Kristen Cox kicks off Women’s Services and Resources lecture series

Kristen Cox walked about with her cane as if it was another appendage at her lecture.
Kristen Cox kicked off this year’s BYU Women’s Services and Resources lecture series with a speech encouraging women to be leaders. (Gianluca Cuestas)

Kristen Cox, who began losing her vision at age 11, hasn’t let blindness keep her from building a successful career and family.

The executive director of the Utah governor’s office of management and resources kicked off this year’s BYU Women’s Services and Resources lecture series on Thursday, Sept. 22. Using her disability as a platform, Cox had a message specifically for women — that they can and should be leaders.

Cox spoke about eight main guidelines to becoming a leader and reaching potential. One of Cox’s main points in fulfilling one’s potential was that women can have anything they want in the world, but not everything.

“I’d rather in my life do a few things really, really well, as opposed to doing many things poorly,” Cox said.

Women should use logic when choosing just a few things to focus on, according to Cox.

“I think logic is great,” Cox said. “Sometimes we try to think our way through problems, but sometimes it’s really important just to trust your gut.”

Cox said that intuition plays an important role in making decisions. She said that instead of always focusing on the long term, sometimes it’s best to simply focus on what to do next and trust that “the next phase will unfold.”

Tiffany Turley, director of the BYU Women’s Services and Resources office, agreed that everyone has the capacity to be a leader. Whether it’s in the public sphere or simply within the home, Turley believes that all women need to be leaders.

That belief is part of what started the Women’s Services and Resources lecture series at BYU last year. Kristen Cox spoke during the series last year. She was asked to come back to speak again this year, after many who enjoyed her speech last year requested her return.

Women’s Services and Resources employee Madison Fullmer attended Cox’s first lecture. She said that Cox’s lecture helped her to see “you don’t have to just sort of sit by and watch things happen; you can make things happen yourself.” Fullmer said that Cox inspired her with all that she had accomplished despite the trials in her life.

BYU Student Body Vice President Addie Hulme said, “I think Kristen Cox is a really powerful speaker because she’s not your typical leader.”

Hulme echoed Fullmer’s words and said that part of what makes Cox so inspirational is how she has chosen to label and deal with the trials in her life.

To find out when the next lecture is during the semester, check out the Women’s Services and Resources Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

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