A Just, Caring, and Thriving World

Our Vision

A just, caring, and thriving world where all lead with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible. 

LeaderShape is struggling to engage in this moment as much as everyone else because the possibility of our vision feels very far away right now. But it doesn’t mean we stop believing in it.

In good times, this vision feels hopeful and possible to achieve for the world. It’s a bright spot to look towards and remind us of how far we’ve come. In bleak times, it’s difficult to stay focused on this vision. But in bleak times, it’s more important to hold tight to that vision and dig deep into the work that must be done to achieve it.

We believe that a just world is one where behaviors, policies, practices, systems, relationships, and engagements are done from a place that is morally right and fair.

We believe that a caring world is one where we each display deep kindness and authentic, genuine concern for others and ourselves.

We believe that a thriving world is one where everyone has the chance to grow, develop, prosper, and flourish vigorously and with the most liberated access to all possibilities that exist.

We aren’t in that world, yet. But it doesn’t mean it’s not possible.  

We believe and know that Black Lives Matter. But the ways that we, as a nation and as a world are acting right now, it seems like those are just empty words.

A just, caring, and thriving world is one where black lives matter.

The racially motivated events of the past week have been examples of how our world is not just, caring, or thriving for people of color. While these events are not new examples of these injustices and systems of oppression, they are being brought to the forefront of everyone’s attention.

During our Institute program, we talk about integrity and the role it plays in our lives. We believe at this moment, integrity is at the core of the work we need to be doing individually and collectively. As a staff, we are asking ourselves these questions. And that’s where integrity comes in.

  • What are the values that create the world that you want to see?
  • How can you have better alignment to your values?
  • How do you practice them?
  • How do we dig into our values in a way that helps us know that when we go after a world where Black Lives ACTUALLY DO Matter, we all will thrive?

As an organization we believe in the power of people working in community to make change. We encourage each member of the LeaderShape community to use your voice, your actions, and your power to make change. We also recognize that for some in our community, you have been doing this all along. You’re tired and you’re weary. We hope that you find space for rest and healing. We hope that you are feeling the support of others to carry you through a difficult time.

We will continue to do all we can to use our voice as an organization to help people to grow in community with each other until the world is truly just, caring, and thriving for all people – not just some people. Until we get there, the work will continue with compassion, curiosity, kindness, integrity, and hope.

One thing that LeaderShape values is the ability to gather in community and learn together. We believe that everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner.  Since people cannot gather in person at this time, we want work to connect people to opportunities to learn, spaces to heal, and to have conversations that matter to make meaningful change. We’ll be posting more events and resources to our social media accounts in the coming weeks, but here are a few we’d like to share with you now:

  • White Supremacy and the Making of America – A Zoom Presentation (this Thursday, June 4). This will be facilitated by Roger Moreano, a LeaderShape Co-Lead facilitator.
  • White Accountability Virtual Groups: Free Zooms – White Accountability Groups (for 1st 300 to join): Tu 6/2 from 3-4:30pm ET & Fri June 5th from 5-6:30pm ET. To access Zoom link, please be sure to send an email to: wasracialjustice@gmail.com. This will be facilitated by Kathy Obear, Rachel Forester, and Craig Elliott, who is a LeaderShape Co-Lead facilitator.
  • Free Zoom: Ways to Convene White Accountability Groups in These Times, Wed June 3rd 5-6+pm ET (for those who are ready to explore ways to start and convene a group in your area/organization. 1st of several) To access Zoom link, please be sure to send an email to: wasracialjustice@gmail.com. This will be facilitated by Kathy Obear, Rachel Forester, and Craig Elliott, who is a LeaderShape Co-Lead facilitator. Feeling deep outrage at centuries of police terrorism and racial violence, supporting all who are effectively protesting, creating systemic change, and engaging other whites to create racial justice – AND, our work in these sessions is self-work: interrupting our racist attitudes and behaviors as well as those of other whites, recognizing and effectively shifting white supremacist culture in the moment in us & other whites and in practices/policies, and developing capacity and courage to effectively speak up and intervene to shift racism at the interpersonal and organizational levels as we truly partner with & follow the leadership of colleagues of color in creating true racial justice.
  • Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma – educational resources for the classroom and workspace.
  • 1619 Podcast – a 6-part long-form podcast on the history of slavery in America and how this history is still relevant today.
  • A Kids Book About Racism – If you have children in your life and want to start a conversation with them about racism, this book is a great resource.

