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  • 30 May 2022 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Two years is a long time to work with your colleagues virtually, some of whom are truly like family, especially after experiencing hardship and challenge after challenge together. On the days you’ve been pushed to a limit you didn’t know you had, you want to hug them and only them. Two years is a long time to see your friends less often and your family less often. Two years is a long time for many of us to learn how to cope with (and question) the impacts of a global pandemic, loss, social injustice, the “new normal,” and change within ourselves, our families, jobs, and communities.

    In November of 2019, I traveled to Australia for work, and I spent time with many colleagues that I had either never met in person or hadn’t seen in many years. We strategized and planned, and it was energizing; I couldn’t wait for what was next – seeing through our vision and plans for our study abroad students in 2020 in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

    Needless to say, 2020 didn’t go as planned, and a lot happened in the past two years. I won’t go into details (maybe in another blog), but I finally went to my first in-person event in Denver, Colorado, in March of 2022. Just one day after International Women’s Day, I attended Women Powering Change – an event that brings together leaders, activists, volunteers, community members, and philanthropists to showcase what women are doing to catalyze social change locally and globally to create a better world in more than 100 Colorado-based organizations.

    So, I’ll admit it, maybe I was a bit giddy as I felt like a bear rising from a long covid winter (or two). This event was warm, inviting, inclusive, and accepting - and it smelled of fresh burritos available for dinner on a cold, snowy Colorado evening. What more could you ask for? I’ll tell you - to be in a community with others that are making a positive impact and care deeply about supporting the advancement of women. Capital Sisters International provides microloans for women in poverty, Dance to Free is a non-profit changing the lives of incarcerated women by addressing lifelong trauma through the healing power of dance, and Agile International works to secure land, water, and energy availability for rural women farmers in Western Africa.

    While I wish I could have hugged my former colleagues through the numerous challenges we experienced in 2020 and 2021, two of the people I used to work with many years ago were in attendance at this same event and we were all there representing different organizations. We had no idea we would all be there, and we certainly didn’t know that we would be randomly placed right next to each other. But, it made the night even sweeter and reminded me that connections can turn into friendships that last forever.

    Here’s to 2022 and beyond. May we continue to connect with one another, inspire, and empower – creating positive change. No matter how big or small, remember it is still change. Thank you to my friends with GALS and The Sacred Valley Project, once colleagues and now friends - I am so fortunate to have them forever. 

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

  • 28 Apr 2022 3:30 PM | Anonymous
    Kris Holloway is a woman of many talents. Besides operating as the Global Leadership League’s Director of Programs, Kris “serves as the President of CIS Abroad, a leading education abroad organization whose vision is to create a more compassionate and connected world, one student at a time.” One of the many applications of Kris’ talents was her work in helping to document and compile the story of Irene Butter, a survivor of the Holocaust and a concentration camp, and the League’s presenter for our recent International Women’s Day 2022 event.

    Irene Butter spent a part of her childhood in Nazi-controlled concentration camps, where she survived horrible conditions and tragedies. She tells her story on behalf of the six million other Jews who have been permanently silenced. Irene's account celebrates the exercising of empathy for others in even the most inhumane conditions, a relevant message in an age where similar hatreds and discrimination rise once again.

    As a longtime friend and confidante of Irene’s, Kris knew that Irene’s story had to be documented and shared in a respectful manner. We recently sat down with Kris to learn more about how she went about the process of sharing another woman’s powerful story and what she feels she learned from the experience.

    How does someone best go about writing a book for someone else and maintaining that respect and authenticity for their story?

    I had experience because my first book I wrote about a West African midwife that I lived and worked with in the Peace Corps and how she died in childbirth. Because she died, I wrote her story and I knew that I had to tell the story of this midwife, and how she lived, in order for people here in the U.S. to care about her death. And so, prior to writing with Irene, I had experience with the responsibility I had writing as a white woman about a black West African woman. I thought a lot about this from a narrative ethnographic sense and also from a personal sense.

