Ideally, Marianist leaders, deeply rooted in prayer, encourage the gifts of the people with whom they work in order to work towards a common vision in a way that is essentially collaborative and consensus building and strongly dependent on the action of the Spirit.
~ Me :)
It's only been a week since the last time I posted and yet I feel like there's so much to say! The day after my "trifecta celebration" (vow renewal, birthday, graduation party) I left for a workshop on Leadership in the Marianist Tradition. The picture at the top of this post is our group on the last day of the workshop.
Three years ago the Marianist brothers of the United States began a process of training the "next generation" of Marianist leaders. It is a two year training process that includes 2 summer workshops, an assessment of individual strengths and areas for growth, readings on leadership, sharing "best practices" and designing/implementing a "change project."
The first cohort finished their two years last summer. The second cohort, my cohort, began the process in September 2010 with readings, conference calls, and the individual assessment. Over the next academic year we will each be working towards the implementation of a change project with a mentor. My mentor is the brother on the back row in the yellow shirt... and I am blessed to work with such a brother!
I entered our time together in Fremont, Ohio a little intimidated. Not because I was the only Sister... I'm pretty used to that and don't mind. But because I was the only one there who is still in formation and is not and has not been in a position of leadership in the "Marianist world." The brothers in the above pic are community directors, former novice directors, former provincials, area coordinators for a region of Marianists, and a vocations coordinator. Our facilitators for the program are the former president of the Univ of Dayton and a former member of the Gen. Admin and current director of an international center for Marianist formation for the brothers. And here I was... just plain old Nicole.
If you know the Marianists at all you know that they (and I guess we) are a humble bunch of folks. I felt at ease within a day or so because there was no sense of separation among us. My voice and opinion was just as valuable as everyone else's. And... I learned A LOT. We all did, I think.
I do not want to bore you with the details of what I learned, but I would like to share with you our communal list of attributes of a Marianist leader. The definition above is one that I wrote on our first day together. On our last day, we all contributed to a list of what characterizes a Marianist leader.
This is what we discerned:
Marianist Leaders are... consultative, communal and personal, reflective listeners, anchored in goodness (preserving the core), faithful to the charism of our founders, modeled on Mary, collaborative - valuing all voices at the table, passionate for the mission, able to maintain a healthy balance, providers of options and alternatives, looking to meet the needs of the Church, making contributions to something larger than the "Marianist world," consensus building, Magnificat people ("My soul proclaims the greatness of my God!"), quintessentially feminine, modeled on Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, empowering the giftedness of others, deeply rooted in prayer - people of God, discerning risk-takers, persevering, compassionate, transparent, and people who embody an incarnational spirituality.
May each of us, and all leaders in the Marianist family, seek the Spirit's guidance to grow in these ways.
Many blessings to all who read this!