The Power of the Early Leadership Toolkit Training



Participants go through an experiential exercise to demonstrate Direction, Alignment, & Commitment.

*This post was submitted by Frances Deckert.

Having the opportunity to participate in the Early Leadership Toolkit Train-the-Trainer Program was a great opportunity to apply the knowledge that I had gained at the Essential Leadership Program at The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).  In addition to sharing the CCL research-based leadership models the trainers, Marin Burton and Laura Weber, demonstrated different techniques of teaching. The Early Leadership Toolkit uses experiential education as the primary methodology for teaching the content. The experiential exercises were great chances to teach content and guide the participant in

“learning by doing.”

The facilitators pointed out that debriefing an experiential activity is even more important than the activity itself. I received great examples of how to execute debriefing sessions, even although it is the trickiest part to do.

Besides the input by the facilitators, I also learned from the experiences of the other participants. The participants were a great mixture of CCL staff, a professor from ICESI Universidad in Columbia, a consultant, prevention specialists from Children’s Home Society of NC, staff from FlameBuilders as well as a staff member from Communities in School Durham. They created an environment that helped make the group feel very comfortable to open up and share personal stories. These stories further added to the learning experience. After discussing and experiencing different CCL leadership development models, it was our turn to prepare a learning design and then present in front of the classroom. Again, we learned from each other, either we did something well or found skills we need to improve upon. I learned once again, that applying theory in reality is not as easy as it sounds.

The Early Leadership Toolkit Training gave me more confidence in facilitating in front of an audience providing them with a great experience. I just have to keep in mind that each audience has its own needs and that it is okay to not have all the answers.

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Meet A Change Maker: Tsegga Medhin

“(Women) need to continue pushing and really be visible and sit at the table.  If there is no table we need to create our own table…”
– Tsegga Medhin

Meet Change Maker, Tsegga Medhin, Executive Director of The Pearl Leadership Institute.

Tsegga is a recipient of the 2013 Women in Service Award and the US Presidential Volunteer Gold Award from Presidents Obama and Bush.  She visited the Center for Creative Leadership’s Greensboro, NC campus to learn about our global efforts in developing women leaders.

In a conversation with Janet Carlson, Project Director, Leadership Beyond Boundaries, Tsegga shares her insights to the following questions: what inspired her to work with women and young girls; what are the 3 most pressing leadership challenges facing women and young girls; in what ways are these challenges universal versus being unique to certain cultures or regions; what are the contributions women have made to leadership; and how she views future collaborations with the Center for Creative Leadership.

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Story of the Week from East Africa


As part of our effort to intensify the development of LBB staff in the Ethiopian office we received help from an experienced coach from the United States. John Harvey donated a week of his time and spend it coaching our team. The focus of the coaching was around the concept of leading self and others and based on the coach’s approach to work from the inside out.

John used various modules, perspectives and experiences to connect own values to inspire collective action and work towards sustainable change and transition impacting our staff greatly. The team is very sad to see him leave but thankful for his contribution and creative approach to coaching.

We wish John the best of luck for his work in the USA that he noted will now be uniquely influenced by his visit to Ethiopia.

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Meena Wilson To Head Genpact Center for Women’s Leadership

We’re proud that former Center for Creative Leadership and Leadership Beyond Boundaries’ colleague Meena Wilson has been appointed to head up the Genpact Center for Women’s Leadership.

Click here to read press release from

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Want to Integrate Leadership Lessons into the School Curriculum, Ask Teachers!

*This post was submitted by Laura Weber.

What happens when you give teachers the freedom to use their expertise and exercise their passions? The answer is – amazing things. The Center for Creative (CCL) through the Leadership Beyond Boundaries (LBB) team had the honor of working with teachers and administrators from Chapin High School. Located in Chapin, SC, the high school has created an Academic Leadership Academy (ALA) to help high school students in their growth and development as leaders in their school and community.

LBB provided a 2-day Leadership Essentials Training to faculty who teach students in the ALA program and provided an Early Leadership Toolkit.  The Toolkit has 20 modules of leadership content, some of which are CCL’s research-based content.  From there, it was a combination of inspiration, creative and hard work that resulted in teachers weaving leadership lessons from the Toolkit into the core curriculum. The short video above highlights two of the teachers, Amy Carter and Dawn Weathersbee as they share their experiences.