    Irene asked me and my husband John to write her story. She had years of experience talking to middle school and high school students as she told of her journey through the Holocaust. And even though it was hard to talk about these memories of loss, her belief in the power of young people to change the world kept her energized. And, her one ask of us as writers was that we maintained the voice of the child in the narrative. She wanted to portray a hopeful message of “If I can do this, you can too. If I can be a survivor, you can too.” That was the guiding lens of how we wrote the book – staying true to her young voice.

    What that looked like, in reality, is that the writing process was iterative. I developed character sketches so that each character in Irene’s story looked and behaved consistently to who they were. I had to know when Irene looks stressed, what does she do? When Irene talks, how does she sound? And, the book was written in English, even though Irene spoke German in her childhood, and then when her family went to Amsterdam she spoke solely in Dutch there, and then through the camps she continued speaking in Dutch, and then when she went to the refugee camp after the war, she spoke Dutch and learned English and French. So, I had to focus on how to stay true to her voice despite the change in language. To be trusted to tell a Holocaust survivor’s story felt really big. I felt the responsibility for grounding it in truth and fact.

    Irene was amazingly brave as the writing opened up memories she had not known she had. My husband and I divvied up scenes to write based on our knowledge and interests. I would write a scene with our character sketches, and I would send it to Irene and then we would meet on Skype, and she would be like “Nope, nope, nope. That’s wrong.” She wouldn’t know what I got wrong until I wrote it wrong and then it would open up her memory to say, “Oh, now I remember. It wasn’t the smell of daffodils, it was crocuses…” or whatever the detailmight be. So, every time we wrote it would open up something else like this, and we would go back and forth in conversation. Then we would read it out loud so that Irene could feel that it was coming from within her. The bravery she had to be willing to see things that would have been easy to not see was incredible.

    How do you balance deep diving into this heavy topic and maintaining your daily life with children, work, significant others, etc?

    First, I scheduled the time as if it was a second job. I had goals and deadlines. So much of writing just showing up and doing the work. Over and over. It is not anything magical.

    Second, and this is where there is a bit of magic, was around creating ritual to ground myself in the ‘Why.’ You can have discipline but be uninspired. So, to keep that inspiration, I would look at pictures of her family as they went through the Holocaust. I would listen to Enya, which is super cheesy but I just love Enya, so I would listen to her, light a candle, and look at photos of Irene’s family. I would ground myself in the reasons why I am going to spend two hours on a gorgeous 70 degree afternoon inside doing this work instead of outside with friends or family. So that created this space that is sort of sacred, kind of time-out-of -ime, so that I could maintain my energy for the work.

    I think as international educators we are used to being committed to our work, and having to harness energy for it even during hard times. Hmmm… maybe like a pandemic that halts student mobility for two years! So, it was kind of just building on that same kind of energy that is resplendent in our field in many ways. This story is one of showcasing how we have got to work across all our perceived differences so that we can actually co-create a better world.

    How can we incorporate Irene's message into our daily lives?

    I think two things. One is to assume best intentions. unless we have a reason not to. Because there is so much that is hurtful, and we are all edgy coming out of the pandemic. Before we jump to escalate, and punish, and demonize, can we step in with some kindness? Can we assume best intentions before reacting to everything that we disagree with? Can we just have a little gentleness? Irene has taught me to just take a breath, don’t react, and just notice and listen. Then when I’m a little more grounded, be curious. And that has been so helpful for me.

    Two, is the opposite. If we know there are bad intentions, like if we see bullying happen, we must simply show up. Sometimes there is a natural “look the other way” kind of response. Like it is someone else’s problem. The pandemic has been hard on humans, on families, on communities. If we see someone experiencing suffering, let’s stand with them. And this has kindness in it, but it is also a braver than just that. It involves risk. How can we expand the definition of who our brothers and sisters are and how can we intervene in order to prevent suffering? I think for your average person, if we can just make these small choices that take a little time and small dose of bravery, it makes a difference.

