EMERGE Leadership Family Continues to Flourish and Nourish

This past weekend, 26 participants and faculty convened at the Islandwood Environmental Conference Center for the 7th EMERGE Leadership workshop. Once again, it was in the words of several attendees — magic!  From BC to Tucson, parts North, East, and Western Washington, we laughed, cried, and most definitely learned!  Designers, contractors, developers, analysts, technical consultants, entrepreneurs, planners, outreach and marketing specialists provided diverse DNA at the gathering and join over 100 others who have now gone through EMERGE Leadership Workshops at Islandwood, Naturebridge (Sausalito) and Earth Advantage (Portland).

Team - Cooperative Business2I was particularly impressed at how clearly many participants were able to articulate the leadership focus they were bringing to the workshop — while I always appreciate the humility of individuals who come bearing the simple (not so simple!) question of “what” IS my leadership focus…who am I to become?   Individuals and organizations that attend are usually undergoing a transition — either self-assigned or life-assigned.

Scenarios,  this time, included a business development ideas,  a cross-sector policy initiative, a succession plan, and development of a company’s sustainability program.  The teams outlined practical steps for advancing these ideas, while explicitly observing their process and absorbing emergent leadership concepts along the way. Although the lesson of EMERGE is that anyone who wants to lead can learn to lead and serve, I cannot deny that very special people seem to be drawn to our workshops.

Kelly-Dec13A huge component of the success of EMERGE Leadership workshops are the guest faculty that bring their experience and courageous examples to the table: In this case, Kelly Lerner and Alli Kingfisher shared their dedication to participatory leadership and were willing to practice it on us!  In a “Bill Moyers-like” format, I interviewed David Eisenberg for an hour. We all got to hear his incredible and humbling leadership story, which continues to reveal itself right before our/his eyes!  And John Cunningham, who comes from such a different world — electrical utility linework and the union hall — proved once again that you can be a big white-haired guy working in a very conservative environment and still practice servant leadership to advance restorative justice.

I, personally, am so grateful to have been offered this opportunity once again to serve with and for such wonderful people. How can work be so much fun!!!

If you are thinking about joining this “sangha” of smart, beautiful, talented, caring group focused on the work of creating a sustainable society through our built environment practices, please note that the Earlybird deadline for the next scheduled workshop in Portland is December 15th. For more information see  http://emergeleadershipproject.org/emerge/events/elw-portland-2/. Or email me at info@kathleenobrienleadership.com