Game Changer: Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar

By Association Adviser staff • August 22, 2017

Mary Hegar Jennings
Mary Hegar Jennings

To overcome insurmountable odds, Major Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar said you just have to take things one step at a time.

The Purple Heart-decorated pilot and soldier who challenged a discriminatory military policy, winning women the right to serve on the front lines for the first time in history, spoke during the Game Changer session titled “Be the Change.”

Hegar, author of “Shoot Like a Girl,” told of one particularly harrowing story during her time served in Afghanistan and the lessons she learned about leadership and teamwork, and how those experiences are bringing about change in the world.

She said to bring about change, you have to first have credibility. It’s not enough just to be right, you have to be an example of who you’re advocating for, demonstrate you have the skills required and have experienced what you’re fighting for.

She said there are four key points that keep her focused and drive her success:
1. Be the change
2. Know your audience’s “What’s in it for me?”
3. Have empathy, not enemies
4. Hold on to your why

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 14 edition of Association Adviser.