    What was the hardest part for you about translating or helping to relay this story?

    Probably the editing process. There were certain parts of her story that I found really interesting to learn about and write about, that through the editing process it was clear that the narrative was stronger without them. I think that was probably the hardest part – letting go of some of the writing and different scenes that I just loved.

    And also, it just took a while, so took some patience with the process as I just wanted to get it out in the world. We so wanted her to be part of the book’s launch before she got too old. She’s 91! It was hard feeling that time crunch.

    The blessing of it all was the closeness- Irene feels like my older sister. She feels like family and really, who gets that? Who gets to have a 91-year-old older sister when you are my age? It has been such a source of joy, even in the suffering of the story. That has been the biggest, most unexpected outcome of doing this project together. Then we had a reason to meet, and now we are not writing anymore but we keep meeting anyway. I go to Ann Arbor frequently, and Irene has just finished a podcast in German, she just appeared on Dutch news show, and has a CNN special- she is just going gang-busters. And, the book has been translated in Dutch, Portuguese, Czech, and will be out in German this summer. Sometimes I am involved in some of that and sometimes I just hear about it through her agent, and it is just fabulous and so much fun. I love riding her coattails. How fabulous and long the coattails are of this 5 ft 1 in woman.

    What, if anything, did this project help show to you or reveal to you about working in international education?

    How do we weave story into what we do? Whether that is literally using the book and her journey as an itinerary for faculty led program, or how we help our students make sense of their own experiences in another culture.

    It made me realize the importance of expanding our definition of family and community across boundaries, meaning you’re responsible for me and I am responsible for you in some shared capacity, because if we can expand that, then it is much harder to invade, attack, or ignore the suffering of others. It made me appreciate my citizenship and think about what it means to have the privilege of having a country to call home, and to help those who don’t have this power or protection. It seems so similar to the reasons that we are in the international ed field to begin with, because otherwise, why would we be here?

    The last thoughts I want to share are to give kudos to the individuals in the Global Leadership League- all the volunteers and participants who are keeping a safe space alive for people to come together in this field and continue to grow. Because that is how it is going to grow back and grow back better.

    If you are interested in learning more about Irene Butter, her story, and the published book ‘Shores Beyond Shores: From Holocaust to Hope, My True Story’ join The League on 12 May, 2022, at 11:00 AM (EDT) for a virtual book discussion. Learn more here. As well, learn more about Kris’ organization, CISAbroad, here.

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

  • 08 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Almost every month of the year has several days that recognize and celebrate various causes, organizations, or topics. Some of these days are serious, some are religious, and some are just fun ones (World Doughnut Day, anyone?).

    One of the biggest celebrations that we mark in March is International Women's Day. This event is celebrated annually on March 8th, and this year has the theme of "Break the Bias." According to their official website, "International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality."

    International Women's Day has a long history and has been celebrated for over a century, with its first recognition occurring in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. It was later celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975 but gained more considerable popularity with its re-energization in 2001.*

    As part of our own celebration and recognition for this day, the Global Leadership League proudly hosted our event, The Difference You Make: A Conversation with a Holocaust Survivor. This event was an inspiring and moving virtual conversation with Dr. Irene Butter, a Holocaust survivor, and author. We were honored to host this event and to hold our own space in recognizing International Women's Day.

    The concept of international days of recognition "predates the establishment of the United Nations"* and these occurrences are helpful to educate and inform people about different causes and global problems and celebrate various causal successes. Some of the most recognized international days include International Women's Day on March 8th, World Water Day on March 22nd, and International Day of Peace on September 21st. To peruse a comprehensive list of International Days of Celebration, visit this site hosted by the UNESCO Center for Peace. On this list, you will find days marking everything from Mother Earth Day (April 22nd) to International Day of Happiness (March 20th).

