So why did I choose to become part of Leaders In Liberia 2017?
It all begins two years ago when I met my coach David Taylor. At that time he was sharing his ideas around leadership based on his experience visiting Liberia in 2014, on the same trip as Simon Crowe.
I remember being blown away by his stories of the young girls he met at More Than Me School, stories of who they wanted to BE when they grew up, not what they wanted to HAVE.
I am familiar with the challenge of living in a world where the focus can be on what we have, rather than how we show up, as a very proud mum, to a 14 year old girl, one of my biggest missions as a parent is to show her that who she is has more value than what she has.
Hearing these stories that David shared I knew I needed to visit this school. I remember sharing with David that I felt that sometime, over the next year, I would go to Africa. I had no idea how that would be possible given my situation at that time and yet now, only 2 years on, I am going!
Between the time I had that conversation with David and him introducing me to Simon I had a ‘big idea’ of my own. I want to connect young women in other parts of the world with young women from the UK through letter writing.
I want to develop a conversation between them about what it is like to grow up as a young girl in their country, sharing their very different challenges, hearing different perspectives on those challenges.
Over the last couple of years I have had false starts with various schools, created connections and then lost them, leaned in to my edge by writing my own letters to people on a parallel journey and also mentoring young women in the UK to develop my understanding of where they are at now. I have made progress and also had distractions, but the idea always stayed in my mind.
When David mentioned Simon and his mission to me, I knew immediately that this was how it would truly begin. I would be visiting schools, I would be able to create connections with those girls myself, I would be able to bring back letters, pictures, answers to questions and I would be able to share those with the schools I am now connected with over here.
When I spoke with Simon for the first time I knew that, whilst we are different people, we are aligned in values and connected on the principle of leading through service. It has been a leap of faith on both sides and yet we have found a way to work together, focused on the vision that Simon has for Leadership in Liberia.
In a couple of weeks we travel to Liberia to agree the itinerary for the main trip in February 2017, to plan a schedule that will test, stretch and expand the leaders that we take with us.
It’s safe to say I am both scared and excited, a beautiful space to live in, when you truly want to live!
This is my first visit to Liberia (to Africa!) and I have all kinds of thoughts buzzing round in my head. The leadership within me is already being tested and stretched, and that is what this trip is all about for its participants – discovering the true leader within yourself.
Thanks to Simon (and David!) I am not only participating on this amazing journey, I am honoured to be supporting the creation of it.
Interested in joining Leaders in Liberia? Then click HERE