WholeHeart, Inc. convened a Leadership Exchange (a workshop model devised by Oakland, California based Berrett-Koehler Foundation) to bring together experienced and emerging leaders to explore a new paradigm of Intergenerational wisdom. The 26 participants were diverse in age and background--their ages spanned over 50 years, came from four countries, and five Vermont counties, and seven unique professional sectors. The exchange of perspectives, experience, and hopes for the world was rich.
Wisdom is more than experience was the theme that guided our exploration of intergenerational sharing and discovery. Emerging leaders and experienced leaders alike shared personal stories through a series of activities which were intentionally designed to create safe and trustworthy space for individuals to discuss issues of sustainable leadership. As a result, by the end of the day, the sense of community was palpable. In coming together in the morning, everyone in the group knew at least one other person and by the end of the day everyone had met someone new.
And while age certainly approximates some degree of experience, many older participants had the discovery of finding new means of emergence in their lives and leadership while many younger leaders found opportunities to voice for their wisdom and some discovered a wiser inner leader.
Through the use of reflective practices, small and large group conversations, and shared experiences, the leaders who attended were able to recognize the depth and capacity of their own leadership while practicing humility and listening to learn.
Some leaders shared gratitude for being able to slow down in a world that seems increasingly faster paced. Others named the capacity to re-define their leadership identity as a major takeaway. It was universally acknowledged that the natural world and the pastoral setting for the event played an essential role in helping people settle into the spaciousness and pacing of the day.
The connections that were formed are already rippling out and we are seeing some community leaders working together for the first time, just days after coming together at the Intergenerational Leadership Exchange.
What is most impressive is that in just five hours together, a group of incredible leaders was able to recognize that we all hold the capacity to be both emerging and experienced in any given moment.
From where you stand at this juncture in your own life, how do you perceive your leadership experience and emergence?