    With so many days of the years dedicated to different causes and topics, it seems that there is a day relating to just about everyone. So, we wonder, if you were to add your own international day or recognition, what type of person or activity would you love to see celebrated each year? Let us know by sharing with us on our social media!

    *About international women's day. International Women's Day. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2022, from https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About

    *Why do we mark international days? United Nations. (2020, April 21). Retrieved March 4, 2022, from https://www.unsecretariat.net/sections/observances/why-do-we-mark-international-days/index.html#:~:text=Who%20chooses%20them%20and%20how,General%20Assembly%20by%20Member%20States

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

  • 24 Jan 2022 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    By Sarah E. Spencer, The League’s Director of Global Strategy and Founder of OnPoint Global Strategies & Coaching shares her thoughts on

    Eight Questions Nonprofit Leaders Must Ask

    Consistent good leadership is an essential skill, one more important than ever in all workplaces – private, not-for-profit or government. Although this article focuses on nonprofit leadership, many of these questions apply to anyone already a leader, or aspiring to be one. The last two years with the global pandemic and social, political and economic turmoil, have tested our professional acumen, stress levels and maybe even our health. 

    In the nonprofit sector, the upheaval in employment and hence personal finances has impacted philanthropy. Volunteers may not have been available due to lockdowns, safety protocols or time available. Educators have somehow managed to move to online learning and empty campuses. Even your devoted employees energized by your organization’s mission may have unexpectedly left for remote work or more money, and it’s hard to recruit talented replacements.

    This is a lot, even for the most experienced nonprofit leaders and professional colleagues. Take time to pause, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and ask yourself the following eight questions to help reset your organization for success – and why not invite your leadership and diversity of professional colleagues to join in too?

    Click here to continue reading...

    MMS NorCal Coaching Collective offers coaching, tools and support for leaders and executives, health and wellness, improved relationships, as well as coaching for artists, nonprofit leaders, and more. Subscribe to receive its monthly newsletter.

    Sarah E. Spencer is a consultant to the higher and global education sector and the Founder & Managing Director at OnPoint Global Strategies & Coaching. She is also a Professional Coach at the MMS NorCal Institute of Northern California and works with non-profit leaders, professionals and teams who find themselves at crossroads or want to improve their leadership acumen. She is also a founding board member and director of global strategy for the Global Leadership League.

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

  • 30 Dec 2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    By Dana Tottenham

    dtotten@emory.edu

    Director, League Lasso Writer’s Circle
    Ed.D. Student, The University of Texas at Austin On Educational Leave, Emory University 

    One of the rituals when I fly from my home in Atlanta to my hometown of Austin is heading straight to El Arroyo (translated the Ditch). This Tex-Mex restaurant, built over a limestone ravine, has an infamous billboard out front. Over the decades, these billboard signs have become folklore in Austin: witty sayings, political statements, and signs of the times.

    El Arroyo always says it best, “It’s OK if you fall apart. Sometimes tacos fall apart, and we still love them."

    The field of international education has fallen apart. But here in the League, we love things that fall apart, because through the harness of leadership, we can join forces and put something even more magical back together. Whether you are asking Sophia something confidential or meeting new people in a Mentoring Circle, the League is like a taco bar. There is something for everyone.

    I had to make an incredibly difficult decision in early spring 2021 to leave my beloved position in the field. As a working mom amidst a global pandemic, it simply was unsustainable to keep going, and I literally fell apart. I am grateful that I was already a League member. Although I had left my day job and sense of identity as an international educator, I still had an anchor in the field. The League became my comfort food- the biggest bowl of Queso that you can imagine drinking from.

    During this year, I had the honor of launching the inaugural League Lasso Writer’s Circle. League members from across the globe- from the United States to Spain to India- zoomed together to share their stories. Late in the evenings, we read out loud a piece of our souls, from personal essays of pandemic trauma to book chapters waiting to be published to professional bio statements edited for university websites.

    The Taco Bar of 2022 is officially open. The League is on the Rise. Grab a tortilla (or a rita), strap your vaccines in, and let’s enjoy the masked-up ride.

