ARE YOU READY TO LISTEN?

Genelle King Heim
3 min readNov 4, 2023

On a crisp September morning in 2018, I found myself climbing into a Land Rover at 6am.

We were off on our first game drive on the Sabi Sand game reserve in South Africa which was known for its wildlife, especially the Big Five of lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo.

We were lucky enough to see everything during our trip — all of the Big Five, a leopard Mom and her cubs, giraffe, wild dogs, hippos and more — and were so caught up in finding the big animals that we pretty much ignored the landscape.

To my mind it was just the background, like a stage where the animals would appear.

That was until our amazing tracker, Innocent, shared this insight with us.

He said that giraffes in South Africa love to eat leaves from the acacia tree.

To defend itself, the tree injects its leaves with a bitter-tasting tannin.

Then it goes a step further and warns nearby trees by releasing pheromones into the air.

Those trees then do the same.

Why does the 1st tree care about the other trees?

How does it know there are other trees at all?

The trees were having silent conversations all around us that most of us, including myself, were oblivious to.

How many signs do we miss in our daily lives?

How often do we go through life, plugged into our routines, completely ignoring the communication around us?

Suzanne Simard is a Canadian researcher who found that there are central, older trees, which she dubs “Mother Trees,” that act as communication hubs, nurturing the younger trees and facilitating the transfer of resources and information.

She discovered that trees are not solitary, but are deeply connected in complex communities, supporting and communicating with one another in all kinds of ways.

Much like Mother Trees nurturing the forest, those of us with some wisdom to share stand as guiding beacons to younger women who are still building their careers:

1. Share Roots, Not Just Branches: Dive deep and help younger professionals understand the essence of work, not just the superficial aspects. It’s not just about tasks; it’s about values and principles.

2. Provide Shelter and Support: Create spaces where younger colleagues can freely voice concerns, ask questions, and even falter, all the while knowing there’s someone to guide them back.

3. Foster Connections: Expand horizons. It’s not about hoarding contacts; it’s about sharing, introducing, and connecting.

It helps — for all of us — if we remember to stop, listen, and feel the world around us.

Embrace its lessons, its stories, and its beauty.

Your story, like those of the acacia trees, holds magic, and is worth sharing and celebrating.

I am reminded that many of life’s most profound lessons can often be whispered.

And whether it’s the wisdom of trees or the insights of a mentor

there is profound guidance to be had if we are receptive.

When you’re ready, there are two ways I can help:

1) I highly recommend the same 2-hour course ($150) I used to get started posting on LinkedIn (affiliate link): THE LINKEDIN OPERATING SYSTEM

2) I can manage your social presence for you, or we can work together to help you create a content system, tell your stories and amplify your brand: GHEIM@GRAYSONHAYDEN.COM

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Genelle King Heim

Strategy and Storytelling, Human Nature and Communications. Playing the long game. https://www.graysonhayden.com/newsletter