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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reflections on Being an Emerging Leader

I have had the privilege of being able to witness some of the most interesting and inspiring speakers as part of the Emerging Leaders program. Della Britton Baeza’s journey was inspiring to me and made me excited to strive to become a leader in the nonprofit sector. Margaret Crotty showed us that it’s ok to fail, something which I’ve been deathly afraid of. To hear her say that one of the best decisions she’s ever made felt like a failure, was comforting and made me realize the value of stepping outside of my comfort zone. As someone who likes to have everything figured out and feel 100% prepared before taking any steps, she challenged the way I thought.

Coming into the program, I had heard about the great speakers and the growth that it enables, and that was true right from the start. Having professionally administered Myer’s-Briggs Type Indicator personality test allowed me to gain insight into how I processed information and understand how others do the same. For example, I better understood that i can be resistant to change. The 360 feedback report was another useful tool that allowed me to identify resistance to conflict as something I needed to improve. It also challenged the assumptions I had about the ways other perceived me. I learned that my colleagues felt heard and trusted me to make decisions. This was eye-opening for me because I realized that I had the freedom to make decisions without constantly seeking consensus.

The entire program is facilitated by an expert, Yael Sivi, who is very in touch with her feelings side, as she would say. She made sure we were actually absorbing the material and constantly checked in with us if anything felt off. She was very gracious in listening to all of our feedback whether it was information presented in the Powerpoint slides or the way she ran our sessions. Unlike many other workshops I’ve been to, Yael’s goal was to make sure we’re taking something away from the sessions rather than simply serving us information.

As I look back, I know I’ve grown a lot and will continue to grow as I digest and incorporate the many skills I’ve learned during the course of the program, skills that I have no doubt are what allowed me to get promoted to the manager level this past January.

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