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

  • 30 Nov 2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    Where o where has 2021 gone?! If you are anything like us here at The League, it feels like this past year has flown by! We can’t believe that we are preparing to wrap up 2021 and turn our focus towards 2022. While many of us are still coming to terms with the past year (including the impact of COVID and the uncertainty of so many details for the future), we felt now is as good a time as any to take a moment for some reflection.

    The holidays tend to be a period when most people spend more time with family, gather around the table together, and (hopefully) have a few days off here or there. Moments like this tend to bring to the surface many memories, including those of past holidays, thoughts of loved ones, and rumination on the past. We encourage you to use this time of the year to take your own pause for some reflection. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite warm beverage, find a comfy spot to settle into, and take a moment to deep dive into your past year of highs and maybe even a few lows. Here are a few ideas for you to help create some space for reflection:

    1. Take time to journal: What have you accomplished this past year? What did you not accomplish but had hoped to? What was the biggest obstacle you faced? What was your happiest moment of the past year? What was your saddest? Spend some time with your thoughts and memories and write them down.

    2. Look back through photos: In today’s age of technology, most of us take and store more pictures than ever before. Take some time to scroll through your social media over the past year, appreciating the images captured and the ideas you shared. Or, if you are not a big social media person, chances are you have created a feed of memories on your cell phone’s photo storage. Take a walk down memory lane looking at these images- pondering where you were, who you were with, and how you felt at that moment.

    3. Flip back through your calendar: We all (almost all?) keep a log of our recent history. For some of us, that might be in the form of a digital calendar somewhere, and for others, it might still be in a physical paper calendar. By flipping back through the past months and looking at the different appointments you have set or the events marked down, these will act as the perfect prompts for reflection on all you have faced, handled, and accomplished.

    4. Read through some notes: Again, everyone’s paper trail will look different, but we are sure most of us here have one. Whether it is in the form of a journal or diary that you keep, or even in the emails that you have sent, take some time to look back through your past correspondence- even if it is just with yourself in your own notebook. How did you feel at that moment? What was the entry or email in regards to? Was it something significant in your world at the time or something that was simply a part of your daily to-do list?

    There are several ways we can all create a space of reflection for ourselves. Before we officially wrap up 2021 (hello, New Year’s Eve 2022, we see you!), we highly encourage everyone to take a moment to pause and explore how this past year has felt, both in the highs and the lows. In a

    year that has seemed to have flown past in the blink of an eye, we are sure there are several sweet moments to be cherished. Happy reflecting!

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

  • 28 Oct 2021 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    When we launched The League, one of the top professional wishes was mentoring. Many colleagues didn’t know how to find a mentor, especially if their networks were limited, and we created one of our flagship programs for members. Mentor Circles provides a small group the chance to engage with others about varying topics- conversations they might not otherwise consider with participants they might otherwise not encounter. This cornerstone of collaboration and conversation is part of what makes this program so powerful and successful. You might even recall, we shared a blog by League Outcomes Coordinator Lisa Brancheau about our Mentor Circles back in February. Now we hear from participants below. 

    We spoke with a few participants from our past mentor circles who were excited to share some of the reasons they found this program so rewarding and what drove them to participate in it several times over! So, we asked: Why did they participate? What was the best part? What advice would they offer others? And, what was the biggest takeaway for them? While we here at The League might feel the benefits of mentor circles are apparent, we thought it is important to share these perspectives with others who might not be clear on what a mentor circle is or how it can help them professionally.

    The responses to “What made you want to join a mentor circle?” really hit home on just why we think this program can be so valuable for global education professionals. Our participants shared:

    I joined a Mentor Circle on a quest for deeper, intentional career introspection. I was seeking an opportunity that would challenge me to consider my potential professional outlook through guided conversation with other international education colleagues. 

