Leslie Knope: the most influential person I’ve never met

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Almost all the people in my life who have come along and inspired me are powerhouse women. Luckily, I’ve had many interactions with them, but one of these inspirational kickass women I have never met, and probably never will. That woman is Leslie Knope from NBC show Parks and Recreation.

Why Leslie Knope? Here are 7 reasons why she is the best.

1. Leslie Knope always has confidence and optimism that she will succeed, and she is prepared to make the best of every situation she encounters during her day. She is confident even when no one else is. In fact, she is confident even when people rudely oppose her.

2. As an overachieving workaholic, Leslie always gives everything 110%, going above and beyond every expectation. She has the utmost integrity, even in things people think are silly or insignificant. She also takes the high road in politics – take for example the time she declared war on her political opponents by baking them cookies.

3. Leslie doesn’t hold back about communicating how she feels. She also reminds others of their human potential and responsibilities, inviting them in to whatever crazy productive activity she is up to. I believe this is an important leadership quality – meeting people where they’re at, articulating what’s going on and bringing them along.

4. Leslie is a very loyal friend, and she is protective and intentional about her relationships. She always looks out for people in her life and tries to push them towards the best. Sometimes what she thinks is best is a bit off the mark, like the time she made Ann watch all eight Harry Potter movies because she thought it was important for Ann to like Harry Potter. But sometimes she hits it right on, like the time she gave Ron Swanson a scavenger hunt to a wonderful secluded craft brewery in Europe. At the end of the day, she is always an encouragement.

5. Leslie is ballsy and doesn’t shy away from taking risks. She is ambitious and always keeps moving forward, despite setbacks and unexpected events. Beginning in a small Parks and Recreation department in Indiana and working her way to the top, she defies social norms, gender stereotypes and all odds.

6. Leslie fights for equality in a government system that is, quite frankly, full of hypocrisy and apathy. She has her priorities straight, and she isn’t afraid to let everyone know what those should be:

7. Lastly, Leslie is awesome because she owns the things that make her unique. She’s blunt, nerdy and never afraid to share how really, really, really excited she is about the things she loves.

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