Visionary Leadership: A Conversation with Jill Iscol

When I was a young teenager, transplanted from the Middle East to the U.S., I was searching. While raising my kids, teaching at the university and going about my life, I was searching. Even before I knew what I was looking for, I was searching.

I sensed early on that I needed markers and role models in my life who could inspire and lead me to a life that I always wanted to lead for myself.

As I come to think of it, if there has been one common thread weaving itself throughout my life, it has been my search for connecting with people who embody a passion for life and a genuine yearning to live a life of meaning.

All of us need role models at every stage in our lives since we are constantly reevaluating our lives and redefining our roles. Sometimes we need to search outside of our immediate circles for that spark of inspiration.

This is why I embarked on writing a book on visionary women called Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World — to inspire us all to reach higher and dig deeper.

I recently read a book called Hearts on Fire which showcases the stories of 14 visionary young leaders around the world; and in true Angella form, I seized the opportunity to meet with the wonderful author, Jill Iscol.

I had the great privilege of interviewing her among other visionary women in the field of social impact at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference and felt her story was so compelling that I wanted to do a special interview for

This video highlights the key lessons learned from our discussion on “Visionary Leadership.” No matter where you are in your life — whether you are in the thick of your career, or someone who is contemplating the next step in your life — it is a good time to think about how you want to lead, mindfully and with heart.

Remember, all of us have that seed of greatness within us that we can cultivate for the greater good.

Key Lessons Learned:

  • Visionary leaders embrace the feminine qualities of leadership as well as the masculine. Demonstrating love, kindness, hope, and patience all have their place in a successful organization.
  • Visionary leaders demonstrate dignity and respect for all people, regardless of status. “Leveling the playing-field” is essential to connecting, and connecting with others is at the heart of leadership.
  • Visionary leaders are confident in the power of their vision.
  • Visionary leaders and not afraid to have confidence in themselves.
  • Visionary leaders are not afraid to ask for help, and practice this trait often. We as women do not have to feel that we must “go it alone” to get things done. We are not created to be a “one-man or one-woman show.” (We don’t get to where we are going on our own. We get there because of others. – Jill Iscol)
  • Visionary leaders are open to the idea of recreating themselves, and are not afraid of re-inventing themselves. (Being flexible and generous with the roles we give ourselves is essential in good leadership. – Angella Nazarian)

Click here to watch the entire interview with Jill Iscol. For more information on Visionary Leadership please visit: or

About the Author

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Angella Nazarian, president of Visionary Women, a nonprofit women’s leadership organization in Los Angeles, is a successful author and noted international speaker. She has led panels at the Milken Global Conference and served as a delegate to Women in the World. She is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and Cultured magazine, and her book Visionary Women will be published this fall.

Read more from Angella Nazarian

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