Gutsy Woman Profile: Karen Mangia

I want to share the story of Karen Mangina who I recently met and to me is the epitome of a GUTSY woman.

What would you do if you were in a situation you knew, yes knew, deep inside would be a vast mistake to follow through? Would you take a deep breath and say, “I’m outa here” or “I changed my mind” or “This doesn’t work for me?”

I’ve asked this question to tons of people, male and female and the answers sort into only two real options.

  1. Suck it up and remember that you made the bed, now you will have to sleep in it.
  2. Get out and don’t look back.

Can you guess which answer was voted on more by the men and which by the women. Or, in your mind, were the answers just about 50-50?

From my study the women were more prone to suck it up and the men were more willing to get the heck out and not look back.

Thus, the pleaser personality stood out for the gals and the avoider personality was more prevalent for the guys.

Obviously, neither way is the best. Best would be to buy some ‘wiggle room’ and find possibilities to either make the difficult situation more appealing or, at least, if you need to leave, to make sure you do so without leaving disaster behind.

Okay, so much for being philosophical.

I’d like to introduce you to Karen. She is the epitome of a GUTSY woman. And, in a minute I will tell you her YIKES story and what she is here to tell others who get stuck between that rock and a hard place where it seems there is no winning.

I was lucky enough to have Karen introduce me at The Indiana Women’s Conference.

She did her homework and rather than just talk about my credentials, she told a story about what I learned watching my mother navigate the months after my father’s untimely death in his early 50’s when I was only 14 years old. That introduction was so much more powerful than just listing degrees or awards. It made me real to everyone in the room.

I was intrigued with her insightfulness.

Yet, it wasn’t till we had coffee after the presentation that I realized I was with a real powerhouse, a woman who could stand tall and not be tossed to the side of a road when a situation becomes sticky or impossible.

Karen Mangia is VP of  Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce. She is a bright light, with a smile that says “Let’s connect. Let’s communicate. Let’s learn.” She is also an author, and I want to recommend her book to all of you, Success with Less: Releasing Obligations and Discovering Joy.

Here is where I put my latte down and just listened with my mouth half opened in awe. She was telling   me about the time that she had to use all the GUTSY chips she had gathered to get through the next few days of her life.

In her own words from her book,  “My mom parked the car and started to pop the trunk so we could carry the gifts inside. As we walked around to the back of the car, I started to cry. I couldn’t stop the sentence that was going to change my life. “Mom, I can’t go through with the wedding.” Followed by “Don’t unload the gifts.” (I was upset, but I was also practical.)”

It’s now many moons later and Karen talked about how she had been running on empty until that crisis rocked her world.

She talked about how she began a search for wholeness. The non-wedding was the starter, plus some very difficult health issues, led Karen to search for meaning in her life.

In her book she has tips and tools for understanding the deeper meaning of ‘less.’ It’s about overcoming obstacles and taking steps to evaluate what is true and right for you. Let me say it another way, choose what really matters and let the rest go. It’s an internal decision, and no one, let me say that another way, no relative, friend, or colleague can choose for you.

If you, like Karen, are ready to change from a pleaser to a truth teller take her advice and sit quietly till you become clear about what really matters. Then read her book to help you take the next steps. It made a difference for me.

Being GUTSY is a practice, not just a wish. And the more that GUTSY Women and BOLD Men stay the course and tell the truth the better our world will be.

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Sylvia Lafair

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