounding the alarm, the chaos and disruption exposed the plan to take power and control from the board. Being courageous may not be intentional or include actions of choice; it stems from the belief that it is the right thing to do… therefore, acting on moral courage can mitigate remorse. You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity (Epicurus).


Frumer, J. and Breen, J.M. (2021), "The Courage to Roar: Leadership without Remorse", Breen, J.M., van der Steege, M., Martin, S.S. and Glick-Smith, J.L. (Ed.) Women Courageous, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 215-232.



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