Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Redefining Leadership - A Woman's Expression and Contribution

Heya All,

Two weeks ago I enrolled in a course called “Creativity, Innovation and Change” on coursera, a class taught by PennState University. In that class I launched a project called “Redefining Leadership: A Woman’s Expression and Contribution”. The project got featured by PennState University, and created resonance and interest amongst women from across the world.

For now, we women are corresponding and engaging with each other through deep conversations on my project thread on the coursera platform.

Secondly, I'm conducting weekly virtual calls with some of the women, which includes a wide range of women, such as clinical psychologist, civil engineer, management leader, eye doctor, an author and artist from countries such as Africa, India, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Philippines and the United States who all have a drive and interest in making a difference in their environment.

In addition, I'm engaging into inspiring conversations with powerful women outside of the coursera platform yet resonate with the inquiry I launched, sharing their journey and thoughts with me as female entrepreneurs and leaders - "the woman's way".

So, what is the project and inquiry I posed? Well, it's a continuation of the experimentations I've launched in 2013 and states as follows:

I'm exploring an online & offline community project with women who are passionate about merging their personal and professional background & experience into a meaningful, purpose-driven and financially prosperous career / livelihood for personal fulfillment AND as a vehicle to make a difference and contribution to our society and culture.

The Challenge:
The way we know work is changing. Many of us are faced with constantly needing to re-invent ourselves. As a result more women are exploring entrepreneurism out of necessity. However, the conflict arises for us women in that:

  • We have not been trained in entrepreneurism
  • We do not feel aligned with the traditional training style, definition, POV and approach that is currently applied and executed by our male counterparts
  • Needing to generate income (do you go for passion, or financial stability? Can you do both?)
  • Balancing work and family
  • Getting paid little or none for our work and contribution to our community and society (volunteerism)

My approach is based on:

1) Being creative and generative:

  • Personal expression as a sense for fulfillment, meaning and purpose.
  • Focusing that creative expression and energy into a structure (career, project, business, movement) as a means to make a difference.
  • Getting paid for it - monetization.

2) Ownership versus victimization:

  • Pioneering new healthy and sustainable structures, rather than molding into the current systems and traditional thinking by... 

3) ...Exploring a 21st Century structure / approach that:

  • Enables authentic and wholesome self-express and leadership
  • Generates new structures of leadership (that includes feminine POV, approaches and values)
  • Forming a new context for collaboration / culture / relatedness amongst women, as well as between women and men.

Collaborative inquiry:

  1. So, how do we (how do men) engage women to participate as leaders? (Not confined to corporate leadership only)
  2. In what style do we need to foster and train women to authentically embrace self-expression and leadership without fear and feelings of inadequacy?
  3. What shift in context and relatedness to men and the current system needs to occur for women to make their greatest contribution?
So, that's what I've been up to, in addition to getting ready for the FORGE! women's conference that I'm co-producing with Jose Caballer on October 19th and 20th in Los Angeles. BTW, Early Bird tickets expire next week, so you better get your tickets now here.

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Check out the interview by PennState University featuring my "Redefining Leadership" project, as well as another inspiring coursera student named Andreea Pavel, a young entrepreneur from Romania, Founder of Successify:

So long,

- Tatjana