Report date
July 2021
Learning Log

My leadership growth during my fellowship has no traceable pattern, rather it has been exploded, stalled, or floated in space. I've noticed a high degree of willingness to be influenced by those I admire and an overt intention to influence others...either to mitigate or inspire others. Although committed to authentic expression, I am a little surprised to see/hear in-depth sharing with my cultural elders/coach about family and personal grievances and struggle. I wept with my cultural mothers about filial heartache and career obstacles and structural racism in my workplace. Perhaps, because I see and experience all these matters ecologically and as one continuous fabric of my life...I felt comfortable and comforted by sharing feelings of abandonment and invisibility by both my immediate family and organization. Leadership through mourning of lost family, lost opportunities, and lost connections with people and ideas I loved. That has been shocking to me, the degree of fortitude and conviction to lead born from displacement and "failure." I expected the crux of leadership development to come from centering and anchoring of values, from deep self definition and renewal. However, it's been the devastation of solid career trajectory and cultural belonging that has evolved my leadership. Certainly, I've always salvaged and exploited adversity for growth and evolution but in the last greatest leadership capabilities are the result of existential and professional rejection. After going for an executive position that I am supremely qualified for and not getting it, I'm creating serenity through a form of personal reparations. There is much I can not control or change, but within my reigns and rights, I'm solely dedicating myself not only to the equitable progress of oppressed communities but to the treatment of me by powerful systems.
Beyond the convoluted path behind me, I've zoned in intensely on my people's history and family story. Last week, I stayed in Eau Claire for essentially the entire week. Never would I imagine renting a "vacation" home in the city I grew up in but going back this time was profoundly different. My parents, spouse, sibling, and children joined me and for the first time I felt like Eau Claire was home again. Precisely, because it has changed so much through the years, I could appreciate how it nurtured me and my family. The downtown was revitalized to be walkable with mixed use design, a farmer's market, and most of all sense of cultural equity by design. I still can't place it but staying there for that amount of time and in this manner helped me see not only my past but future. I didn't expect to ever clarify or affirm my future by being in a town I've largely resented and transcended. My fellowship has been supported dedicated time and energy with ancestors...ancient and recent. The most profound experience was visiting Lakeview Cementary. While my 1year old was with her mother in the car being nursed, I took my 5 year old (Ishii) to walk on the grounds. My parents took me to a sparse isle near the road. The walked over an lush grassy spot and said this is the lot they selected to be buried in together. It was an eerie and strangely beautiful moment to be standing and talking with them directly above the grounds where they will go to rest forever. We held hands, even took photos, and I tried to weave in small talk to break my inner tension. The juxtaposition of their living bodies and burial grounds made me realize how urgent my life and leadership remains. Later on, my daughter would go on to make a toast(with water of course) that will stay with me forever. Ishii raised a glass and said, " To our ancestors...who are all counting on us!" I cherish her energy and witness of these days and moments together. I am learning leadership through my children and parent's aspirations. Skill will arrive but I'm savoring wisdom.