This blog post was inspired by the 2022-2023 Leaders for Tomorrow Group Members and Facilitators and by Brenda MacNaughton’s recent blog “Refresh and Ignite”. I hope through this month’s posts to share with you some of the opportunities offered by ETFO and highlight ways you may get involved. 


In Brenda’s post she discussed the women’s retreat she was attending in Rice Lake and highlighted the importance of women’s programs. If you are interested in learning more about the rationale for and impact of these specific programs, please refer to the 2022 Equity and Women’s Programs Annual Meeting Report as referenced in Brenda’s blog. 


Leaders for Tomorrow is a year long program for women from designated groups. Over the course of four sessions we learned about the history of our union, ways to increase our involvement in the union, and the importance and impact of taking on leadership roles. Our facilitators encouraged and supported us as we explored our identities and worldviews and what it means to be a leader. 


In our final reflection we were encouraged to represent our journey throughout the Leaders for Tomorrow in a meaningful way. Songs, dances, objects, art pieces, were shared by the women to symbolize thoughts, feelings and personal and professional growth throughout the year.  


Below I will share a small part of my reflection describing my view of leadership that evolved throughout the program. 


Water. It is what connects us, to one another, to our Mother’s, to the Earth. 

It is not only all around us, and within us; It is the source of all life. 

It is a powerful force and symbolizes my journey in Leaders. 

When a quote by Lau Tzu (Lawoh Tu) I recently heard resonated with me, I knew water would play a part in my self-reflection of this program and of leadership.

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. 

But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield.

As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.

This last line “What is soft is strong” really struck me. 

In this, I was reminded of the different ways leaders show up. Water although a powerful force, doesn’t fight; It flows. My vision or understanding of leadership has changed to incorporate the strength that comes with softness, surrender and flow; and how leaders don’t have to swim upstream or struggle against the tide, but can navigate these challenges quietly transforming and flowing as needed and find their way in and around systems and barriers, and lead from places of softness. 


ETFO offers educators a variety of programs and learning opportunities through the school year and continuing throughout the summer. Summer Academy is another wonderful program I will share more about in my next post. Stay tuned!


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