Women’s Leadership Circle
GGC’s Women’s Leadership Circle is a transformative learning program, a national conversation, and a growing network of inspiring mentors and role models for Canadian girls and women. Its purpose is to catalyze personal and cultural change in support of girls and women, so they can reach their full potential as leaders and citizens.
Authenticity, integrity and courage are the key themes of the Circle. Our belief is that true leadership begins with a solid sense of self. Armed with self-awareness and a clear sense of their values, leaders can say “my inner truth is the rudder for the choices I make about my life – about the work I do and how I do it, about the relationships I enter into and how I conduct them.”
The program is made up of five components: a residential retreat, action learning in support of personal and leadership goals, ongoing mentorship, peer support and ‘paying it forward’ to other Canadian girls and women. During the four-month program, inspiring women from across Canada explore the nature of women’s leadership, the kind of leaders our world needs right now and how they can each serve as catalysts for positive change.
MEET THE 2019 WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP CIRCLE COHORT
This fall, twenty-eight women from across Canada, committed to developing themselves as leaders and making a difference in the world, attended the Women’s Leadership Circle retreat weekend at the Ecology Retreat Centre in Hockley Valley, Ontario. Meet the group and read their inspirational perspectives on our world’s leadership needs.
Alana from Alberta
Cassey from Alberta
Given the current state of leadership in the world, I believe the focus should be on how we develop leaders in our communities. Everyone has the potential to become a great leader and as members and leaders in our own respective communities, it is important for us to nurture that potential in a supportive manner. To achieve a sustainable future on an international scale, the world needs leaders who are inclusive, diverse, understanding, respectful, team-oriented and more.
Overall, the leaders that we “need” are the world citizens that can adapt and learn from the leaders around them. Anyone can be a leader. But it takes community to support leadership development.
Dena from Alberta
When leaders share the same characteristics as the people in the community, it’s easier for followers to see them as people and not just figureheads. The four basic traits humans seek in their leaders are trust, compassion, stability and hope. The leaders of today need these four traits in order to provide quality leadership. When well-rounded leaders come together with their own strengths and skill sets, they create a powerful leadership team that can help to tackle the serious issues our world is facing today.
Emily C from Ontario
Emily L from Manitoba
The world needs leaders who aren’t afraid to listen to opposing views. We need leaders who can differentiate between their individual beliefs and feelings, and what is right and beneficial for the majority. A good leader should not be afraid to step over lines drawn in the sand in order to make positive impact. With so many constructed binaries, party lines and opposing views, the world needs leaders that can step back and understand what will help the most people. A good leader should not make decisions because of headlines or social pressures, but because she knows it is the right choice. The world needs leaders who have a strong moral compass but also practice compromise and compassion.
Emma from British Columbia
Evangeline from Alberta
More than ever, I believe the world’s future leaders need to be compassionate, kind and unafraid to step up and be vulnerable. Too often, I feel that our leaders try to appear tough, indestructible and omniscient because they think these qualities define a good leader. But leaders need to be curious, ask questions and be empathetic to issues that others are experiencing in order to tackle the many complex problems that we are facing today. Only then will they truly be able to serve people, gain trust and provide hope and stability to those they are trying to lead.
Hannah from Nova Scotia
We could always use a little more kindness, compassion, and empathy in the world. If more leaders were caring and considerate of others and the planet, the world would be a happier and healthier place. With the threat of the climate crisis looming overhead, it’s imperative that leaders care not only for other humans, but other species and the planet as a whole. If the leaders of the earth care for the earth, the earth will take care of us in return. As Dr Seuss says in his celebrated book The Lorax, 'Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.' We need to start caring about our beautiful planet by demonstrating environmental empathy. If the leaders of today are kind and gentle, we can ensure that there is still a world left for us to lead.
Helen from Alberta
We have entered an angry marketplace of ideas where leadership is rated by smugly superior Twitter “hot-takes” instead of collaborative dialogue. More than ever our world needs solutions-oriented leaders who can push past the 240-character limit and use the social media tools that now divide us to listen with an open mind and communicate honestly.
It is easy to critique the ideas of others and point out every flaw in the solutions they propose. Algorithms that create political echo chambers are a real threat to social progress. They can only be countered by a fierce commitment to honest debate and collaboration. That will take courageous leaders who are focused on solving problems instead of simply pointing them out.