    I can’t remember why I joined the first time (in 2016 or so?), but I was impressed with the women who created The League and thought, why not! Since then, I’ve kept coming back and participating in the Mentoring Circles almost every cycle because I get a lot out of it, and it is not a big commitment. I have met some wonderful people (women mostly), made some good connections, and learned a lot about people and the International Education field.

    I even joined a “Career Connections” mentoring relationship and have made a very good friend from it!

    When asked about the best part of Mentor Circles, their answers were about learning from others’ perspectives and experiences. These connections are really at the heart of what makes this program so impactful, and we are thrilled this effect is prominent within sessions and its outcomes.

    “The absolute best part of the Mentor Circles is the opportunity to connect with other female international education colleagues. The diversity of experience and perspective lent itself to generating rich conversations, which positively impacted my own personal career self-reflection.”

    “It is easy to do, and I have learned so much about different parts of our broad field of International Education and people from different geographic parts of the world. It allows me to travel (virtually) and learn about different perspectives and points of view.”

    We know not everyone might be sold on the idea of Mentor Circles and their positive impact, so we asked our participants what advice they would offer to others thinking about participating in these groups?

    “It is so easy to do and takes so little time, but the rewards are great. The mentor circle coordinators have done a very good job of matching people according to their interests and what stage of their career they are in.”

    “Opening oneself up to vulnerability both internally and externally can be a challenge. The Mentoring Circles are a safe space to have open, honest, difficult, yet constructive conversations that ultimately yield tremendous career clarity. Joining a Mentoring Circle is easily one of the best decisions I made for reinvesting in myself and others.”

    Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we asked participants what their biggest takeaway was from Mentor Circles. 

    “My biggest takeaway was expanding my network to include some of the sharpest and caring individuals looking to elevate themselves and their colleagues. The incredible people in my Mentoring Circle serve as champions and cheerleaders for one another’s success. There are simply no words to describe the high level of empathy, support, and uplift I received from these amazing women.”

    “Joining the Mentor circles has been enriching both personally and professionally! It’s not so much (for me) about the topic of the conversation, whether it’s “negotiation” or “Blazing your career trail” or something else. It is more about meeting and sharing and learning from and mentoring people who value similar things but who may come at it from slightly different perspectives. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment.”

    If you have been on the fence about joining our Mentor Circles program, or have seen our promotions for it but never considered being a part of it, consider this your sign to join! We would love to have you, and we know you will walk away from it with experiences, professional growth, and learning opportunities you might not have otherwise encountered.  

    We want to extend a BIG thank you to those who participated for taking the time to share their experiences and insights about Mentor Circles with us! 

    Learn more and join our next round of Mentor Circles here.

  • 29 Sep 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    While things may not be back to the same, most of us have more than likely acclimated to our new normal by now. For many of us, this new normal may look like working from home full-time or part-time, having the kids home either full-time or part-time or maybe even a completely new job and career. Whatever your recently found day-to-day looks like, we want to ask: are you still taking the time to focus on the forward movement of your career? We know this can feel like an additional burden to carry when you are working hard to just keep your head above water. But we promise, keeping this in consideration could potentially lighten your other workplace burdens.

    If you were to take just 30 minutes to 1 hour a week to devote solely to your professional development, what would you do with this time? There are lots of actions that could provide tremendous results for your professional development. So, let’s talk long-term thinking here for the sake of your career…

    1. Schedule a 30-minute coffee with someone new every week. This could be a key stakeholder for you, a power partner, or even your employees. You never know where sitting down with someone new once a week could take you.

    2. Take time to organize your calendar- and stick to it! How often have you thought, “How could I improve my time-management skills?” Taking the time to manage your time and calendar for the week could be the perfect first step in taking back your time management.

    3. Attend one professional event a week. Again- this can only be for one hour per week. But taking this step to show up and engage with other professionals consistently could potentially open many doors of opportunity.