If you have other resources that you’d like to share, please send them to us at lead@leadershape.org.

Videre Becomes Real Life

Note: This blog entry was written by guest author, Katie Selby. Katie is a Co-Lead Facilitator in Minneapolis, MN. 

At LeaderShape’s Institute program, we do an activity called Videre about chaos and change that lets us experience our own reactions to unexpected changes and the instability of systems. I couldn’t help but think of Videre these past couple weeks as the CoVID-19 pandemic brings unprecedented and confusing changes to our lives.

What routines were you skipping along to in early March? Spring semester on campus? A new study abroad experience? The familiar cadence of your work world? Maybe life felt like a circle of your friends, tossing a tennis ball, counting your production wins, and yelling “Videre!” at regular intervals.

I felt the first round of disruptions come into my game the week of March 16th. Assumptions that I thought would never be shaken changed rapidly to a new reality: universities moving to online learning, my kids home from school for the indefinite future, and no longer being able to visit my mother. As each week goes on, I’m realizing that the disruptions will continue. My city recently announced that all public pools and beaches will be closed for the summer and instantly my expectations for summer with my kids were shattered. I’m trying to stay centered knowing that what I can control are my reactions to the crisis.

When the Videre activity comes to a close, we talk about tension between what exists now and what will be in the future. We share the Margaret Wheatley quote “The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are also the primary sources of creativity.” I think this quote brings about some important reflection questions for us in the time of CoVID-19.

  • How will you stay centered in your values as unexpected changes emerge?
  • As a leader, how can you model vulnerability and courage for others?
  • What sparks of creativity and innovation can you discover among the disarray?
  • How will your vision change or expand given this rapidly-changing reality?
  • How are you taking care of yourself in order to have energy to give to others?

We are certainly living in unprecedented times and none of us knows the new rules of engagement. In crisis, I find myself seeking solace in my foundational values and for me, LeaderShape was at the center of that values discovery. So go ahead, pull out your LeaderShape binder or visit LeaderShape on social media to reconnect with that feeling of unbounded hope and possibility. The world needs you more than ever!

Katie Selby, Co-Lead FacilitatorKatie Selby has been coaching early career professionals through career & life transitions for more than 20 years in her roles as career coach, college recruiter, and leadership educator. Katie led undergraduate career and leadership development for the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota for more than 10 years, serves as a national Co-Lead facilitator for LeaderShape since 2006. Katie holds an M.Ed. in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota and is founder and principal coach of QuarterLife Coach LLC.

LeaderShape in Love: Part 1

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!

First up is Doug Litteken and Caroline Cvetkovic. Doug and Caroline met in 2010 at an Institute session hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at Allerton Park. They hadn’t met prior to their Institute experience, but were paired up for an activity during the challenge course on the second day of their session. After that, they started communicating through notes in their mailboxes during the Institute. Doug left Caroline a note in her mailbox, thanking her for courage she had shown in an earlier activity that day. Caroline said, “The kindness from this stranger gave me confidence.”

Once they returned to campus after their session, Doug and Caroline met up for lunch. What happened after that was almost five years of long-distance dating. Doug moved to Houston to work at NASA as a structural engineer at the Johnson Space Center (you can see his talkMARS presentation on his work here), while Caroline stayed at UIUC to complete her PhD. During this time, their leadership training reminded them of why they were pursuing their passions. “LeaderShape solidified my personal values and helped to mold my adult character. It pushed me and helped me to understand how I could be comfortable being out of my comfort zone,” said Caroline. Doug said the biggest part of the Institute experience for them was talking about being vulnerable and putting themselves out there with each other and in other relationships. “It’s a hard thing to do but it can be so impactful once you do it. It’s definitely something we took from the Institute and practice regularly,” Doug said.

What’s next for this couple? They’re enjoying married life in Houston, where Caroline is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Neuroregeneration at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. They’re active in the local alumni club, professional societies, and sports leagues, and travel back to the Midwest to visit their nephews and niece.