Shine the Light on Leadership – Blog Post by Alex Moore
I feel extremely fortunate that I have been able to attend DNA’s Shine the Light series several times in the past few years. Those of us that go to professional development workshops and industry trainings know these fall into two categories: amazingly insightful and therefore invigorating/empowering OR “I’m only here because I have to be.” Shine the Light workshops are, without fail, always in the former category.
The most recent Shine the Light workshop I attended focused on vibrancy and highlighted a number of themes including communication, workplace toxicity, company culture, and staff engagement. But at the end of the day, what this and the other Shine the Light workshops I have attended have truly been about is how to be a great leader, and the answer is unexpected.
As the title suggests, Shine the Light promotes itself as a way for nonprofit leaders to shine their light and improve the nonprofits they work for. However, let me propose another interpretation of the creative “Shine the Light” title. Instead of someone shining their own light, what if what DNA has created is a light to be shone on what is necessary for nonprofits to be successful in accomplishing their missions? I must admit that when I go to these events, quite often I feel it’s an eye-opening experience but maybe not in the way one would assume. It causes introspection, an internal shining of the light. How is my organization doing in these areas? Where can we improve? What if shining the light really means exposing vulnerabilities?
Good! I am a huge follower of Brene Brown and her work on The Power of Vulnerability. I do not want to oversimplify Dr. Brown’s work, but what I have taken from it is that essentially, people who are willing to be vulnerable and examine their flaws live more fulfilling lives and also have a more positive impact on others. This rang true to me when at this year’s first Shine the Light workshop, Jovian Zayne talked about how true leaders are secure in themselves. Good leaders have the self-confidence to allow themselves to be vulnerable. And again, I heard this theme echoed at the Vibrancy workshop.
In the nonprofit industry, it’s all about connections; connections to the people we help, connections with other nonprofits to better serve the community, connecting staff to the mission and each other to insure a productive team, the list goes on. I believe to truly connect with someone you have to be honest and open and yes, maybe even vulnerable. It’s really uncomfortable for a lot of people, but it just keeps proving true for me and when I go to workshops like this, the idea is continually reinforced.
Shine the Light does exactly what its title says; it shines light on the dangers of what can happen when you lose focus on your mission. It is by no means a cautionary event and that’s not the theme nor the atmosphere of the workshops. However, it “shines the light” on great things and ideas and therefore exposes faults… And that is a great thing.
Alex Moore is from Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated from Wofford College with a double major in Spanish and Government and a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She began at CommunityWorks as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2012 to help build the capacity of the organization. Alex currently works as the Community Outreach Coordinator for CommunityWorks and the newly founded CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union to grow its membership and promote financial capability in Greenville. Additionally, she manages CW’s marketing and outreach efforts to better serve the community.