burkhart_lorene027Author, public speaker, and philanthropist Lorene Burkhart is an exceptional Woman Like Us. Lorene attended Purdue University and later decided to pursue teaching, much like many women of her generation. But unlike most at the time, Lorene became a trailblazer, pushing the boundaries to start her own financial business for women. Soon, she decided to give back to the community, which is where our paths crossed. I’ve always admired Lorene’s work, and this is why she was chosen as one of the first for our WLU interview series. We sat down to discuss her passions, experiences, and advice for amazing Women Like Us.

What have you always been passionate about? 

Lorene Burkhart: My real passion and the one word that describes me is ‘teacher.' Everything in my life that I've done at some point has involved gathering information and giving it out. I have been and still am a mentor, been part of university boards of trustees and have had honorary doctorates and degrees. Basically, all revolving around teaching.

What would you say has been most rewarding throughout this process? 

LB: I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of mentoring young women and people who've worked with me at different times and influence their thinking to be more open in the way they approach things. And it's been very rewarding to have people tell me that they've followed me and watched the way I do things. It's exciting to know that you can have that kind of influence.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with women reading this?

LB: I am particularly concerned about how young women see themselves as becoming involved in government, running for office, realizing that they have the responsibility to step forward if they believe in something. I would like to see young women get involved in politics. Step forward if you believe in something. Know what kind of leader you are going to be and then communicate that effectively.

What’s your take away message for them?

LB: I think women are sometimes too hesitant to shine their own light, for some reason they think they are bragging on themselves. But if you don’t tell people what you do and what's important to you, how are they going to know it? Be true to yourself, if you have a particular skill, talent, or passion, be proud of it and find how to make it work for you and to have it be your signature of whatever it is that you do well. Let it shine who you are and what's important to you.

Lorene’s Bio: Author and speaker Lorene McCormick Burkhart is known for her leadership and philanthropy throughout Indiana and the Midwest. Burkhart has used her creative problem solving skills and talents throughout her career as a teacher, broadcaster, civic leader, and corporate executive and continues to inspire others to advocate causes for the betterment of humankind. She has served Girls Inc. at the national level and has served locally on more than 25 boards in the past 20 years, ranging from arts, girl and women’s support groups, education, health and elder services. Lorene's Twitter