I worked for Stacey Abrams and her superpower is in pushing her team to make bold moves, have big ideas, and risk failure


Stacey Abrams has made headlines recently for her objections to Georgia’s new restrictive voting laws.

Stacey Abrams has been an outspoken advocate against Georgia’s recent restrictive voting laws. Abrams has helped register thousands of voters in the state over the past decade. A leadership consultant who’s worked with Abrams spoke about what makes her leadership style unique. See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Aiko Betha has had many bosses.

After earning her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002, the executive coach and consultant worked as an internal auditor at Bank of America and then as a lawyer at the prestigious international law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. She’s been the head of diversity and inclusion at the Fred Hutch Research Center and deputy director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

But of all the jobs she worked, she said the three years she reported to the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated politician and activist, Stacey Abrams, were some of the most profound of her career.

Bethea worked under Abrams from 2005 to 2008. During that time, Abrams headed the city of Atlanta’s counsel team, and Bethea ran the legislative counsel.

“She created spaces for you to be able to learn, which necessarily means that there’s always a risk that you might fail, too,” Bethea told Insider. “I felt like she saw more of my abilities than I did, and if I didn’t get it at a hundred, it was OK.”

Even before stepping onto the national stage, Abrams has always been an effective leader because she creates psychological safety for her teams, according to Bethea. Psychological safety is a term used by mental-health experts to describe a space where people feel they can be authentic, supported, and validated.

“Stacey never hid the ball,” Bethea said. “I felt she was always incredibly transparent.”

That’s a quality that still tracks years later. On Tuesday, Abrams tweeted a video where she candidly