This week’s #WomanCrushWednesday goes out to Lani Grass, a woman who has overcome unbelievable challenges and now spends her days helping women overcome their own.
Lani was born in Thailand. Both her parents came from wealthy, well-connected families. But life wasn’t easy for Lani or her mom. Her dad drank, gambled, and cheated. When Lani’s mom divorced him, it was considered a disgrace in Thailand and her family disowned her. She met and married another man who was also abusive. He moved them to Hawaii, where Lani was emotionally neglected and physically abused. She was well-mannered, but so painfully shy, she didn’t feel like she had a voice she could use to stand up for herself. Her mom married a third horrible man and Lani herself got married at 15, thinking it was a way out of her traumatic home life. Instead, she was inducted into an oppressive church organization, where she remained for more than two decades, until her mom died of cancer and she left her husband. The church did not approve of Lani leaving her crazy marriage; consequently, almost all her friends abandoned her. That was the catalyst for Lani to rebuild her life and her identity. She discovered a way to interact with people, in spite of her crippling shyness – by asking them questions about themselves, so she wouldn’t have to do the talking. So simple, right? But oh so effective. Lani not only became an impeccable listener, she discovered that she really loves people! So she became a career and life strategist and motivational speaker. She founded her own successful company, Wave of Women. Like so many of us, she’s had to pivot during the pandemic, with online trainings and virtual summits instead of in-person events.
Lani is a cougar. She’s married to a much younger man (go, Lani!). She helps him with marketing and financials for his dental practice. She has a 15-year old daughter who recently provided Lani with her proudest personal accomplishment: The teen wrote her mom a beautiful card that said she’d been watching and listening to her mom’s work, and as a result, she wanted to grow up to be just like Mom. In her free time, Lani enjoys gardening and landscaping – her backyard is a mix of Japanese garden and Pacific Northwest rain garden – pictures lots of stone, wood, pots, water and plants.
Lani is a STRONG believer in the leadership skills of women. Her philosophy is that where women lead, their communities become better places. When women combine their softness and nurturing qualities with their inner strength and resilience, it’s a powerful formula for the most effective leaders in the world – arguably, something the world needs now more than ever.