LeaderShape in Love: Part 4

LeaderShapeInLoveFebruary always brings about thoughts of love and at LeaderShape, we’re turning to mush over some sweet love stories from folks in our community! Over the course of this month, we want to tell you about some couples who met through LeaderShape, tell you how they fell in love, and take a peek at what’s next for them. We hope you enjoy these stories and perhaps are inspired to reconnect with your own loves!

This is the last part of our LeaderShape in Love series and this week we’re telling you about Matthew Bronoske and Natalie Springer. Natalie and Matthew attended the Institute as undergrads at Miami University. While they had met before the session, they were in a family cluster together during the session and got to know each other better. They began a strong, close friendship that week and started dating a few years later. In fact, their romantic relationship was built on that strong friendship!

Matthew said that, “Active listening has been, and always will be a key part of our relationship. LeaderShape taught us that the goal of active listening is to understand the other person’s thoughts and emotions, rather than solely listening to prepare a response.  We have found that active listening is a part of our daily communication and has fortified our relationship and wellbeing with one another.”

The couple will marry later this year and become “Miami Mergers”, a term used to describe Miami University alumni that marry. About 14% of Miami alumni hold this title! The couple said they hope to teach their future children the values they learned at LeaderShape and spark ideas and visions of their own. We hope that, too!

 

LeaderShape in Love: Part 3

LeaderShapeInLoveFebruary always brings about thoughts of love and at LeaderShape, we’re turning to mush over some sweet love stories from folks in our community! Over the course of this month, we want to tell you about some couples who met through LeaderShape, tell you how they fell in love, and take a peek at what’s next for them. We hope you enjoy these stories and perhaps are inspired to reconnect with your own loves!

This week, we’re telling you about Gretchen Hoppe and Peyton Lightfoot who met as participants at an Institute session at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse! The two met in their family cluster during the first day of their Institute session, but Gretchen had seen Peyton before. She’d first laid eyes on him at the participant orientation session a few weeks before their Institute session. She remembers thinking he was pretty cute and was hoping to interact with him once they got to their session.

During the Institute, Peyton stayed after a session to ask a question, but handed Gretchen his backpack and asked her to save him a spot next to her for lunch. Gretchen said, “That is when I first had an idea that he might be interested in me in the same way I was interested in him. This gave me the courage to pursue further conversation more towards a relationship rather than just as friends.”

Gretchen and Peyton often find themselves thinking back on their Institute experience and all they learned about themselves. They spent so much time talking to each other about their core values and what is important to them.

While they’re both still students at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, they’re also continuing to work on the visions they created at the Institute. In the meantime, they’re debating names for their future pet kitten, and are season ticket holders for Forward Madison FC, a semi-pro soccer club.

 

 

LeaderShape in Love: Part 2

LeaderShapeInLoveFebruary always brings about thoughts of love and at LeaderShape, we’re turning to mush over some sweet love stories from folks in our community! Over the course of this month, we want to tell you about some couples who met through LeaderShape, tell you how they fell in love, and take a peek at what’s next for them. We hope you enjoy these stories and perhaps are inspired to reconnect with your own loves!

In this second part of the series, we’re telling you about Gina Hurney and B Nathan. These two Co-Lead facilitators met at a Co-Lead training hosted by LeaderShape in April 2014. B had just been accepted as a Co-Lead and Gina was returning to the role after a two-year hiatus to finish her PhD. Anyone who knows B knows she’s a romantic and always kept her mind and heart open to the possibility of falling in love, especially at the Co-Lead retreat. Gina, was just happy to return to Co-Leading and was never looking for any type of relationship at all, much less to become a married woman.

Gina asked B to join her for dinner one night during the retreat and they hit it off! They realized they had a lot in common and that their values overlapped. After the retreat, B returned to Colorado State and Gina returned to Pennsylvania. They got to know each other better over long phone chats. Both will say the distance not only built their relationship, but is the reason why they’re still together! B said, “We took time each day to communicate, to share about our days, to learn about each other: and ended up falling in love.” Nine months later, Gina proposed and B said yes. They got married on November 3, 2018 in Gaithersburg, MD.

When asked how does the Institute curriculum play a part in their relationship now, B said, “Our values and integrity are the foundation of our relationship. For example, we never go to bed or wake up angry with each other. We say I love you before we go to bed and before we depart for our works in the morning. We say I am sorry. We constantly do self work. And we engage in frequent conversations related to topics of racism, sexism, intersectionality, classism, homophobia and transphobia, and how we can eliminate systems of oppression.”

B is finishing up her PhD work and then the two will take their honeymoon to Italy and Greece. They both continue to be Co-Leads for LeaderShape, are parents to their puppy dog Charli, and are doing the best they can to make the world more socially just.

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