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Leading with Heart

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This week’s Women’s History Month spotlight features Danielle Freeman, Director of Enterprise Services. As an 11-year veteran at Lincoln Learning, Danielle handles her leadership responsibilities with grace and heart.

Danielle_Freeman-profileWhen Danielle arrived at Lincoln Learning in 2008, she worked as one of three account managers. As her team expanded, so did Danielle’s role, as she was promoted to Director of Clients Services. She’s still working with clients in her current role, but on a more technical level. She’s serving as product owner for Lincoln Learning’s new student information system.

“This role was something completely different for me, as I'm typically the end user when it comes to these types of platforms, Danielle said. “I'm a work in progress, and I continue to grow and learn new things every day."

While she continues to evolve, Danielle also aims to inspire and motive others to do the same.

“It’s important to know you have the ability to do hard things,” Danielle said. “You have to accept that you’re going to mess up along the way. You have to get up and try again.”

Danielle said she draws inspiration from a few famous women, including Ruther Bader Ginsberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Ellen DeGeneres.

“These ladies, at one point or another, have all stood in the face of diversity, and they overcame great challenges to pave the way toward equality,” she said.

Danielle is also a big fan of Rachel Hollis, who is known for her work in the personal development space. Danielle describes Hollis as someone who “helps women chase their dreams without apology.” 

“Rachel Hollis is all about community and making people feel welcome,” Danielle said. “She helps women remember that it’s ok to not be perfect.” 

Danielle sees these “imperfections” as barriers that women tend to put on themselves, often creating their own challenges when it comes to leadership.

“I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone,” she said. “It’s being afraid to fail; however, mistakes help our growth.”

Throughout her career, Danielle said she’s learned several important lessons about leadership.

“It's important to listen and be empathetic. I love to help people, but it's important to listen and understand the challenges they face before we can work towards a resolution.”

“Working in technology and education, it’s important to be adaptable to changes,” she added. “In this industry, everything changes, so you need to be able to roll with the punches.”

Her advice to future female leaders is to make sure that they create a work-life balance for themselves and their families.

“We're fortunate to live in a time where women are applauded for having a career and being mothers,” Danielle said. “It's extremely important to find work-life balance. Be present where your feet are. Don't let the opinions of others get in your way. You do you!”