”When I think of the moments this year that brought me calm, joy, and clarity, Rockwood was one of them. Rockwood teaches leaders practical skills, the most important of which is that when you lead balanced lives you can sustain the energy needed for this work over a lifetime. I am grateful to invest in an organization that is focused on cultivating resilient and effective leaders.Kristen MackRockwood Alum & Donor
As Rockwood’s Grants Manager and a resource mobilizer at heart, I’m always curious what inspires donors to align their wallets with their values. With the continued pandemic, I wondered how donors are choosing to step up and sustain organizations/causes that are closest to their hearts.
Driven by these curiosities, I connected with Rockwood alum Kristen Mack to learn why she chose to invest in transformational leadership through Rockwood’s Interdependence Campaign. Kristen attended the Art of Leadership for Philanthropic Leaders back in February and is the Managing Director of Communications at The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Her gift was matched 5:1 by the foundation.
Kristen also shared how her Rockwood training prepared for her this moment, and how her connections from the training continue to sustain her.
Lorraine: What brought you joy recently?
Kristen: One of the things that brought me joy this this year was our foundation-wide gathering to process the elections together. We started our gathering with a breathing exercise, to help ground us. This reminded me of one of the Rockwood lessons during our training: to be still, slow down, and release the false sense of urgency.
Lorraine: How has the Rockwood magic impacted your life?
Kristen: Rockwood introduced new concepts and ways of being into my life. I have a purpose statement that I live by and readily refer to in conversation. I made friends for life, who I have monthly check-ins with nearly a year later; they sustain me and give me life. Rockwood demonstrated what it means to show up as your whole self, your true authentic self.
Lorraine: That’s so wonderful! Will you please share how these connections continue to nourish you during this time?
Kristen: There was a group of people with whom I connected so deeply; we connected on what it means to be Black women and women of color in leadership roles at this moment in time. Our personal bonds are so much richer and we have been intentional about creating space right now and affirming one another. Rockwood has this magic of bringing people together and creating the space for them to build with one another.
”During a recent meeting with external advisors someone wisely shared that we need to plant acorn seeds today so the next generation can sit under and enjoy the shade of oak trees in the future. Investing in Rockwood, to give other leaders the space to reflect and discover their purpose, allows me to live out that practice.Kristen MackRockwood Alum & Donor
Lorraine: I’m also moved by how you’re able to clarify your purpose and vision during your Rockwood training. How has your purpose statement manifested in your life?
Kristen: I already had elements and pieces of my purpose statement but it all came together during my Rockwood training. With clarity and confidence, I know that my purpose is to connect ideas and people so they can tell their truth and recognize their collective power.
I truly see interdependence coming into play and manifesting itself as I live out my purpose.
Lorraine: Speaking of interdependence, what does cultivating interdependence mean to you?
Kristen: To me, interdependence means interconnectedness. None of us can thrive on our own. We exist and do our best when we collaborate with one another.
Lorraine: Why do you think the world needs Rockwood especially right now? And what inspired you to invest in transformational leadership right now?
Kristen: During a recent meeting with external advisors someone wisely shared that we need to plant acorn seeds today so the next generation can sit under and enjoy the shade of oak trees in the future. Investing in Rockwood, to give other leaders the space to reflect and discover their purpose, allows me to live out that practice.