Creative Leadership Travel Log
12.14.17, Week 15: A. 15.2
This marks the end of this course journey, and as many of my classmates have already said, it has been more than an amazing journey and beyond any expectations of what a course could offer. Looking back on my journey has been so fulfilling and exciting, as these past months have brought immense depth to my life and the way I continue to pave through my business goals and life expression. Starting off was new and hard. Some weeks in this course took me a long time, and there were times of struggle to adjust to this new addition in my life. It took discipline and perserverance to go deep and carve through believes, reflections and values to define in clarity who I am and how I make choices in my life. It is taking complete responsiblity for every moment and saying "yes" to change, "yes" to growth, "yes" to taking initiative in making our world a better place. I am grateful for the timing of this course, as for me it offered a place of refuge in pure intential thought and positivity in a political climate and chaotic world that 2017 turned out to be. I felt freed in this haven, supported by talented and like minds that were each on their path to making their communities a better place.
I am really honored to have spent the semester here in this Creative Leadership space with a group of amazing growing leaders connecting and growing, and I am looking forward to the journey ahead towards the destined places on my map in the time and place that they enfold. Our journey together as leaders continue, vastly interconnected and inseparable. As Paul Hawken states, "this is our century". We are in a time were humanity is reconstituting the world, working amongst a multitude of caring people pushing forward the largest movement the world has ever seen. I carry this in my heart as I view the world around me. There is a lot of hope in my eyes as I see the opportunities to recreate everything together. I'm ready to do impossible things, how about you?! I'm really excited that earth called me home to Maui and told me I have a job to do for her here. It was also nice of her to send me through training first by aligning me with MCAD so that I have a safety toolkit to proceed through some potentially wild trails ahead! (whew!) To honoring creation, as we create, design and shapeshift our world!
12.12.17, Week 14: A.14.3
As a creative leader in this moment, I see my ability to manifest my dreams by believing in myself and my purpose. The what is the most frustrating to communicate to others, so I am noticing the preference to start at my "why" in conversation -- why I'm home, why I'm doing what I'm doing, and working out to the "how" and "what". The past weeks I see my focus shift a little bit from my inner self as more things build upon each other at the closing of this year. There is so much I want to reflect on from the past months, from the past years. Where did the time go? How did this year shape me, and what is in store for next year? Watching nature and the play of the birds and the leaves with the breeze made me reflect on my actions and how I'm taking things too seriously at the moment, to a point that the spirit of fun and improvisation is in hiding behind the task oriented "must do's". Today the clouds are coming from a different direction (South West), the sun is hot sitting directly in it (different than the past weeks that cooled down the temperature a lot), the morning has ended up differently then planned, the start of this week has gone differently then planned. Looking around, nature doesn't have an agenda -- it moves in the way it does as all circumstances come together at once -- wind, sun, precipitation, light, flow. There is no determined plan. In this last week I'd like to apply this feeling with all of the tools I've learned the past months. These tools too are the background elements working together to create circumstance of the moment and the experience, my experience. I've realized how much I've learned and now it's time to let it go, and let it flow. The toolkit is by my side, the dashboard is in front of my steering wheel, and the map is in my hand. I'm excited and grateful as I reflect on all of the time and energy put into this moment.