    4. Talk strategy, mission, engagement goals, etc., with an employee once a week. So many employees feel they are just a cog in the machine and that their ideas are not heard or respected. If you took the time to talk strategy with a different employee every week, who knows what it could do for not only your workplace culture but the forward movement of your organization as a whole.

    5. Take time to write down your goals and ideas. By giving these thoughts and feelings a place to live, it will be much easier to come back and look at them, or even take action on them, than continually thinking to yourself, “What was that good idea again?”

    We know that sometimes this can feel like the last thing you want to do- especially when the kids need help, there is always a pile of laundry or dishes somewhere waiting to be done, and you are probably just all around tired from the other demands of life. But, setting aside this time for yourself to dream big and plan long-term could be the propelling force to move you into the direction you want to go- be that for you personally or for your organization as a whole.

    So, we ask you again, if you were going to set aside just 30 minutes (or an hour!) each week to strategize the big picture, what would you do with that time?

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

  • 27 Aug 2021 10:30 AM | Anonymous

    Here at the Global Leadership League, we focus heavily on the concept of community in our Chat Boxes, blogs, LimeLight Interviews, and association programs. And, as we all know, there are all different forms of community and all different types of communities out there. The beautiful thing about communities is that they cross all boundaries- they are not gender specific, socio-economic specific, or even culturally specific. In our latest blog, we are delighted to share the story of a member of our own League community, Venkata Madhuri Gunti.

    Madhuri comes from Hyderabad, India, and has 11 years of experience in the field of International Education. As a child, she had the opportunity to study and grow up in different states across India, as well as the chance to travel to various countries like Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, and the United States for work. This global exposure helped Madhuri gain a deeper knowledge and understanding about the true value of studying abroad and importance of cross-cultural experiences.

    Working with study abroad students and teaching Intercultural Communication Leadership has helped Madhuri to be adaptable, inclusive, and accepting towards different people, cultures, and communities. The passion to work with different people has led her to volunteer for the Global Leadership League, The Forum for Education Abroad, and AAC&U during lockdown.

    When Madhuri is not working she is busy blogging, running, cycling, singing, gardening, cooking and trekking! We are fortunate she has taken the time to volunteer with us here at the League and to share her story.

    "No disability or dictionary out there, is capable of clearly defining who we are as a person."

    Robert M Hensel

    “It’s Never Late to Learn.” I always admire this quote as it keeps me hungry to learn new things in life. Learning can be any information or can be about yourself. My twin sister and I were born with a congenital facial paralysis. It is a rare congenital neurological condition which primarily affects the muscles that controls the facial expressions and complete eye closure. It is considered as one of the Rare Disorders (RD) - basically there are more than 7,000 Rare Disorders observed in the world.  Recently, I found out that this condition nearly matches with a Rare Disorder called Moebius Syndrome (MS), but we do not fall under that as we do not meet all the criteria which defines the Syndrome, thus it is still considered as congenital facial paralysis. 

    Out of curiosity, I contacted Dr. Kathleen Boghart, who is a successful academic and TEDx Speaker, Health Psychology professor, and part of the Moebius Syndrome Foundation (MSF), and Ms. Vicki McCarrell, Co-founder of the MSF, to learn about the syndrome and the foundation. They welcomed me into the MSF family and accepted my interest to volunteer with them in the future. I want to create awareness and provide, above all, emotional and psychological support to the affected individuals and families in India and abroad. I was surprised to learn that there are 4-5 people excluding us in India who are affected with this particular type of Rare Disorders.

    What does MSF do ?

    The mission of the Moebius Syndrome Foundation is to provide information and support to individuals with Moebius syndrome and their families, promote greater awareness and understanding of Moebius syndrome, and to advocate for scientific research to advance the diagnosis and treatment of Moebius syndrome and its associated conditions.

