News and Events

Highlights from YDEKC’s “Thriving as a Leader in Changing Times”

POSTED ON May 3, 2021

Thriving as a Leader in Changing Times, the first quarterly event in our new Thriving Leaders series, drew leaders of youth-serving non-profit organizations to be in community for a day of reflection, connection, and learning on April 9, 2021. Thank you to our 82 attendees (and 110 total registrants, who received access to the session recordings) for joining us to focus on our personal leadership journeys! 

Today we are reflecting on the Thriving Leaders experience by sharing with you the words of our participants and presenters. 

First, from our participants: 

  • “It was a powerful and much needed event that allowed me to reflect on why I do what I do and to take time to acknowledge my emotions. I want to be more aware of how I bring myself in different spaces and the stories I tell about myself.” – Kimmy Nguyen, event attendee 
  • “I was extremely inspired by Fahren’s presentation! She shared meaningful resources and helped me think outside the box as a leader.” – Plenary attendee 
  • “Angela’s clarity of her leadership toolkit paired with her story of self was inspirational, and I look forward to re-watching it many times!” – Participant in Angela Griffin’s workshop 
  • “Learned how to tell one’s own story, define one’s identity/ies, with courage.” – Participant in Luis Ortega and Elizabeth Whitford’s workshop 

And next, some nuggets of wisdom and thought-provoking questions for you from our presenters. 

The Power of Proximity Leadership (slide)From Fahren Johnson, Director of Strategic Initiatives – Expanded Learning, Greentrike, on “The Power of Proximity Leadership”: 

  • “Never confuse position with power…. When we talk about proximity leadership it does not matter where you are in your position. You could be the president, you could be the CEO, you could be a director, a manager, a direct service provider, your power and your impact is rooted in where you hold relationships in your work. Who you are, your experiences, how you were raised, the type of privilege you had or didn’t have. 
  • “Your power is in your relationships and how you organize those relationships for change. 
  • “We all know as youth development professionals the importance of ground up building, not top-down building. If you keep your ear to the ground, responding to crisis will not delay.” 

Identity Development: Who Are You?From Angela Griffin, CEO of Launch, and her workshop “The Essence of Leadership through Adversity”:

  • “Identifying your personal mission, what is it you believe you are the best equipped and most determined to do in life?”
  • “As leaders through adversity and crisis right now, it’s very important that we are able to take into account our emotions.”
  • “Things are changing, things that used to work don’t work anymore, processes we used to use aren’t good processes anymore. So much is turned upside down and we actually have a great opportunity here, but leaders should not try to make decisions on how to make and implement change alone.”

Photo of Luis Ortega Photo of Elizabeth Whitford

From Luis Ortega, Director & Founder, Storytellers for Change, and Elizabeth Whitford, CEO, School’s Out Washington, in their session “The Stories We Tell: Asset-Based Storytelling and Racial Equity”:

  • “Healing my own story so that in my practice of sharing my stories, I’m bringing in more healing than harm.” -Luis
  • “My racial equity journey has been an ever-increasing journey of humility.” -Elizabeth
  • “We grow in the direction of what we ask questions about.” -Luis
  • “How do I reflect on my own story and what does that tell me about my racial equity journey and my leadership practice and how I’m doing in that process — where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m going.” – Luis

To close out the day, a group of us came together in the early afternoon with Stephen Carson, Mindfulness Instructor with Holistic Life Foundation, for breathing and movement exercises which attendees shared brought a sense of calm, release, and a much-needed moment for attention to body and self.

We encourage you to continue to carve out these spaces for connecting, reflecting, and learning. On that note, save the date of August 6, 2021 for the next event in our Thriving Leaders series!