The local women leaders, known as the Country Conveners, convened a Conversation Circle of six to ten women in their villages or cities who are interested in enhancing their leadership competence. The Conveners facilitated a Conversation with these women – creating a safe space to talk about what really matters to them. The focus of the first Conversation was to talk together about ways they are contributing to their communities, about leadership abilities they have developed and wish to develop.
What do you care about in your community and in what projects have you participated?
The intention of this initial question was to draw out the ways that those in the Conversation Circle have engaged in their community (or organization, family, etc.), affirming that they have contributed to the greater good in important ways, whether or not they consider themselves “leaders.” This question also opened up the diversity of ways that women have contributed to issues around the world.
As you have engaged in this work, what skills have you used?
This question provided the opportunity for the Country Convener to engage the group in recognizing and naming the skills these women possess and have used. As we remind ourselves often in our Kitchen Cabinet work – this project is all about learning, and that learning happens at every step of the way for every individual.
What additional skills or knowledge would you like to gain?
This next question builds on the recognition that every woman in the circle has skills – and perhaps wants to develop more skills or more knowledge or more confidence. The purpose of this question was to elicit ideas from the women about the skills they wish to build on and improve, so that they could further serve their community and increase their influence on the projects that are meaningful to them.
How do you imagine you might develop these skills?
Inherent in this question is the need for each woman to create a vision for how she will move forward on her leadership journey. It is a reminder that, while some learning may be gained from outside the culture, these women – alone, together and within their culture – can access resources and strategies that best enhance their leadership skills.