“Power is something we do all the time. It is more a process than a possession,” says Beth Roy, Ph.D., a longtime mediator in the San Francisco Bay Area. “If we are doing it all the time, we can have consciousness about the ways in which we give up power—often through assumptions about the way we are supposed to act and the way people are seeing us. We have the choice of buying into those views or we can recognize those transactions as what they are—exercises of power in opposition to us, and simply not agree. I think there are ways women can counter adversarial acts by men and other women by being adversarial. I much more believe in looking for ways to join together to be even more powerful.”
On January 30, LF Leadership hosted its 2015 Winter Women in Leadership Retreat at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens in Claremont, CA. Over thirty women leaders from across California gathered to discuss this quarter’s topic: Understanding Power From the Inside Out.
Roy was this quarter’s keynote speaker and she facilitated the full-day session with her partner, Mariah Breeding, MSW, Ph. D, also longtime counselor, and LF Leadership partner Cynthia Luna, MBA.
“It is always so inspiring to be in dialogue with groups of women who are thoughtfully exploring who they are in the world and exploring how to be in their various worlds in ways that are more themselves, more effective, and for more unity, love, and affection. When I saw that acted out in interactions in the retreat, it was a gift to me as well as a gift given by each participant in the retreat to each other,” Roy reflected after the retreat. “I relearned what I have had the very good fortune to learn in other circumstances. If you put any more than two women in a room together working on being true to themselves and accomplishing something, it is dynamite.”
Participants, who included business owners, public officials, and leaders of organizations including the San Gabriel Children’s Center, House of Ruth, Project Sister Family Services, and the YWCA spent the day discussing the role of power in their personal and professional lives. As the group enjoyed breakfast, Roy and Breeding gave an overview of their backgrounds and interest in power. Roy shared her history with power, explaining that she got her first lessons in the topic from her family, particularly in her sibling relationships, and that she grew more deeply interested when, as one of 2000 white students in her Texas high school the year after the Supreme Court ruled against segregation, she became one of the very few public segregationists. She has spent over 40 years researching and facilitating conversations and dynamics of power.
Participants spent time learning about the structures of power and how we as women can relate to such structures at the personal, interpersonal, organizational and cultural levels. The retreat provided an opportunity for women not only to learn new concepts, but also to apply them, as the participants were able to discuss specific issues in problem-solving groups, which the facilitators guided. .
“Beth, Cynthia and Mariah are powerful partners as leaders. They provided a safe environment for learning and reflection,” said Tracy Wilson of the San Gabriel Children’s Center.
“These conferences are so well organized, thoughtful and very informative and applicable to many life experiences,” said another participant.
The Women in Leadership Retreat series takes place quarterly. The next session will be held Friday April 17 from 9am-4pm in the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens in Claremont. The topic is Mindful Leadership, and the retreat will be facilitated by Alane Daugherty, Ph.D. Daugherty’s work focuses on teaching people how to transform chaotic and limiting emotional patterns to ones that are truly transformative. Dr. Alane leads participants through an understanding of emotional programming in general, invites participants to examine their own limiting and possibly destructive programming, and offers transformative tools and exercises for cultivating emotion as their greatest and most powerful life asset.
An early bird discount is available through April 3.
For upcoming leadership events, learn more about our Journey in Leadership program.