Through Women Leading the Way™, Minerva alumna Ali McCannell discovers her strengths, her motivations and the power of discovering it all among a group of supportive women. We asked Ali to reflect on her experiences, and here’s what she had to say:
What motivated you to sign up for the program?
I am a lifelong learner who pursues growth opportunities. I heard about the program, connected with its mission and signed up.
Where were you at in your life when you signed up for Women Leading the Way™?
I was in a weird place. I had quit my job a few months before to finish writing my thesis and had just started working as a nanny – a job that really played into (in a bad way) my boundary problems and people-pleasing nature.
Women Leading the Way™ creates a community of women interested in bringing everyone around them up – together.
What did you learn from Women Leading the Way™?
I learned a lot about myself. I revealed layers and learned that I was a pathological people-pleaser. That awareness has really aided me. I had never had it laid so bare for me. It’s really impacted the decisions I make, as I always have to stop and question: “What is driving this response? Is it my values, or my desire to please people and, if so, why is that?”
How has Women Leading the Way™ shaped your journey?
It shaped my journey in two ways: the amazing women I met and the type of leader I want to be. The women are a part of my support network and really a part of my soul. We shared so much and were so vulnerable together – even the ones I didn’t like I began to understand on such a deep level that I can’t help but love them now. I know that I’m on my journey as a leader, but I also want to be a person who grows and inspires people, and Minerva helped me see that.
A lot of problems can actually be solved by the act of bringing a group of people together… By bringing people together we forge understanding and perspective.
Do you feel like this type of programming has value in your community?
Oh absolutely. Absolutely. First, by creating community. I feel that a lot of problems can actually be solved by the act of bringing a group of people together for a dedicated period of time to grow and learn together. By bringing people together we forge understanding and perspective. Also, by showing women the different ways in which to be a leader and contribute to community, and by providing both forums and mentors that they can learn from, Women Leading the Way™ creates a community of women interested in bringing everyone around them up – together.
When I was considering the program, one of the facilitators told me a lot of the program is about who you meet. At the time, I took it as “schmoozing,” but now I realize that she meant I grow and strengthen my community by meeting and connecting with a diverse, passionate, principled group of women from all walks of life. It is such a range in one room that you don’t often see. It’s a real gift getting to connect and be vulnerable and learn and grow together with them all – a real gift. I’m so grateful for my experience and I know I will call on my Women Leading the Way™ experience as I continue driving my life forward.
How do you feel about yourself as a result of participating in this program?
I feel grateful. I feel like I have a lot of potential and strength. I know my values and every day I get to live them and reflect on them and refine them. Living a conscious life has really improved my relationships. I know that I have the tools (and the tools to find more tools) to be successful by my own personal metric.
We still have a few seats left in our upcoming Women Leading the Way™ program that begins in September. To learn more and to apply, please click here.