Ever wonder what happens after the Inclusive Leadership Gatherings? Visiting facilitator, Christy Tweedy, travelled to Victoria BC to meet up with participant Lindsay Beal a few weeks after the June 2015 Annual Inclusive Leadership Gathering. Here is Christy’s post about that meeting:
Lindsay invited me to meet at a studio in Victoria to chat about how she integrates Inclusive Leadership into her daily life. She facilitates an open studio with an organization called Pandora Arts Collective Society that resides in the Fernwood neighborhood. She welcomed me into the community center with a warm smile and immediately introduced me to the artists in motion. Pandora Arts Collective Society is a creative outlet that was originated by people with mental health diagnoses, with the intention of making it accessible for everyone, with or without a diagnosis. The studio provides a positive, creative space for the community to express and heal themselves through art.
While immersed in the creative atmosphere, Lindsay and I spoke about her interest in Inclusive Leadership. She was first exposed to Inclusive Leadership 15 years ago when her daughter was taught how to build bridges through differences when she was still in school. Lindsay was inspired by the connecting models of community building and always kept “Inclusive Leadership” in the back of her mind.
In April, Lindsay and her grandson Jasper attended the Youth Convergence at OUR Eco Village. Lindsay stated, “When my grandson reached an age where he took notice of differences, I knew it would be beneficial for him to experience an Inclusive Leadership Adventure.” Lindsay shared that she has always embraced the idea of learning through different generations and cultures. Even sharing that she lives in a home with 4 generations ranging from age 9-80 years old! She and her family attended the Inclusive Leadership Gathering this past June. She said, “it was important to provide Jasper with the opportunity to expand his gifts and discover his and others abilities through new experiences.”
The Inclusive Leadership Gatherings offers each individual the opportunity to connect to themselves, to others, and to their environment in a personalized way that nurtures choice, safety, fun, and respect. When asked about her time at the gathering, Lindsay remarked, “I was so thankful for the safe environment to try new experiences and to ride through the learning. I didn’t know what skillsets people were at, but I remained open. Expectations should remain undeveloped.” In the gathering Lindsay facilitated a group art project that visually displayed sections of the Earth Charter. Through that task, Lindsay was able to express her leadership style and reflect through her own and other’s experiences. “It was wonderful to see so many people shine. To see them be encouraged to expand their abilities and try new things. I was able to become self-aware of my own learning and I enjoyed seeing Jasper grow,” remarked Lindsay.
When asked about her next steps with her Inclusive Leadership skills, she stated that she would like more individuals at Pandora Arts Collective Society to experience Inclusive Leadership learning opportunities. “Pandora Arts already has the inclusive values, yet the board members and participants could greatly benefit from growing and strengthening those skills.” Lindsay is a strong advocate for providing new opportunities for the participants to be included in the decision making processes. She is very involved in supporting the participants to become active board members. “I see the benefits of giving individuals the chance to grow into a leadership role, as well as showing others on the board that they do not have to be afraid of disability,” she said.
Lindsay was a prime example of inclusion, as our conversation in the studio consisted of Lindsay actively including the participants into our thoughtful discussion. Being an inclusive leader means being aware of the chances to include everyone. Being mindful of true collaboration and the abilities to participate in every level.
Lindsay stated that having a network of Inclusive Leaders helps her feel not so alone. As she is busy fueling her passions in Victoria, she knows that there is a connection to others out there who understand the shared values. Knowing that the awareness and skills are spreading out makes her know she isn’t on her own.
Thank you Lindsay Beal for your time and involvement with Inclusive Leadership! Here is further information to check out her involvement with the Pandora Arts Collective Society. For information about upcoming Inclusive Leadership learning opportunities click here.