12.03.17, Week 13: A. 13.2
For this visualization exercise, I really enjoyed peering into the imaginative future. Before getting to the scenario moment in my bed three years from now, A flash of moments leading up to that moment came before me. It was looking at the process of my experimentations and fabric creations, and setting up my business. When I was at this moment in bed listening to the birds sing at the rising of dawn, I was in the setting of our new house. Three years passed and we were in our new bedroom. I woke up in the dark silently as my husband was still asleep, and walked across to the building where our kitchen and living room was stationed. I had my laptop on sleep mode, leaving on the table on the counter of our kitchen island the night before. I walk over to start my tea water and stared at my computer as I pass it. I wondered if this news I've been waiting for has come. Pacing back and forth, I decide to open it, not really sure if it has arrived in my mailbox yet. I am recalling my journey to this moment, what has happened in my life, our growing family, the growth of my ideas from the start of my MCAD until the finish, and the starting two years of this research and business journey into sustainable fabrics and jewelry. I decide to peak, and inside is an email that reads as a title: "You have been accepted as our 2020 CFDA/Vague Fashion Fund Swarovski Emerging Talent and Positive Change winner!" I am shocked and amazed, as I never saw myself being anywhere close to this national and international publicity, yet here it is, and sustainability does look hot! It is early and I so badly want to tell my husband that we are invited to a trip to New York next June, but I try to hold my content and make tea and breakfast. That "waiting" lasts half and hour before I rush into the bed and tell him the sun is out and to get up! I offer him coffee (really important!) in bed and share that I have good news. As he becomes more awake we make it to the kitchen for breakfast where I share the good news. We do our "happy circle" celebration in the kitchen which is what we do with any great news. I call up co-workers to share the news that is a great reveal of our local brand activity and hard work. I am in awe of this moment, as it solidifies my journey so far and adds a lighted button to my "purpose" coat that has travelled with me in all types of weather and circumstance. Now with this button, it can add light to the future path ahead, providing me with a little more brightness of assuredness when the mist and darkness, at times, rolls in. Believe in the vision, believe in the guidance, believe in creativity, believe in the impossible, and the nature of people to create good --are the words that arise in this moment.
10.28.17, Week 12: A. 12.1
I had a hard time organizing a group of five people over our fall break, so I was at first discouraged to move forward with this assignment. Now having finally done it, I can say that I am so so glad I did as this was a really enriching experience, not only for me but the people involved.
To describe this amazing group that participated today, we were a total of six (including me the facilitator). From this group, one person was a friend of mine that I knew before and have started to interact with again since moving back home based on our similar interests in growing gardens of abundance as well as values of caring for land and this special place Maui. Two of the others, my friend’s fiancé and co-worker, I’ve met a couple of times before and we’ve connected on a good level. Those two are transplanted here from very different backgrounds and U.S. states. We all are in the same age range and generation.The other two that joined were my friend’s neighbors, who were about 20 or so years older than us, representing a different generation and even another cultural as one of them is originally from Thailand. This diversity was intriguing, complementary and supportive in the discussion that took place.
The setting was at my friend’s living room in her house on the farm lands. It had 12’ ceilings and a really clear space with a cluster of two couches that made it cozy and welcoming. It was really quiet, there were no outside distractions or influences. I know realize that it was the perfect place for this type of discussion we were about to have. The day was perfect for this type of philosophizing as it was misty, cloud covered and more monotone lighting. We meet at 3pm until 5pm which supported with the energy of the day closing and the sun getting lower in the sky. It was a great time of day for this time of work.
When they arrived, they did not know what to expect. They thought I might be giving an informal informative sharing of some sort, so when I explained the exercise we would be doing and passed out the papers for questions, they took a little bit to configure themselves and think about what to ask. One of participants couldn’t think of anything and so she wrote what was currently on her mind “Do you know any good handymen?” We had to laugh with her when we read out that question, and had a short diversion to answer her. To reach the final question we broke a tie and got to the question, “Is overpopulation a concern?”
The highlights I’d like to summarize are the moments of fascination that the participants pointed out, which mirrored what I had internally observed as the conversation unfolded. We all noticed how amazing it was that we started with the one question, but ended up incorporating all questions (except the handyman question) very naturally with no one forcing or directing those thoughts on the conversation. It was towards the end that one participant shared as a realization that we seemed to have covered territory into everyones questions, as all questions overlapped into each other as if they were one. This was one of those “oh wow” connectedness moments. Another highlight was the diversity of perspective of what “higher education” meant, and the different realities shared from someone growing up in Thailand, to others being closely exposed to rural America and religious groups, to others providing examples from their background to give some body to their perspective.What was also freaky was that the conversation closed naturally on its own right as the timer chimed to mark an hour. I was initially wondering if we would be able to sit there and talk for that long, but it was literally just the perfect amount of discussion time to capture people’s energy, interest and focus. What was also a cool happening is that even after the timer went off and we were down, there were still ongoing comments of the questions that were brought up, and how interesting it was for all of them. We then started to open up about what we do, and personal stories — sharing tattoos, to experiences living other places, and what we do for a living. This then naturally opened up to similar interests or connections we had on Maui. All of this took another 45 minutes before I got to my car.
