Water to a flame: Hurricane Harvey reminded us what we're made of

Water ignited the flame of raw leadership that burns within us.

Whether you lived it on the ground in Houston or saw it live in Technicolor in your living room, Hurricane Harvey took up residence everywhere and in everything.

I’ve lived in Houston since 1997.

We drove to Chicago and experienced Hurricane Ike with our small kids in 2008. Now with young teens and elderly parents, we decided to stay in Houston for Hurricane Harvey. We went to my parent’s third floor apartment during the storm. Although we lost power, by the grace of God, their building and our single story home nearby did not flood.

The kids and I ventured out into the neighborhood during one of the lulls in the storm. We saw flooded cars with their trunks up, feeder roads identifiable only by their ‘One way’ signs and highways blocked by fire trucks. To see water like that and know that there’s a street underneath the water flowing in front of you? Unbelievable.

The impact and devastation of Hurricane Harvey was enormous.

The outpouring of individual leadership in action was astronomical.

What moved me was how people took it upon themselves to make a difference. Some people did great things. Many people did small things in great ways. Hurricane Harvey took over and turned up the flame of individual leadership and accountability.

What was on full display was raw leadership, leadership that 'loved thy neighbor' with humanity and compassion:

  • Boats lined up to get in the water to rescue people from flooded homes

  • Guys in pick-up trucks with a boat in tow and a canoe on the roof

  • Two girls with a blow-up mattress hoisted between them, walking to a sick man who needed to get through waist high waters

  • Lines of cars snaking around a distribution center, each with garbage bags filled with blankets, toiletries, and supplies

  • Jim McIngvale (Mattress Mack) turning his Gallery Furniture stores into shelters during the storm

  • Volunteers lining up to help at mega shelters

  • Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops playing with kids in shelters and cleaning out flooded homes

  • The homeowner who remarked “I don’t even know these people”, about a friend who organized a small army of people to tear out drywall from her flooded home

It took Water to Light a way forward

We have it within us to lead, to see humanity and not the race, title, functional area, personal grudge-from-the- last-time-we-worked-together or political leanings that often get in the way of making a real difference.

Hurricane Harvey was a true testament to the best of who we are. 

This is my America. Our America. Leadership letting its light so shine.

Shine On!


About Waterlight Group

WaterLight Group was founded in 2011 based on the idea that individuals and organizations can reach higher levels of sustainable performance.

You've come a long way. Our goal is to take you higher.

We acknowledge the foundation of knowledge, experience, effort, and grit that exists in individuals and teams and our coaches and consultants work as catalysts to propel you to greater personal leadership and business results.


Laura Max Rose

Laura is a writer, blogger, marketing maven, TV personality, wife + mama. She lives in the Southhampton neighborhood of Houston in an old, beloved brick house with her husband Ben and their dog, Hampton. She is currently about 40 months pregnant. Sorry, weeks. 40 weeks pregnant. Click here to read more about Laura and Jewish Penicillin.