The Whistler Forum for Leadership and Dialogue announced the creation of two new leadership cohorts this week, with one on First Nations and the other on women.
Learning and Leading Together with First Nations will be co-led and facilitated by Christine Baker from Squamish Nation and William Roberts, president of the Whistler Forum.
“I think one of the goals is that based on past experience there’s a real appetite for both members of our communities and First Nations communities to have an opportunity to listen and learn and build some levels of trust and understanding in situations that aren’t fraught with challenges and problems and agendas,” said Roberts. “Through the course of these eight learning days, we’ll have a rare opportunity to learn about leaders and First Nations communities and the history of that, as well as their sense of identity and story, their aspirations and goals themselves, together with the diverse mix of non-First Nations people in the corridor.”
Past cohorts have brushed on the topic, said Roberts, and feedback was positive, but suggested a need for more dialogue. The cohort, composed of 14 or 15 people, has its first meeting scheduled for Oct. 3.
The second group is called “Women in Leadership – Wisdom for the Balancing Act.” Squamish Councillor Patricia Heintzman will be at the helm with women from previous cohorts. Heintzman, who participated in the Aspen Institute Women in Leadership Seminar last year, is an ideal person to lead the group, said Roberts.
“We want to see more women involved in political decision making and community leadership of various sorts,” continued Roberts, “and yet, for a lot of women to balance family life and career and business and keeping their entrepreneurial and family activities — there’s very little time to step up in terms of community leadership. But some do and some have found ways, and it has to do with getting the support required in different levels and finding the balance act we all face, but for women is often more of a challenge.”
Also composed of about 14 or 15 people, the women’s cohort has its first meeting on Sept. 26. Both groups will meet together throughout the year.