As a facilitator, listening with all energy and focus made the energy really intimate and my vision I noticed blurred all the background out, only to see that person. My eyes fell to each person who spoke, not as a spotlight but as an acknowledgment. I was surprised how “natural” it felt. What was most difficult was to not want to add or share anything to the discussion. I was relieved when one of the other participants brought up what I wanted to contribute. I can reflect on one question being a little too planned and in the direction of “my interests”, but with the others I really tried hard to allow an inquiry to come naturally from the discussion in times when there when you could feel a pause happening in a topic.This worked way better and led to more deeper reflections and movement in the discussion.
In closing, I recognized how this style of discussion really created community and how good we all felt afterwards. One of the participants commented, “Man if only politics were discussed in this way”, which stuck with me. All in all it flowed really well, and I’d love to be a part of another Socratic Cafe session, and the participants said so would they!
Reflecting on the experience now, the feeling of a “successful” and complete discussion was in large part because of the people involved. The dynamics between all of us worked really well. All were really respectful and not hogging the discussion at any time. They were great listeners which was really supporting everyone. If I were involved with a group of different characters, I think my experience would have been different and maybe more challenging.
10.09.17, Week 11: A. 11.4
I found this exercise to be really fulfilling. When looking to create a triad connection, things really matched up, like the feeling when your sliding through numbers on a locked lock, and there is a moment when your numbers align properly and it clicks open. When I was reviewing infos on people, connections started to pop out that made me realize compatible connections or overlapping interests. I was touched writing out the emails, because it felt like I was tapping into core energy and values of each person. It felt really inspiring to see how these amazing qualities are lived through each person's experience. It also felt exciting to think about if this triad connection actually met and connected -- what would come out of that meeting!
Looking back on my personal experiences with triading two multi-generational cultural contemporary artists living in New Zealand, I remember the satisfaction and joy I felt knowing I helped to create that connection, and that it actually took off! It is the same feeling that I feel when I volunteer for a cause I believe in, or when watching a dance student grow in skills as you continue teaching them every week. It is working in ways that are helping the universe to orchestrate things beyond yourself that makes it fun and magical. I'd like to continue triading, now understanding the impact of it compared to self networking. For those of you who know the tv series "How I Met Your Mother", I now get Barney's somewhat wingman intelligence by using the triad method -- "Have you met my friend, Ted?".
10.05.17, Week 10: A. 10.2
A Letter to Myself
Boy has the path been full of uncertainty, triggered with passion, interests, a thirst for knowledge and a deep yearning to create and make your world better, a knowing and questioning in your art about the status quo of things. Your diverse experiences, though at the time seemed so random, have aligned you to the path of your heart, what your deepest desire has set you on. Since college you've been on a path of knowing yourself better, setting your boundaries, actively engaging in a global tribe collection and deep deep self reflection. This is something that makes you stand out for a person of your age. There is so much more now that is anchored in your, that is understood, that is grounded, that is in a "knowing" -- a six sense of your being and your environment. What will make you a great emerging leader is this dedication to your spiritual growth, your openness to this process (even when it is really not easy), your creativity,ability to adapt to many situations, lands, cultures and challenges,and your knowledge of who you are.
Looking at you now in comparison with who you were back in August, is amazing to see -- the growth, the assuredness of your purpose and your path, the connectedness of all of your experiences up until now, and the passion that bubbles when speaking about your creative work and your masters program. There is a yearning to connect and to engage the community with your work, and to discover the talents that your community has to offer to find your local tribe members, your potential collaborators. You've been on this journey alone for a very long time, paving your path in ways that many of your peers and family have not experienced. These are the themes that are repeating in your classwork, setting in the ideas that you are now ready to growth in your community, creating with others.
The advice I can give you is to be okay with the unknown and the mystery of life. It has by now given you more than enough examples that you can trust it and that you will end up exactly where you were meant to be. Also trust in others and their skills. There is a lot more that can accomplished with others. Trust that the right people will be drawn to you and your efforts and that the effortlessness of it all will show that greater powers of destiny are at work. It is out of your control, and it will be just fine! Make sure you also keep a balance in your work/private/community/me time moments, moving towards ways of integrating these different parts of your life and reminding yourself what matter most. You are easily excited and over-eager to get things moving and shaking immediately. Continue to practice patience and except that you need to live your full life, to be the best you can be.