Holly from Ontario
Kailyn from British Columbia
Our rapidly changing world needs a new kind of leadership. We need leaders who can evolve as quickly as the conditions we are facing and take on challenges our world has never seen before. We need diverse leaders who want to collaborate both with each other and with the people they are leading. We need compassionate and open-hearted leaders who know when they have something important to contribute and when new voices should be brought to the table. Our world needs leadership that prioritizes bringing people together - we are always stronger when we are united.
Lady Vanessa from New Brunswick
Lauren from Saskatchewan
Loren from Quebec
There is a lot of chaos in our world today and unfortunately, the people leading and responding to that chaos are not always up to the task. Many are self-focused and prey on fear and distrust.
The world needs leaders that understand and listen to people's needs. Leaders that will try their best to embrace the changes happening in the world around us and think outside the box for solutions while not forsaking their integrity and values. Trustworthy leaders who are authentic and don’t put others down to build themselves up. We need leaders who give people hope for an uncertain future and who use our trust for good.
Although it may be impossible to find the 'perfect' leader, each of us can try to be the leader our families, communities and country need.
Lucy from Nova Scotia
Mackenzie F from Newfoundland and Labrador
As leaders, we can support women and girls in our communities simply by just being there to listen. Sometimes we don’t see the challenges women and girls face because we don’t take the time, one-on-one, to truly listen. Before we can fully support anyone, we need to listen to their story and understand their point of view. Then, together we can think of solutions. As a leader I always tell my team members to come and talk to me when they need help. I believe a leader is a team member on the same level as everyone else. Being an approachable person that women and girls can talk to allows you face any issue together. As women and girls, we can do anything. The future is female!
Mackenzie G from Ontario
We can support women and girls in our communities by empowering them to work towards their leadership goals. Female leaders in the community can reach out to women and girls to show them that it’s possible to achieve their goals. It's important and inspiring for girls and women to see themselves in their leaders - it shows them that they can be in that position too. Female empowerment is crucial for the future of women's leadership.
Madison from Saskatchewan
The leadership I want to see in the world is balanced, diverse and vibrant. We are in the midst of a shift in which voices that were previously diminished are rising to the surface. We need this shift to continue in order to see the true breadth of what leadership can be. Can leaders be powerful and gentle at the same time? Can they be emotional and sensitive and still be taken seriously? Can they listen as much as (if not more) than they speak? Can they fail and falter? I think the answer to these questions has to be yes going forward, and I hope that questioning and broadening our definition of leadership will create the space for diverse leadership to shine and serve our communities.
Maia from Manitoba
Nicole from Ontario
We need leaders who are willing to ask difficult questions. More importantly, we need leaders who are willing to listen attentively to the answers provided; and to listen without judgement. Too often, leaders are quick to dismiss ideas that have not been tried before or ideas they deem too far outside of the box. Instead, new ideas should be encouraged. When a leader brings together a diverse team dedicated to realizing a new solution, it creates an environment of innovation and growth. When leaders implement design thinking and welcome of creativity, communities grow stronger.
Quinn from Nova Scotia
Renée from Ontario
Our world needs leaders with respect and genuine compassion towards others; as Brené Brown says, “who you are is how you lead”. Women and girls globally need leaders that live and lead with hope and optimism. We need to work collectively to challenge the status quo of what an ideal leader looks like. It’s time to empower diverse leaders because everyone can lead in different ways.
Roxanne from Nova Scotia
Women supporting women is, I believe, the best way to support the girls in our communities. In Girl Guides, this can be anything from being a leader in a unit, working on committees, or volunteering and lending a helping hand. As women, putting ourselves in positions of leadership can influence and motivate the other women and younger girls around us. Taking these leadership skills beyond Guiding into our own personal lives is when Girl Guides achieves its mission of being a catalyst for girls empowering girls.
Shelan from Manitoba
Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Diverse leaders make strong teams. While each leadership style has its strengths and weaknesses, we need to think about the type of leaders we want for our world – innovators, relators, decision-makers are a few. By exploring our leadership intentions and the values we hold, we can work to develop our strengths and exercise them in the world. Strong leaders celebrate the strengths of others and provide them with opportunities to grow. Leading through example, displaying confidence in our people and providing encouragement are ways we can all empower future leaders.
Sierra from Ontario
Sydney from Manitoba
I think our world needs leaders who are prepared to listen and care for people from all walks of life. It’s easy to get comfortable leading and working with people similar to us, but strong leaders care for people as a whole. They need to be brave enough to be vulnerable and step outside of their comfort zone. Showing vulnerability and a willingness to change inspires trust in others. Leaders need to remember that they are people too, and sometimes the simplicity of showing others that you are human is the most important piece of the puzzle.
Valerie from Ontario
Wasiimah from New Brunswick