    Fortunately, my sister and I were blessed to born into a family where we were surrounded with loving and caring parents, siblings, family, and friends who never let us feel that we were different from others. This is one of the reasons I never took an interest to learn about this Rare Disorder in the past. Despite this abundant love, we did face a lot of issues in our childhood, in school, and college. Typically, strangers and people meeting us for the first time, do not know how to react or do not know what a Rare Disorder is. Always that strange look given by some people hurts because they are uneducated and it is impossible to explain to them what it is and they are surprised when they learn this type of Rare Disorder exists.  

    Some show empathy and others sympathy. My sister and I have also faced major difficulty during our careers and marriage. Coming from an Indian society where most of the marriages were/are arranged, my parents faced a lot of challenges to find us a life partner who can understand about this Rare Disorder and can accept us the way we are. Many rejected and some were ready to marry only if we agreed to pay a huge dowry, for which I never agreed. 

    My father, who was my pillar of strength and my mentor, always motivated us to be financially independent and that has made me a strong independent woman who is not ready to give up her choices and freedom just for the sake of marriage. My sister got married and has two beautiful daughters who are the proof that this Rare Disorder is not genetic and that it may or may not pass to the next generation. I have little knowledge about scientific research in this area, but will provide emotional support to the needy as I can totally understand and relate to the pain they have gone through or are undergoing. 

    I am not sure if any serious research or diagnosis is done in India, or maybe I am not aware of it.  After learning about MSF in USA, I am happy to be part of their research & want to work closely with them to spread awareness and to support people by sharing my experiences.

    I want to advocate for individuals with any kind of disability especially women in India who are shy and afraid to stand up for themselves or are worried about being defamed. Raise your voice, love yourself and stand for yourself, the rest will fall in place. 

    Believe in yourself and stay safe, 

    Madhuri

    Global Leadership League members, what are you passionate about? What have you found an unexpected community in your life? Share with us on our social media!

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

  • 28 Jul 2021 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    At the time of writing this blog, the 2021 Olympics are currently in full swing in Tokyo. It is an exciting time of competition, dedication, and patriotism. There is something so electric about watching these athletes compete in their chosen fields, at the height of their prowess, and under our country’s flag.

    1. Be your best self. When these Olympians step up to compete in their fields, they are all truly bringing their A game to the table. The have dedicated their lives to preparing for this exact moment, and you better believe they have done everything in their power to be completely ready. We can do the same in our lives for whatever challenges present themselves to us. Train, practice, and prepare so that when you are called upon to rise to the challenge, you are completely ready to do so.
    2. Be a team player. We are sure you are familiar with the old saying “There is no I in team.” This is true for leadership as well. Even the Olympians who compete in individual sports have a whole team who have supported them, backed them, and helped them get to where they are today. Remember this when you are in a leadership position and it feels like it is all on your shoulders. There are people around you who can help, and who probably want to help. Use your resources and rely on the people who can support you and help you be a better leader.
    3. Put in the work. Show up. Showing up can be the hardest part of just about anything- be relentless in your commitment to showing up. Take the time needed for whatever task you’re faced with and put. in. the. work. It won’t always be easy, but leaders put in the work when necessary and don’t cut corners. We’re sure that Olympians are not cutting any corners in their training and that is what has propelled them to the top of their fields.
    4. Keep your eyes on the prize. Everyone will experience setbacks at some point in their career. But, just like Olympic athletes do, dusting yourself off and recovering as best as you can is what counts. Remember what you are working for, and towards, and what set you on this path in the first place. Hold this passion, and the fire in your stomach that propelled you to this point, close to your heart. When you have trials or setbacks, tap into this passion.
    5. Not being okay is okay. Simone Biles recently set THE example for this. While we live in a world that values physical output, none of that is possible without our mental health being in order. Taking care of your mental health can be just as important as your physical health. And, if you need a breather, do not be afraid to step away. 
    6. Stay hydrated. This one is pretty simple. As humans, our bodies are 60% water. Drink more water!

    The Olympics are an exciting time, and we are thrilled to see all of these talented athletes getting to compete after the delay caused by COVID. Have you been watching the Olympics? What is your favorite sport to watch? Let us know on our social!

    The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.

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