2020 Reflections – Bittersweet endings

We have had an extraordinary 6 weeks of 2020 learning and connection. In October the Blended 3 and 4 cohorts completed their final residencies and graduated in style. The Blended 5 cohort launched in early November, and we also hosted our first Alumni gathering and social impact summit on October 21-22.

The ‘endings’ of cohorts are always bittersweet. It is an honour for the design and hosting team to see how people reconnect in the final residency and to bear witness to what has happened for them over the 10 months of learning. Sometimes the shifts are significant and obvious – new roles and jobs, new communities served, new learning and degree programs initiated, etc. Just as important however, are the less obvious shifts, such as increased confidence and belief in self as a ‘leader’, new perspectives and openness, new and positive ways of working and supporting others, volunteering for special projects and committees, trying out new ideas, failing in something and recovering, revitalized connections, improved self care and wellness, greater mindfulness, etc. These shifts speak to the three pillars of great leadership: it is personal, participatory and practice-based. Participants continually affirm through their actions that all three domains matter and that the journey is ongoing.

As much as we love the second residencies, it is also sad to end this part of the program, and the bi-weekly connections with such amazing leaders in our field. In some ways we are just beginning the work together – as we explore social impact and changemaking in the final residency it feels like we have to keep going. As we build our graduate community and create cross-cohort connections I do hope that each of you that have graduated (recently and in the past cohorts) can make the space in your schedules to stay connected and to “ask for what you need and offer what you can” from this broader community.