10.22.17, Week 8: A. 8.3
Watching the bamboo, there is a reminder of togetherness (power in numbers), each small bamboo stock in the hedge living next to each other and helping each other to survive unforeseen circumstances like the high winds we’ve been having. Instead of snapping, they move together taking the path of least resistance and going with the flow. This reminded me of a leader’s need to allow things take its course and not force pressure or ideas of their own agenda in place of the group/company/community. It is better to allow each member speak their truth and determine how challenges with be faced together.
Also watching the dancing leaves in the trees reminded me of each individual dancing to its own rhythm of experience and talents, though yet still connected to the other leaves on the twigs, and to the other extended parts of the branch, and to the total, the truck. Not every leaf responds the same to a breeze, which reminded me of the importance to value diversity of people and opinions. There is more reasons as to why people may not see things the way I do, and to respect that they come from a background that has shaped their viewpoint.
Watching the clouds and the sky - between stormy rain clouds on one side and clear skies on the other, showed that all possibilities of weather (circumstance) are out there, but it is the voice of each of us to see the best features (our choice of outlook on life). Also to notice that when the forecast coming looks bad (grey stormy, dark threatening clouds), there might be unexpected opportunities and good surprises on the way, like a rainbow that appears from the mix of weathers of rain and sun.
Hearing the birds flying around me in ever direction (and hearing their flight pattern and chirps around me), reminded me that there is order to the chaos. Every bird flies with a directed purpose to get things needed to be done before darkness falls. Once that time comes, they know how to settle , rest and prepare themselves for an early morning when light hits the sky again. This reminds me of the qualities of being purpose and value driven, allowing the natural nature of the self to guide the way daily. It is also this day-to-day commitment to routines that bring health and allow me to be the best me — time for meditation/practicing mindfulness, nutrition, quiet time, and nurturing myself just like the birds. They know that going to sleep early provides the best opportunity for optimizing the start of their day, gathering the food they need and using the daylight hours efficiently.
Where I am at in my journey now
At this mid-point reflection, I am currently in the place of knowing a lot about myself, my values, my purpose (yay!), and about what kind of leadership I’d like to be a part of, and what type of leader I’d like to bring into being. There is a drive to create and act upon my values and my self mission statement each day. I am becoming more responsible for my actions and what I can do in my current “I” position. I am honing in and practicing my values daily so that I can truly act out what I say. It is hard some days, but I am committing myself to this stage now so that I am ready for the “we” transition into my community and future business plans. I am in the place in my journey that I am opening up the conversation to a “we” generated plan, and am talking with different people within my community to share my ideas and give opportunities for like minded folks to jump on board. I am planting seeds at this point in time that I am hoping will flower and develop as more discussions and sharing takes place. I feel determined, positive, see opportunity, gratitude for what has already manifested, and feel that life is great!
10.15.17, Week 7: A. 7.3
As an ideal creative leader...
I understand the importance of creating community and the relationships within one. I practice self awareness on what my strengths are and the ways I can contribute to the group culture, and recognize the diversity needed to bring in the right spectrum of talents, perspectives, and networks to create our culture’s core assets. I also know how to help guide the diversity of the group in a safe space that allows for the deeper connections to arise and how we will get to pit of our core values. With that consensus on values defined, I know how to instill them in the language that we speak to each other, to our sister networks and to our clients. As an ideal creative leader, I know how to help shape a good story about our business, our values, and what our products offer the world to create an emotional connection that can draw other talents to our culture, based on shared values, as well as our customers, who support them through participating with our products and services. I am great at networking, practicing “triading”, and connecting others based on their shared interests and personal values – the way I know the true person and introduce him as that. As a creative leader, I help many people through my work, which not only helps them, but helps me build a strong network of people who trust me and “promote” my reputation. This feeds and grows beyond country borders. As a creative leader, I am a servant to my community and to the land, understanding that my position is all about service to the greater whole. I make sure that I listen and am observed, so that I can really hear what the group is saying. I am also the upholder of values, making sure that all final discussed decisions of ideas are rooting from there, and if not to make the hard decisions to cut them. As an ideal creative leader I am able to communicate all stage “languages” to understand peoples’ mindsets, and to be relatable on all stages so that I can bring them to the next level. I am also available as a mentor to others and treat all with respect and aloha. Ideally I do not fear change, and understand that it is the part of the process of growth – in both mental and physical senses. I would make sure that all team members feel like family and are comfortable to share all perspectives, especially those of the “doubters” that bring necessary discussions to the table. As an ideal creative leader, I would make sure to be involved in different business and private projects at a time so that I can live a diverse lifestyle that is interesting, inspiring and brings in different worlds together. As an ideal creative leader, I would have fun and be inspired by the company culture that surrounds me, and feel proud to work with the talented people that I call “the tribe”.
