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Karen Edwards Blogger

The Company We Keep

Posted by Karen Edwards | October 24, 2016

Happy autumn, everyone, and welcome to the October 2016 edition of the ÖWLI blog! SO glad the cooler weather is arriving, aren't you? Thanks to all of you who joined us for our Personal Branding webinar last week. This was one of our best-attended web events to date, and we are in the process of planning more for 2017. Part of our planning for 2017 will be facilitated by a new Össur Women's Leadership Initiative Board of Directors. We appreciate everyone's interest in the Board and we are happy to announce the 2017 ÖWLI Board Members:  Nina Bondre and Julianne Gupta. These emerging leaders will work with our strong leadership team at Össur to help make ÖWLI even more relevant to the O&P profession.

And, speaking of leading, we welcome Julianne Gupta as our first ÖWLI member to contribute to our blog. Julianne Gupta is an ABC board certified Prosthetist Orthotist. She graduated from Northwestern University for prosthetics in 2009 and orthotics in 2011. She has been working at United Prosthetics in Boston, MA for the past seven years. She was interviewed and featured in the New York Times and seen on CNN Anderson Cooper helping fit Marathon Bombing amputees. She currently lives in Boston with her husband and one-year-old daughter. Today she offers us sage advice on the company we keep.

The Company You Keep

It took me some time to settle on a final topic for this blog. I wanted to choose a topic that related to everyone and, hopefully, impact the way you think. I think I found it. I'm sure most, if not all, of you have heard the saying, "You are the company you keep."  Do not underestimate the value of your company. We are all impressionable to some degree and why not surround ourselves with people who make a positive impression on our character? Aren't we the company that we keep? As Mudos Ponens wrote, "If you are a human, then the biggest influence on your personality is your peer group." How we feel, what we think, as well as our personalities are not constant, but malleable. Businessman and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, famously said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Ok, so how does this relate to business and leadership?

Can you think of the last time you met someone who challenged you and motivated you to become the person you want to be? Take a minute and really think about this. It may have been a new colleague you were paired with on a project at work or a new workout partner at the gym. Such people, especially the ones capable of giving constructive criticism, will support and help you reach your business and personal goals. It also stands to reason that those people who have achieved the successes you desire are the ones able to offer the best help and guidance. These are the relationships you should foster, while the people that have a negative influence should play a lesser role in your daily life.

Of course, it may seem heartless to view others as tools for your own fulfillment. After all, who you love is who you love, family is family, and old friends are old friends. But it is important to understand the environment we place ourselves in and the impact others have on us. There is no reason to ever tolerate relationships that make you feel inadequate, insecure, or unmotivated.

Try this exercise. Write down the names of the 5 people closest to you and ask yourself...

Who inspires me?

Who is a source of good advice?

Who do I have stimulating conversations with?

Who motivates me to be a better person?

And importantly, which ones bring me down?

Lastly, consider why you are active in ÖWLI, a social network for women's empowerment. I participate to help become the person I wish to be, a self-assured business professional, role model, and community member.

Thanks, Julianne, for your inspiring message! We would love to have more of you contribute and provide your unique insight into leadership, work/life balance, clinical topics, and anything else that helps make you more successful. To volunteer, please email us at We also are looking for nominations for female leaders in O&P to highlight quarterly in 2017. Please email us the name, clinic name, and email of the person(s) you would like to nominate!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Reserve a spot on your schedule for the following upcoming ÖWLI events...

Nov. 9, 2016: Local ÖWLI Roundtable Event, Durham, NC: Practitioners in the Raleigh/Durham, NC area are invited to join us for food, drinks, networking and lively discussion on Wednesday, November 9 from 6:00-9:00pm at Local 22 in Durham, NC. Register here: //​

Lastly, please join us on our Facebook page (search for "Össur Women's Leadership Initiative"). It's a great place to share articles, information and comments and network with other female professionals in O&P.

Wishing you all a safe and fun Halloween!
Until November,

Karen Edwards
Director, Össur Women's Leadership Initiative

ÖWLI Quote of the Month (Julianne's favorite quote): "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine..." -- Marianne Williamson, teacher, author, and lecturer.

Talk to us!! Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged! Please let us know what you think of our initiative, share your ideas, share your victories, or just say "hi" by emailing us at And follow us on Twitter @OWLIOssur​.