By Lisa Brown, Livingston Fellow, Class of 2014
The Plan is a tool where each fellow outlines the goals of their professional development and sets the framework of activities to reach those goals.
When their Plan is completed, fellows are required to submit a final report where they reflect on their learnings through a series of questions. Here are just a sampling of Lisa’s responses:
BSF: What impact has this fellowship had on you personally and as a leader?
LB: This fellowship has profoundly altered the course of my career and leadership. My goal of increasing my capacity to lead with my intuitive strength has amplified and grown each month of the fellowship. Through this, I have grown as a leader in my organization, community and family. The fellowship helped me develop confidence in my abilities and unleashed my creative capacity. The activities and skills I learned will stay with me for a lifetime and transfer across many endeavors.
BSF: How has your participation contributed to positive change in your organization and/or to the nonprofit sector?
LB: I lead my organization more creatively and courageously than I would have without this fellowship. I learned skills that have increased my ability to manage complex change, lead teams and develop novel solutions for difficult challenges. I have also developed connections and started new collaborations through the fellowship.
As a result of this development, my whole view of work has moved from one of how I can be really good at my work to how can I be of most service to the work and colleagues. This shift has created a tremendous shift in my energy and created numerous opportunities for meaningful, effective and purposeful work.
BSF: What are three key leadership lessons you learned that you believe will have a lasting impact on you?
LB: Three leadership lessons I have deeply embraced are:
- I don’t need to have all the answers (and I usually don’t)- My role is to create space for other’s creativity to contribute to great work.
- Taking good enough action today always goes further than waiting for the perfect solution- I’ve learned to take a strong point of view around critical elements like values or final outcomes and then stepping back and allowing multiple routes to achieving the end result.
- The greatest work only happens in safe and fun environments- Attitude and energy management are critical for success. I heavily invest in my and my employees’ emotional and physical health. This creates the most energetic, optimistic and effective environments.
Bonfils-Stanton Foundation also asks Livingston Fellows to share specifics on their activities to build a database that serves as a historical record for the program and as a tool for current and future fellows as they plan and research what others have done.
While Lisa had several impactful activities (including taking an acting class to help her step out of her comfort zone) here are her thoughts on one activity she would highly recommend to others:
Public Speaking Coach:
LB: I worked with a public speaking coach to develop my skills at preparing and presenting to large audiences. My coach helped me identify techniques for engaging audiences and creating ways for me to confidently present my work. I learned a combination of intellectual, tactical and physical skills that have transformed my approach to public speaking and presenting.
This hard skill development was a critical element of my fellowship. The amount of energy I used to consume in fretting about and preparing for presentations is now used for much more interesting work.
In conclusion, Lisa summed up her Livingston Fellowship experience by saying, “I am deeply grateful for the opportunities the Livingston Fellowship gave me to grow as a leader. All my future endeavors will have debt to this gift. I’m looking forward to how I get to build on this investment and repay it through improved lives in our community.”
Congratulations Lisa on completing your Livingston Fellowship! We are so proud of your commitment to leadership and the nonprofit sector.