Jessie Smith recently took a look at her Rockwood Art of Leadership Workbook from two years ago, and was amazed by how her life has changed. At the time, she was teaching very part-time in the Latin American Studies Department at a community college, and was active at her daughter’s school as the parent committee chair. When she arrived at the Art of Leadership, Jessie was seeking something more: space to be creative, and the opportunity to take on more leadership in her life.
She heard about the Art of Leadership from her husband, Marc Lee, who participated in the training as part of his work on the Climate Justice Project, which was expanding at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He’d shared with Jessie how the tools of the program had helped him to be more effective in his leadership role at CCPA.
Two years later, Jessie is teaching more, and was invited to take on the role of shop steward in her union of 500 community college faculty. As the shop steward, Jessie is learning and practicing leadership every day. Her life is full, and many of the questions she had about her leadership have fallen away because she feels inspired by her work.
Learning about active listening at the Art of Leadership has enabled Jessie to mediate interpersonal struggles among faculty members, and her commitment to speak from possibility and the heart has helped many of her members move through otherwise entrenched conflicts.
Jessie was particularly inspired by her trainer, Robert Gass, when he spoke about how people change if they are moved and inspired, rather than judged or forced, and she works to incorporate this lesson into all of her work now.
Finally, Jessie has found the practice of relationship before task essential for building trust and community. She has found that investing time in relationships has allowed her to work more efficiently and effectively.
Rockwood alum: if it’s been a few years since you participated in the Art of Leadership, please share with us, how has your life has changed? What tools have you been able to use in your life from the Art of Leadership? We invite you to dust off that Art of Leadership Workbook, pull out some of the lessons, and take away new ones away! We also have two Advanced Art of Leadership trainings coming up in 2014.
If you’re new to Rockwood, and would like to join an Art of Leadership training, you can learn more and view upcoming sessions at www.rockwoodleadership.org/artofleadership.