If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” — an African proverb
I love this quote in spite of its unknown origins and somewhat vague reference to an entire continent rather than a specific person, country or culture. I like it because it is one of my core beliefs. People need each other. We hunger for connection. We do better when we work together. We are meant to exist in groups and can accomplish so much more in teams than we ever could on our own. For many of us, myself included, it is simply way more fun!
That is why, as a consultant, I am constantly seeking people with whom to partner. When I work with a school or other educational organization, I consider our time together co-creative and hopefully mutually beneficial. I look for organizations not only to hire me to add value to their work, but who truly want to share power, responsibility, and rewards. I serve on boards of organizations I believe in so I can feel part of something greater than my own individual company.
I would like to highlight two particular partners in this post. The first is the board of the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN), an organization whose mission is “transformative teaching and learning in an interconnected world.” Chairing this board is a rich, rewarding, exciting endeavor, even when we are wrestling with challenging issues and moving into uncharted territory. All of the board members are engaged, hard-working people with full time jobs and busy lives, yet they volunteer their time to attend meetings, create strategic plans, work out minute details of budgeting and finance, and manage to have a good time doing it! I am so grateful to know each and every one of them, and to chair the board during this time of tremendous growth. Though I have a title, we function with a shared leadership model and as a true team. I look forward to the annual Winter Institute for program directors and administrators, Summer Institute for classroom teachers, and our new initiatives for regional meetings and an international institute. In all of these cases, we partner with local schools and community organizations to create our offerings.
The second is World Leadership School, an organization that seeks to “empower young leaders to find innovative solutions to the world’s pressing problems, by partnering with K-12 schools to make the shift to 21st century learning.” I have worked with them as a trip leader on both student and faculty trips, leader trainings, and other initiatives as they evolve such as TabLabs. I am currently partnered with Ross Wehner, World Leadership School Founder, on a project to create curriculum based on Purpose for schools. At the same time, I am working with Shayna Cooke, Director of Educator Development, on an excursion in the Peruvian Andes where teachers will explore innovative educational practices and create their own projects to bring home to their own schools. You can read more about it here: we’d love to have you join us!
Why do I love partnerships? Maybe growing up in a family of six children had something to do with it, maybe it’s my extroverted personality, maybe all those years of going to summer camp, and maybe a combination of all these things; it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I love working in teams and feel energized, fortunate and happy when I find people and organizations interested in these kinds of generative partnerships.