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Denver Hosts Leadership-Diversity Workshop

Posted on July 1, 2019, by Sally Maresh CoL

From left, workshop presenters Jean East and Francesca Galarraga smile for the camera.
Photo by Anna Koop

Since the Denver Center closed, Loretto has held a variety of opportunities for community gatherings. May 18 we gathered at Havern to hear Jean East ask us to realize that the electromagnetic field of our heart is 60 times greater than our brains, indicating the power of love over fear. It was a full-day workshop on leadership organized by Loretto Outreach, Loretto Women’s Network and Denver Activities, a local Loretto committee. The workshop, entitled “Leadership for Life — Engaging our Sacred Center: Head, Heart and Soul,” was developed and presented by Jean and Francesca Galarraga, a specialist in privilege and inclusivity and their impact on leadership. Twenty-five Loretto members from the Denver Community and guests attended.

Each of us is a leader in one realm or another and has been influenced at every level of our lives by good and bad leaders. The presenters discussed self-discovery, identifying our strengths in strategic thinking (analysis, ideation, strategy), relationship building (adaptability, empathy, inclusiveness, positivity), influence (activation, communications, competition, significance) and execution (achievement, belief, consistency, discipline, focus, responsibility).

The presenters discussed self-discovery, identifying our strengths in strategic thinking relationship building, influence and execution.

Jean led the group through a paradigm of engaging head, heart and soul by knowing ourselves and developing the ability to engage with others through meaningful and courageous conversation.

Relationships we develop with ourselves, other people, our communities and world

Jean discussed the relationships we develop with ourselves, with other people in our lives, with our communities and our world. Each of these is influenced by the engagement of our heads, hearts and souls. Our lives are influenced by personal symbols of our being that allow us to stay centered and embrace our vulnerabilities. Through this awareness and being present, we become resilient as we interact and negotiate with the world.

Cultural influences

Galarraga discussed our cultural influences, such as familial status and composition, culture, sex, gender identity and socioeconomic class, which may have shaped our relationships, especially those as leaders and by leaders. Each person paired with someone else and discussed the influences on our personal cultural programming. Galarraga showed how oppressive leadership becomes ineffective and ultimately determines success or failure.  Participants discussed the practice of “anti-oppressive leadership,” by helping to define oppression, the dynamics of power, privilege and hierarchy within groups. The group discussed what anti-oppressive leadership looks like in practice, including transformational leadership and multicultural leadership. Participants engaged in an exercise of confronting ways in which society privileges some individuals over others. The exercise was designed to help participants reflect on areas in their lives that may show privilege. The group then discussed what feeling this realization evokes, and how it currently influences our interactions with others.

Participants were most favorable in our evaluation. Outreach plans local follow-up and making this program available in other Loretto regions.


Sally Maresh CoL

Sally Maresh CoL resides in Denver.
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