Welcome to the Women's Leadership Intensive
In September of 2013, Michele Bertran, director of the Omega Women's Leadership Center, issued an enthusiastic and inspirational welcome to the inaugural class of the Women's Leadership Intensive workshop. Here is the full text.
We have been dreaming about you for some time now.
We are codreamers who have been wondering, "Who would accept our invitation to Become the Kind of Leaders the World Needs Now? Who would want to explore themselves along with us, and think together with us about how we might use our leadership for the collective good?"
You are the leaders we have been imagining.
Knowing that it is we, humans, who are the instruments of change—together in this Intensive we will work on the personhood of those instruments.
Take a moment now and think to yourself. "What do I intend?" We will return to this question throughout the course.
Over the next 5 days we will be in an Intensive, which means that 45 different people will join in an endeavor to learn and grow in a short period of time. And during that time, will engage our whole selves—mind, body, spirit—heart, and soul.
We know that each of you will have your own learning styles and preferences. Some of you will want to be very introspective and will most enjoy journaling. Others may like to listen and there will be lots to hear. Some may want to talk more and there will be time to do that in various configurations. Still others of you will want to move and do yoga and dance and enjoy nature. Others will crave the stillness of meditation. We will learn in different ways and when we're done, we will reflect on the parts of ourselves that stretched.
We know that each of you brings your own story about your life and work and your aspirations for what you will get out of this experience. In our correspondence with you, you shared that you hope to learn from other strong women, use your gifts, be part of a new feminine power, find out about the fears that keep you from doing what you are called to do, deal with a sense of “impostorhood” and stay true to your voice, connect with people on a deeper level, and become more adept at collaboration. You want to learn about global perspectives, gain renewal and engagement with other women, work authentically, and learn how to be firmer in your beliefs. You want to make a greater impact on women’s lives, and be participants in a community of women who are playing the role of leader in their own lives.
You want to examine the questions: How do we embody and exercise our power while building trust with others? How do we create a society in which people have the courage and decency to take responsibility for the society as a whole? How do we honor our values? How do we create a shared vision for communities and the world? And one person summed things up by noting: I am a very different leader than my father or my grandfather. Or in other words this ain’t your grandpa’s leadership style!
For us, the planners of this workshop, we hope to deeply pique curiosity, provoke thought, evoke emotion, generate creativity, and honor differences.
Throughout our time together, we will show the utmost respect to each other, to the place we are in, and to this moment in time—for it is the lack of respect for the dignity and worth of people and planet that ails us—and calls us to lead.
We can do a lot of good together. Let's begin.