August 18 2017-Elise Willer-Concord,MA

August 18 2017-Elise Willer-Concord,MA

One of the unexpected benefits of this summer has been, hands down, the community of people within which I find myself. I have met some of the most genuine, intentional, and awesome people.  For me, its been an excellent reminder that life is so much sweeter when you surround yourself with people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself you can be.

There is one group of people who I have found to be both incredibly inspiring and supportive. In the spring, I was invited to join a group of about 16 people for a weekend-long retreat titled Rising Practitioners Conference. The weekend was designed to connect rising professionals drawn to transformational leadership development, organizational effectiveness, and social entrepreneurship. I was a little unsure what the weekend would bring but I agreed to attend and it proved to be the perfect combination of people, reflection, conversation, growth, and promise of future respected colleagues and friends. The Insight Fellowship started three short weeks later and the group has been just amazing providing me with support, encouragement, social activities, and opportunities for collaboration.

Yesterday was one of those days!

There are a couple of firms in the Boston area who deliver similar content to that of Insight Partners/Collaborative. Many of the firms were started by the “Grandparents” of negotiation at the Harvard Negotiation Project or their “children” (ie the people who studied with them directly). To continue with the family metaphor, this means that I have a whole host of “cousin” trainers at other firms. One of my “cousins”, happens to have also been invited to the Rising Practitioners Conference. Since the conference, I’ve joined Jayne and some of her fellow colleagues at least once a month for a practice session delivering content. These practice sessions have been great opportunities to deepen my understanding of concepts we teach, and play around with different ways to motivate groups of people.

Yesterday, we were invited (by yet another Rising Practitioner) to co-lead a half-day training with orientation leaders for the incoming class of Harvard Masters in Public Policy students. The Orientation Leaders are responsible for leading a variety of activities and conversations during Orientation but perhaps one of the hardest will be on diversity and inclusion. The school utilizes a variety of exercises that highlight diversity within the program and they often result in really difficult conversations about race, gender, sexuality, privilege, and politics.  It goes without saying that this year’s conversations have the potential to be particularly challenging given the divisive state of the country and corresponding raw emotions.  Jayne and I were brought in to help prepare the Orientation Leaders for facilitating these types of difficult conversations.

From preparation to evaluation- working with Jayne was just a treat and it has me so eager for potential trainings to come! It makes me a bit sad to think that in a few weeks I’ll be leaving the Boston area, Jayne, and the community that I’ve created but I remain eternally grateful for their friendship, advise, our shared experience, and I am ever hopeful that our paths will continue to meet. I have a feeling these bittersweet feelings of saying goodbye to amazing people is going to become a common theme.

 

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