The program is facilitated by Kelly Bates, President, and Aba Taylor, Racial Equity & Training Practice Lead of Interaction Institute for Social Change, two women of color leaders with a combined 45 years of experience in advocacy, civic engagement, education, and advancing social justice. This project, originally conceived by Natanja Craig, Andrea Madu, and Stephanie Guidry of the Boston Foundation, is inspired by two groundbreaking women of color leaders: Anna Faith Jones and Frieda Garcia. In the 1990s, they led the Boston Foundation as the CEO and Board Chair and were the first women of color to occupy those roles in our foundation’s history. The Women of Color Leadership Circle is inspired by the close partnership, vision, friendship, and legacy of these two incredible leaders. We stand on the shoulders of giants and these trailblazing women have paved the way for women of color within our sector.
The WOC Leadership Circle is a six-month cohort program that aims to support women of color leaders to advance their professional development and leadership goals. Through the program, 15 women of color leaders participate in six monthly facilitated sessions focused around topics of interest and areas of professional development and leadership. The program aims to honor the leadership, strength, and resilience of women of color who do incredible work within their communities and provide them with a cherished space to share challenges and opportunities.
The Women of Color Leadership Circle aims to:
*We are committed to supporting communities and individuals historically excluded from institutional philanthropy – including, but not limited to LGBTQIA people, immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities. As such, we strongly encourage applications from individuals who identify with these groups and/or other marginalized communities.
**We define “leadership position” as a role where an individual has decision-making power to establish and influence organizational strategy, vision, and direction, and manages staff/volunteers, budget in collaboration with a governance body.
In this session, participants have an opportunity to form deep bonds of connection through storytelling and to create agreements and principles for developing and transforming their relationships through trust-building and a heart-centered mindset. They share their leadership journeys and generate goals for their participation in the cohort with the support of guided meditation and other inner awareness practices.
In this session, participants learn practical wisdom for leadership through an equity and transformational lens, using peer sharing and cases to support the evolution of their approaches to leadership.
In this session, participants explore how to create a regenerative work environment that is supportive of their leadership and gifts. They learn how to set healthy boundaries in their work and negotiate terms that support their leadership in areas such as salary, time off, benefits, and other needs.
Participants learn to prioritize their spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional health and growth. They are introduced to various forms of inner awareness, self-care, and healing practices to create joy, peace, resiliency, and connection in their lives.
Participants learn ways to find and honor their true identity and strengths as women, to transform their shame into power, and to firmly own their unique experiences and narrative unapologetically.
In this last session, participants each share their leadership visions going forward and support and celebrate their journey in the cohort together.