09.22.17, Week 4: A 4.1
This week was amazing and really came close to home in regards to implementing ideas and the creative process. Self discipline and organization of time between the multitude of projects on my plate has been a priority for me since a couple of weeks. My husband gifted me at the beginning of the year a SELF Journal, used to empower people in planning their goals and making daily/weekly actions to get there. More info on the journal here. More then ever I am observing myself as an artist that for the past years has been scattered and responsive to immediate pressing deadlines. When something needs to get down in two weeks, I'm on it! Give me months ahead, and it is not in my time frame. I guess a part of me could definitely identify with a middle character of Chad and Risa descriptions, like if they had a baby ha.
One example was this year's East Meets West Festival I was co-creating this past May. I was introduced and brought on the team at the end of January, last minute creation of the festival started manifesting in February and March, April was a whole month of "nothing" as I had my wedding as top priority, and then May came around to scramble up the rest of the missing pieces and replace guest artists that had to cancel last minute. It was buuusy, and I was definitely a stress mess at times. This example was a good one to look at for me, as it brought in all the ideas into play from Clease's video and Belsky's book reading. During this time, I had increased my efficiency of time because of the time pressure, and for the first time in a long time, I experienced very proactive "cross out tasks" days intermixed with times of creativity. Aside from co-directing the festival, hosting guest artists, being part time travel agent and working on communications, I was also teaching a master class and performing in the show...A crazy move I must say. Because I had to also "create", I needed to create chunks of time and space for me to work out creative direction and solutions to my performance. As Clease brought out, giving enough time (more than 30 minutes) is important to let you settle into the zone and allow things to pass if they do. This done, I may add, at the right time of day really pays off. For me it was in the evening time, after the day of managing and completing tasks. As I already planned a week schedule, I knew what was in store for tomorrow, and I could relax into this space before the routine of getting to bed.
Reflecting on what Belsky points out on his section of "Leveraging communal forces", shows why this project ended up more successful then if I attempted this on my own. 1) This festival allowed me the freedom to bring my networks, talents and passions that in turn created an opportunity and engagement with my community. 2) Choosing the right artists and friends to support with their energies in the festival made it fun and lifted spirits in the craziness. 3) Having a seasoned festival partner also helped us bounce ideas off of each other, section of tasks and responsibilities each of us were in charge of daily, and at the end made us accountable, binding us to the ideas and vision of the event -- keeping the focus.
I plan to reduce stress and pursue projects that allow more time than this example I presented, but this experience helped me see the benefits of different points that I'd like to carry into future projects. Understanding that anything new takes time, especially if it working against the norm. In the case of the East Meets West Festival, success was not based on the number of people that attended the event, but more on the quality responses of the ones who dared to show up and support something different. I am learning to be more patient with my ideas, creating the purpose, starting conversations and letting the connections fall into place. The balance of procedure "get things done" and creative space for reflection and experimentation is needed. They can work hand in hand. A big one for me that I am integrating more into is like Belsky said, "Community strengthens both your creative energy and your commitment to channel it." This has been evident in my weekly dance courses I used to give in Germany. I was sometimes bugged about having to show up and be present every week, but my students pushed me to be the best me and to use my talents to create community and share joy together, and of course this drove me to continue to choreograph and share.
Looking forward to reading further!
