Joanna participated in Cultivating Women's Leadership and shares her experience.
I have been thinking on and off lately about how I could someday help to bring Cultivating Women’s Leadership to women community leaders I work with in Asia and Latin America. When I woke up today I was filled with a vision of women convening here; "This is the place," something seemed to whisper.
Who knows when, how, in what form, but Nina next time we cross paths or whenever it feels like the right moment, perhaps we can brainstorm around this vision. (Though I know your plate is more than full at the moment
So, here are some thoughts about the effects and impacts of Cultivating Women’s Leadership upon me and my work.
I carry my time at Cultivating Women’s Leadership (CWL) with me, and it continues to evolve in what it means to me and the ways in which it strengthens my trust in my own leadership. I am the Co-Director of a human rights organization called International Accountability Project–a position I came into unexpectedly at 25, and have now been in for almost 3 years. I sought out CWL to help me take seriously my own development as a leader, and in hopes of gaining new tools and confidence to lead with my own style and integrity. I also came because I am increasingly pulled to explore the connection between the work of protecting our earth, and the phenomenon of women 'taking up the drumbeat' as leaders in the time of global crisis.
What I found at CWL met and exceeded these expectations. As a direct result of the retreat, I now view following my intuition as not only a valid way to act and lead, but a vitally important one for the earth. The training affirmed and drew out ways of being and leading that I have had in me, but have not allowed to unabashedly come to the fore until now. It has helped me to both step into my power and share power more consciously and effectively. I gained concrete tools for difficult conversations, tools that I have already put into practice in my organization.
The training inspired me to initiate the practice of reaching out to women friends in very intentional ways to seek advice, practice hard conversations, and share and listen to each other's struggles and victories, small and large. I know with a renewed certainty that we cannot–and should not–try to go this alone.
I also have an amazing new network of friends and colleagues coming out of the retreat, which I have already been tapping into. I asked Bianca to send me the incredible diversity policy she had written for her organization, to adapt to IAP as we take our commitment to diversity to a new level. Last week I was in touch with Bineshi and Peggy about contacts for a native leader and colleague I work with in Mexico. Lyn sent me a link to an exciting grant opportunity I would not have otherwise known about, which we are now going to apply for.
Perhaps most significantly for me, I now view my life's work in the world as vaulting far beyond my current work as Co-Director of IAP. I left the training with a new knowing that my work in the world will take many different forms over my lifetime, evolving and flowing, and that knowing has allowed a new part of myself to open, feel freer and dream even bigger. The impacts of the training–on my own work, my sense of my place and way of leading in the world–continue to evolve and deepen.
Co-Director, International Accountability Project (IAP)