Shine One Shine All: Women lighting the way to leadership

| Sofia Pereira

When was the last time you celebrated an accomplishment—big or small? It’s a question I often struggle to answer because, I never do.

It’s rare that I take time to reflect on successes in my personal or professional life. Little did I know, all I had to do was focus on someone else to get there.

I learned to take the time to be proud of my accomplishments by lifting up other women, shining the light on them and celebrating their victories.

When you celebrate other women’s success, promote another’s achievements, or elevate someone else’s voice, it lifts you up as well. This is Shine Theory, when you invest in other women, you’re investing in yourself. From publicly praising a colleague for giving an excellent presentation to encouraging women to run for office, looking to other women opened my eyes to see myself as a capable, qualified leader.

When women support women, one voice turns into two, turns into ten, fifty, five-hundred—a roar that echoes across the country making it clear that, not only are we here to stay, we are here to lead.

Shine Theory is key to She Should Run’s mission to encourage more women to run for office and expand the talent pool of future women elected leaders.

Think of a woman in you life who would be great in elected leadership. Now, tell her! Through She Should Run’s Ask A Woman To Run form, you can nominate a woman in your life to run. A short, personal note telling a friend, colleague, or loved one that you think she’d be great in office could make all the difference in helping her realize that she is already a leader.

The She Should Run Incubatoris a community where women leaders come to share their journeys to elected office, their hesitations and motivations; their fears and their determination; their wins and their losses. The women in the Incubator come together to celebrate each others wins, and to build each other up on the other side of those victories.

Surround yourself with successful women, listen to the stories about their unique paths to leadership. The Incubator Spotlight elevates the voices of women in She Should Run’s programs who are preparing to run for office. Their stories could be in the inspiration you’ve been waiting for. Shining a light on them has inspired even more women in the She Should Run community realize their own leadership potential.

Women have been excluded from the table for too long, and we all know that space at the table isn’t limited. There is room for all of us, women from all backgrounds, all walks of life, and from across the political spectrum to shine. A record number of women are running for office this morning, and there are no signs of that momentum slowing down in the future, so grab your seat and join them.

LUSH cosmetics sat down with Jenn Addison, Digital and Creative Manager of She Should Run to discuss all things Shine Theory. Keep reading to find out more about the value in women lifting each other up. 

LUSH: When Women Support Women, Everyone Wins

You know the feeling: you’re scrolling through your social feed when you see a friend or colleague’s announcement. She landed a huge promotion, got accepted into your dream college or started her own business.

You’re thrilled for her, but you can’t shake something else—an ugly tinge of resentment or jealousy. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and you’re not a monster. This feeling is, in part, a result of the long-held belief that women are competing for limited space at the table. Whether that figurative table is a boardroom, a spot at a top college or a position in elected office, women often believe that there’s only space for some of us, and her success ultimately means your loss.

The reality is, success is not a limited resource. The more we uplift and celebrate other women, the more we’ll feel uplifted and celebrated in return.

Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, who are credited with developing Shine Theory, says it’s simple: “when you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.”

Boom: what might have been the vague idea of women helping women in the past now has a name. And it’s thriving, especially in U.S. politics. Jenn Addison of She Should Run, a non-partisan organization promoting equal representation of women in political office, says the group practices shine theory: “it’s more beneficial to support other women than to not.

She Should Run focuses on elevating and celebrating the stories of the women running for elected office across the country, at every level of government. Their Incubator Spotlight showcases the personal stories of the women currently participating in the organization’s Incubator Program, an online training tool that develops leadership skills. Learning how each woman describes her path to leadership is nothing short of inspiring.

Addison, who runs the organization’s social channels, says the stories that profile these women are the most popular. “Folks don’t only want to hear the stories, but they’re excited! They say ‘Wow, that’s amazing she’s running. Maybe I can do it too.’ So there’s a real trickle-down benefit to elevating women’s stories.”

Addison herself has experienced the benefits of Shine Theory. She was encouraged to apply for her current position, digital and creative manager at She Should Run, by a former colleague who praised her accomplishments and said she thought she’d be great for the role. Addison says, “sometimes you need a little push to make you realize you’re capable of going for something you thought was out of reach.”

Shine theory isn’t limited to the women of She Should Run. During President Obama’s time at the White House, female staffers discovered that teaming up with, rather than competing with, their female colleagues was beneficial for everyone. They adopted a strategy called Amplification: when a woman made a key point, her female colleagues would repeat it, giving credit to the woman who originally said it. This forced recognition for women’s ideas, which they found were often being claimed by men as their own.

As Addison says, this strategy of amplifying and supporting women’s voices ultimately benefits all women. “One voice turns into many, many louder, bigger voices. And it allows us to take up space, which is long overdue.”

So the next time you feel that pang of jealousy when a friend or colleague accomplishes something, know that it’s natural. But once you’ve taken a deep breath, try reframing her success as a win for all women, yourself included. Celebrate her, lift her up. And when it’s your turn to be celebrated, you’ll see the favor returned.

Read more about She Should Run’s goal of getting 250,000 women running for elected office by 2030. Know an inspiring woman? Ask her to run for office!


This article originally appeared on


Views reflected by those featured in our content do not necessarily reflect the views of She Should Run. As you know, She Should Run is a nonpartisan organization. However, some of our guest contributors (and readers) may not be. That is totally okay! It means we’re all human. She Should Run is committed to celebrating the diversity of backgrounds in our community and lifting up the voices of allwomen.

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