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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Looking back and ahead

Tomorrow is our last session of the 8-month Emerging Leaders program, and it has really flown by. When I first heard about Emerging Leaders, I was excited for the opportunity -- which I really hadn't had since college -- to reflect on the individual and group dynamics I'm immersed in every day at work. And the program has provided space for that, as well as a lot more.

I work for a technically-focused non-profit, and on a day-to-day basis am often shoulder-deep in the engineering-heavy world of energy efficiency. Early on, when co-workers asked what I did at training that one day a month, I would sometimes struggle to pull myself out of the technical world to explain how important and useful I found these monthly discussions diving into leadership styles, or examining what factors might trigger various responses from myself or a colleague. But over these 8 months that has become easier and easier to do, as every month I've found instant real-world applications of the theories and scenarios we'd been discussing.

Thinking back now on these sessions, which have given me the space to reflect on work at my non-profit organization and the unique challenges and opportunities that provides, brings to mind the conclusion of a 1-month backpacking course I undertook in college. On the last night, we read an essay titled "Briefing for Entry Into a More Harsh Environment" by Morgan Hite -- and though the wilderness aspects do not translate, the overall lessons certainly do. The tools, skills, and insights I'm taking with me from my time with this Emerging Leaders cohort over the last few months make me better prepared for my career in the non-profit sector -- and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity.

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