Written by: Tolu Ilelaboye
Close your eyes and think about this question: what does a leader look like? Is this person male or female? What is their background? How old are they? If there is one thing that you could take away from the Leadership Winnipeg discussions on October 21st it is this: Leadership does not look like any one person. It is not restricted by race, class, age, or sex. It is not governed by career or life choices. And it rarely, if ever, is a solo role.
Between Cindy Tugwell, Michael Redhead Champagne, Mariette Mulaire, and David Johnston, the idea of what a leader is currently doing and has the potential to do is limitless. What these four community leaders prove is that regardless of the communities you identify with and what you are doing to strengthen these comm, you can be a leader. These local community leaders each have their own stories of how they got to where they are but all were there speaking to the group about the same topic. That is, their histories do not impact how they are perceived in the community – as leaders and role models in Winnipeg.
Photo courtesy of Michael Champagne (@northendmc)
What was particularity interesting was that regardless of the field they were currently working in, there were some common themes that they each identified in their understanding of leadership:
1.No one person is a leader. It takes a team of people.
2.Reciprocity is key to community development.
3.Keep an open mind and be willing to try things that may challenge you in new ways.
4.Don’t worry about the potential to fail and continue to push the envelope of opportunities.
If you were walking down the street, today, you might recognize Cindy, Michael, Mariette, or David because they have been in the news, on TV, or speaking at an event that you went to. However, what is to say that you aren’t currently sitting beside another community leader who just happens to be amazing at what they are doing. What’s to say that you aren’t a community leader in your own right? Nothing, because a leader by any other name – Doug, Zainab, Alana, Tolu – is still a leader.