The Power of Connections

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By Karen Baldwin and Laura Roccaforte
2013 ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference Breakout Speakers and ICAN Program Leaders  

The future of the world depends on honoring the uniqueness of each individual and the emergence of the collective. Our world today needs people who are more oriented to building relationships and communities and less to separateness and competition. And, all of the issues we face as a global community require cooperation, collaboration and the ability to connect.

We have never been more aware of the power and importance of the collective than we have been this month when in our own lives we needed our communities more than ever…

Just this past week, Karen was presented with the unexpected task of finding her amazing, elderly aunt a new home. At ninety-two, and while still living life to the fullest, she had reached a milestone – it was time for her to move to a retirement center. Of course, like many of our elderly, Karen’s aunt isn’t financially prepared. This news sent Karen into a flurry — making phone calls, brainstorming, collaborating and creating a plan and executing some important decisions — all very quickly and with the help of her support system.

In turn, Laura has been on a steep learning curve over the past year having started a new business as a sole proprietor. It has been all-consuming to be in a constant state of “new” with no staff support and no people in her one-person office to bounce around ideas to effectively service new clients. Without the empathic relationships and inherent connectedness that a larger organization brings, some days have proven to be very isolating.

What we found in our recent experiences, and what we both know to be true, is what helps us face these challenges and opportunities and change, open up, shift, transform and grow in our lives is our network of colleagues and friends. We depend on them to encourage and support us as we find answers and solve problems. We gain inspiration and strength from these special people who unconditionally speak from the heart and listen to understand us.

Coming together to tell our stories and talk about our roles, gifts, concerns and visions helps each of us discover our commonalities in life experiences, shared values and dreams. We have found that when we talk about what’s most important to us – as we connect with one another – our personal power is enhanced! And, the transformational effects that this kind of mentoring circle can have on all of us can be extraordinary.

Karen Baldwin and Laura Roccaforte will conduct a breakout session, “Leading from a Mentoring Perspective” at ICAN’s Women’s Leadership Conference on April 3rd. Participants are invited to experience firsthand a respectful, non-judgmental and appreciative environment where every voice is heard. Participants will learn how to bring leadership circles to their own organizations and have the opportunity to register for a follow-up “Train the Trainer” session about becoming guardians of the circle.