Let me introduce two of the most formative leaders in my career so far ‘Penny Webb‘ and ‘Kelley Chisholm‘. They have both been my boss, my critic, my friends and after yesterday’s leadership session my Aunties.
In my local church, the way I voluntarily serve is by coordinating a leadership project with Karina Chicote, where we create safe spaces for women under 30 in leadership to grow. We do this through peer mentoring, pastoral care, leadership Q + A’s, resource, books, opportunities, events and conversations, that all intentionally make room for them to lead.
One of the greatest gifts I had as a young leader was women ahead of me that made room. They saw my weakness, they heard my insecurities, they held me accountable to my commitments and they created space.
As a leader, are you creating space for next generation leaders to come and learn?
It is something I believe is greatly missing in the cultures of many organisations. Women lead so differently than men and the need for safe spaces without comparison and competition is imperative. To sit and listen to the hearts of two women who have been involved in leadership, mentoring, not for profits, leading change in huge organisations, bring wisdom and grace was so inspiring.
Kelley was speaking about the current trend of mentoring and she explained it this way. “As women in leadership, its like we all need an Aunty sitting in the background, available for tea, telling us where we could grow, encouraging us with little words filled with grace.” Every woman in leadership needs an Aunty; someone who has their back but will tell you when you have a rip in your pants or green spinach in your teeth.
The session yesterday talked about “Wisdom as a leader on all forms of social media” “Being physically and emotionally strong as a leader”, “Being strong but not bossy”, “Finding your list of leadership ethics that you will not waver on no matter the forum”, “leading in all arenas of life” and so much more.
Women in leadership so often face greater competition than men, so to have a space where no question is avoided and encouragement is deeply engrained in the soft words spoken is such a gift.
The leadership project is only a year and a half old. Karina and I hope that young women would find their place and lead with courage and strength. We don’t come thinking we have all the answers, but are so determined to keep putting ourselves in environments that challenge, stretch and grow us.
I feel so grateful for my leadership Aunties. They have helped me more than they will ever know.
Penny, Kelley and I started this not for profit Kinwomen which is all about encouraging women to start conversations that matter.
It’s actually not that hard to create space for young women to grow and learn, sometimes its as simple as opening your lounge room, turning on the kettle, inviting them in and sitting on the couch.
Speak again soon,