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Story of the Week from CCL East Africa

Leadership Beyond Boundaries held a three-day staff development program facilitated by Steadman Harrison at our office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The program was aimed at building the facilitation capacity of The Center for Creative Leadership’s staff members, associates and prospective clients. A total of 26 individuals from various countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States took part in this program.

The program was unique in that self-exploration that transcended cross-cultural differences and experiences sharing took place. At the end of the program all participants were able to draw and share with each other a self-development strategy employing various tools including leadership explorers, FIRO-B and MBTI.

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The Importance of Young Women’s Leadership: Our Story with Girl Scouts


Val working on a school project, age 10

– This post was submitted by Val Swan

I was once, not too long ago, a little girl with big dreams. I wanted to be the first female president, then first female professional baseball player. Before long I wanted to live in a van down by the river as a motivational speaker, a la Chris Farley’s character on Saturday Night Live. :) I was a young, entrepreneurial Alex P. Keaton, standing behind my bookcase in our family room during birthday parties and holiday gatherings selling my painted rocks, homemade potholders, and other wares to my Grandmother (bless her heart!) and any other poor soul who walked by. I loved my nerdy life, intellectually curious about everything, a voracious reader who won a readathon one year and received a personal congratulatory letter from the NY State Governor for reading in the bookstore window for over 12 hours straight (I’m not at all bitter that the following year my best friend won the same contest and a trip to Disney World!).


Val (on left) and her friend at Girl Scout camp

I attempted to concoct the cure for cancer out of corn starch and food coloring in tree stump holes in my backyard to help save my dying Uncle John, and started writing one of my great American novels at age 8. I loved the dorky clothes I wore, crazy and colorful and matchy. I loved school and learning, finding 4-leaf clovers, climbing trees, and going to camp. I was a happy, thriving young girl. Around age 11, things changed. It didn’t help that I got diagnosed with an incurable chronic illness (Crohn’s Disease) at that time too- I can still feel the pit in my stomach riding the school bus home after my best friends “dumped” me via a note. Dejected and spirit dampened, I started pushing down my talents, not doing as excellently at school because I worried about what the boy behind me thought, and essentially “sold out” to become popular. I hid my true self to fit in. Despite the fact that I was afforded every opportunity with an incredible family and education, I still faltered, and it has taken a long time for me to reclaim my confidence in that awesome and unique young woman.

Psychologist JoAnn Deak, PhD and author of the books How Girls Thrive and Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters, calls this phenomenon the “3o-year power outage,” where young women go from confident and strong to dimming their lights that may not emerge again for decades. Girls feel the biggest pull to conform during adolescence, referred to as camouflaging, a term Dr. Deak coined to describe the practice of tweaking how one looks and acts to fit in with peers.¹


The Young Women’s Leadership Institute held at the Center for Creative Leadership

I share with you some of my personal journey because it illustrates the important work we are doing now for young women at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), work that I am passionate about because of my story and YOUR story, knowing we need to do much more to support our girls who are going through some of the same struggles or worse that I did. You or a woman close to you has a story like this, vividly recalled, many carried deep into adulthood- Rachel Simmons’s work Odd Girl Speaks Out documents this. We talk about bringing our whole selves to the work we do here, and through this program I have tapped into work and themes that are personally important for me to reinforce so I can be a role model for other young women, one that I wish I had had growing up.


The authors, Sarah and Val, with their new paper

We are so proud to release this new paper zooming in on our work with Girl Scouts in North Carolina these past few years. In it we outline the importance of young women’s leadership in supporting girls and strengthening our communities and world. Studies have shown that girls experience a dramatic drop in confidence at the onset of adolescence. CCL has demonstrated powerful results with our research-driven early leadership development work for young women. In 2014 and 2015, CCL collaborated with local Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont council to develop customized programming for 100 middle and high school-aged young women called the Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI). The programs are focused on our four themes of authenticity, self-clarity, connection, and agency, which help girls to understand themselves and others, learn how to handle difficult situations, and build courage and confidence in themselves as leaders. We hear directly from the girls on the impact of this work and make a strong case for robust growth and support of this initiative and others like it.

GS normal

Thanks for your support of this work and the young women in your life!
Click here to read the full white paper.


¹Henriquez, Jessica Ciencin (Jan. 8, 2016). The Strange Phenomenon That’s Preventing Girls From Reaching Their Dreams. Teen Vogue.
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