Hello everyone! My name is Amanda Patch and I am the Coordinator of the Beaches Division of the JAX Chamber. In this blog I will be chronicling my experience as a member of the 2012 Blueprint for Leadership cohort. As you may know, this program is intended to provide participants with the knowledge and skills that they will need to become an effective member of a nonprofit Board of Directors. However, after only two sessions with the instructors of Blueprint, I think they will be teaching us so much more.
Our first session was held at the beautiful Cummer Museum and Gardens. The focus was an introduction to leadership and we were also treated to a panel discussion with several prominent members of the community. As Dr. Judy Smith, President/CEO of Hands on Jacksonville stated
“There are as many definitions of leadership as there are people trying to define it.” This immediately set the tone for the journey of self awareness that we were about to embark upon, one that will help us to determine what kind of leader we want to become.
We took part in a variety of exercises designed to help us get to know each other but this was just the beginning. The next session would give us an understanding of each other on a personal level that I don’t think any of us could have anticipated.
Our second session was held at the University of Phoenix, which will be the site of all future classes until the start of our service project, to be selected by the group at a later date. The morning was spent learning about the history of Jacksonville, which was very interesting. In the afternoon things got much more serious.
Having never participated in diversity training, I didn’t really know what to expect, but the lessons I learned that day will be with me forever. I learned that I had more in common with the people in my class then I could have ever imagined. That everyone has felt different at some point in their lives, and that those feelings can be incredibly painful. I also learned about the importance of acknowledging our differences and that by doing so a team can become stronger than it ever could if we were all just the same. Even though I have always been respectful of others, the insight that I gained that day will allow me to develop stronger and more authentic relationships both in and out of the workplace.
We invite you to follow us on Facebook, where we have an album of fun photos from the day!