October: Reflecting in the Moment

Here at LeaderShape, we rely on the power of our community to make what we do possible. We believe that anything is possible with a compelling vision, integrity, a supportive community and the commitment to stay in action. We spent September looking toward the future, and we hope you did too (head over to our Instagram account and check out the “September” story).

Our vision is a just, caring, and thriving world where everyone leads with integrity and lives in possibility. Where we work in community with one another. Where everyone recognizes their own gifts and finds ways to use them for the greater good. Our intention is to create spaces for others to be included and contribute in this world and then by doing so, lead others to do the same – “to lead, live”.

This month we want to invite everyone, including our staff and organization, to reflect in the moment. Being mindful and present with yourself, and groups you identify with, is beneficial to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being.

Below is a peak at some of what we’ll be sharing on our social media platforms this month. We’re eager to reflect with the LeaderShape community this month!

National Book Month

Books expose us to new ideas, connect us to the lived experience of others, and can even bring about self-discovery. October is National Book Month and to celebrate, the LeaderShape staff is sharing what they have been reading.

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Day 7

Leaders inevitably find themselves stuck in the mess; living and leading with integrity is no simple task, but it is possible. Because of this, we will focus our #Day7 in October around why mindfulness matters. Student leaders, especially, can become overwhelmed with everything that college life involves – attending class, preparing for papers and tests, attending club meetings and putting on campus events, not to mention maintaining relationships with friends, families, and partners. This alone can turn a normal nine to five day into a non-stop day with few breaks and little time for meals and sleep.

We believe that all of us, no matter our workload or commitments, is capable of practicing mindfulness. On Sunday, October 7th, follow the hashtag #MindfulnessMatters on Instagram and Twitter as we reflect on ways to practice mindfulness by yourself, with a group, and reasons why it’s beneficial for leaders.

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LeaderShapers in Action

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from LeaderShapers across the nation who  are staying in action. And soon we’ll be sharing even more advice and stories from the participants and facilitators from our programs!

We would like to share your story as well! If, as a result of a LeaderShape program, you have experienced a personal change in thought or behavior or have put what you’ve learned into action. We can’t wait to hear from you!

LeaderShapers In Action

To Lead, (Keep) Read(ing)

What’s the most recent book you’ve read that you were completely engrossed in? One that transported you to a different realm or introduced you to a new perspective? The book you haven’t been able to stop talking about? pexels-photo-261820 (1).jpegThat book, the one you are thinking about right now, is an example of the power that reading can have. At LeaderShape, we believe that learning is a lifelong process; everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn. One way in which we can engage in learning (and teaching!) throughout all stages in life is through reading. Books expose us to new ideas, connect us to the lived experience of others, and can even bring about self-discovery.

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2018 Palmer Award Recipient: Briana Landis

We are so excited to announce this year’s Palmer Award Recipient! Meet and help us to congratulate Briana Landis, an Institute graduate from Meredith College, whose vision is “to create a world free of Multiple Sclerosis.”

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For those unfamiliar with the disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system. This attack on the brain and spinal cord disrupts signals to and from the brain. This interruption can create a variety of problems from numbness to blindness to paralysis.

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Briana herself was diagnosed with MS when she was 4 years old and prior to participating in the Institute, she interned with the research lab DiscoveryMS. These experiences helped Briana to understand the need for funding to be directed towards MS research.

Through her experience at the Institute, Briana realized that, although she is young, she really can make a significant impact on what she cares about! She can be bold in her vision of a world free of Multiple Sclerosis. As she developed her vision further, Briana set a stretch goal to speak with local government officials about funding for MS on the state level as well as eventually speaking with Congress to demonstrate the need for funding on a national level.

Take a look at Briana’s progress!

  • Shared her story at multiple events that were raising money for Multiple Sclerosis
  • Was approached by the National MS Society and asked to go to Congress and speak on their behalf
  • Researched which bills were connected to Multiple Sclerosis and met with the National MS Society to understand the issues more deeply
  • Traveled to DC and spoke with members of Congress and the head of the MS Caucus
  • Met with her local state representative and the Governor of North Carolina

While in DC speaking to members of Congress, Briana asked for support of the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act. This act would prohibit large pharmaceutical companies from having programs that limit access to generic drugs. Briana shared that, on average, a person living with MS will pay $2500.00 a month on medication. Getting the CREATES Act passed means more people will be able to afford the medications they need and enjoy a better quality of life as their symptoms are being treated.28870387_1816760605055167_7650265836946946227_n

There has been progress on the Neurological Conditions Surveillance System, another area that Briana spoke with legislators about. Although previously passed, no funding had been given. Funding has now been established and preliminary results shows there are more than one million people in the United States with Multiple Sclerosis. Earlier studies estimated that number to be only half of that. The census results demonstrate the need for resources to be allocated to those with the disease and for research.

Through her work with her local Representatives and Governor, Briana as advocated for more funding for North Carolina’s Affordable Housing initiative. The passing of this initiative benefits people with MS who have been homebound by providing them with easy-to assemble ramps for their homes. MS can limit one’s physical mobility, keeping them homebound. Those in this situation may not be able to attend doctor’s appointments, pick up prescriptions, run errands, or see friends and family – all activities important to one’s physical and mental health. These ramps can add so much value to those living with MS by helping them be more mobile and offering an increased level of independence and freedom.

Briana’s knows her work is not done yet! Even so, she shared that she is eager to one day say, “I used to have MS.”