To fully understand what Inclusive Leadership has to offer, it must be experienced.

Have you ever had the feeling that you are exactly where you’re meant to be? Or what about that awkward feeling when you’re not at all sure what you’ve gotten yourself into? And if you’re lucky enough, an Elder stands up and speaks and all of a sudden you remember where you come from and that your physical presence and time are precious gifts.

Standing in a circle, you can see everyone’s faces and they can all see yours. It’s a more vulnerable space with much more opportunity to connect with each human being that has chosen to be there. When it’s your turn to speak, you notice it’s easier than usual. Why, because people have been encouraging and accepting. No matter what you say, it’s okay. You introduce yourself.

Looking around at all the faces, you notice the differences. Some people are older, some younger, some you’re not sure about. There are people with various ethnic backgrounds and those with differing levels of abilities. Many people are smiling and seem comfortable to be there. Some seem shy and perhaps less comfortable. All are willing to participate.

It is an awe inspiring and amazing team of people that come together when called by the Inclusive Leadership Cooperative. Young and old, a diverse group of individuals show up and participants happily jump into leadership roles the moment they arrive.

One of the first two workshops offered was to create and facilitate a welcoming workshop for the late arrivals. It is an incredibly empowering experience to be handed leadership and considered equal simply by being there. An eight year old is just as likely to lead the group as the 36 year old. And it works. When you give people the opportunity and have confidence in them, they naturally step up.

At our 2016 Annual Inclusive Leadership Gathering, we had more people step up than usual. And we have a lot of people to thank. Over the next few weeks, we will be honouring those who contributed to this years Gathering, to the Fundraiser and to the “What Do You Do?” anti-racism video created by many of the inclusive leaders in our community.

To fully understand what Inclusive Leadership has to offer, it must be experienced. And to fully understand leadership and contribution, it must be acknowledged. Please join us this month in sharing our stories, our pictures and our appreciation for everyone who makes these experiences possible.