09.17.17, Week 3: A 3.3
This week really connected things for me, but also made things way more complex and challenging for the ideas of leadership. Leadership is all encompassing in knowing how to interact with human and natural systems, looking to nature for models, strategies and solutions to apply to the human system. The diversity and breadth of the role of leadership was really inspiring and also exhausting to read. What stuck with me from "Surfing the Edge of Chaos" was this statement that it is critical to protect the reliable core of an organization WHILE simultaneously planting and nurturing revolutionary change. It is this management of present status quo and of future innovation. I found the rest of the chapters from the book really interesting in talking about equilibrium as the death of a company. It does take a different perspective than the idea of reaching a balance (in the physical, mental and spiritual) as an individual, understanding that things are always shifting and changing and to maintain that balance of center. In this case with business it is about understanding nature is never balanced once and for all -- with the meaning of comfortable, stagnation, and equilibrium. It is rather in constant motion of evolution to overcome the challenges and waves and therefore gaining the skills and mindset to overcome them, until the next challenge presents itself. It is the way species survive sustainably for the long hall, and that is the way businesses should be viewed too. What resonated for me was the idea of innovation happening at the "fringe", at the borders of one bioregion and the other. This concept mirrored itself when I was watching the movie "The Hundred-Foot Journey", about an indian family who moved to the countryside of France, where one of the son's brings the fine French dining culture of into a whole new level. In this town there is a Michelin star quality restaurant, but they haven't received a second star in 15 years. They are snobby in their sense of "high taste" and are horrified when the Indian family, with their "fast food curry style" restaurant, move across the street. They represent business stagnation and "the same old good", but are lacking innovation. In the end it takes a bold Indian chef willing to combine his culture tastes with the French cuisine to makes it as a top Michelin chef in all of France, giving the Michelin star restaurant a second star with his cooking, and working towards a third! This Indian chef represents the person on the fringe, the innovator that brings in fresh tastes and ideas and ends up saving the life and growth of the restaurant. Watching this movie after reading the material for this week, really sealed the concepts and provided a "living" example.
This week was also fascinating in learning about hierarchy examples in nature, looking at the differences, pros, and cons. It was challenging for me to relate them to the world I know, as I've never done an exercise with leadership like this. For me, each structure brought out feelings for each as to why they are important and exist as models -- e.g. hierarchy as safety, assurance. This made me see each model need as well as the possible downsides of each structure. At the end, I realized all is needed, even hierarchy -- though this model has an over negative connotation for me from past examples of hierarchy and the false usage of the model for personal gains. I am now understanding that a dynamic structure of leadership includes all of the models, interrelatedly and separately moving in and out like the breathing murmuration of starlings.
09.10.17, Week 2: A 1.3
This week was really inspiring as it brought a lot of things together. I really liked the "Neuroscience Leadership" reading (from 2.2 resources) as I could apply what was happening in our office to old employees and their reaction as my husband and I started to stir up change around us since we moved in. A lot of new was happening fast for people that were use to the office space being the "same old same old" for 15 years! I could now see how exhausting it was for them to adapt to new systems and react the way they did. I had a really interesting conversation with my husband about it, as he is put in this very position many times for his brand consulting and especially interim management work, being the "instiller of change". I've listened to him over the years explain his work days sometimes, and after reading this article, I got a deeper sense to what he was describing and doing. Like the article mentioned, it takes the "aha" moment (self-identified) to work the change in most effectively and deeply. I felt super proud and happy to understand a concept through my doing-- proving to myself the idea mentioned about feeling satisfaction to adopt change when the person is involved in the process, and feels connected to it.
For the leadership videos, I really liked collecting ideas and qualities of leadership from the diverse people that were highlighted. It was interesting to see what each brought out in their leadership from their personalities, backgrounds and values. Comparing them to each other, as well as the classical leadership model" was interesting for me, as I uncovered some of the classical model qualities still found in today's leadership (what has lingered), but could see the great separation that models today have gone in their purposes and values of those qualities-- e.g. courage, the value is not for glory and fame, but for being consistent in fighting for the issues that matter that support the leader's/company's values without fear.
This paired again with the "Neuroscience Leadership" and "Leading Creative People" articles were really interesting with the layout of past models of leadership and the way it has evolved, as we've gotten to know the brain process better. These are already encouraging tools to learn how to understand and treat followers, employers and the interior culture that will be supporting visionary leaders on their journey. A BIG step in recognizing responsibilities of leadership.
09.02.17, Week 1: A 1.3
Since a child, I preferred following a different path, one that was sometimes not even on the map. Living in Hawai’i, I appreciated the diversity — diversity of environments, plants, people and culture— and had a deep interest and comfort in getting to know the world in this way. I started from very shy beginnings, and thanks to the performing arts I was able to break some barriers and gain some courage of my voice already at a young age.
Choosing to be a part of student government in high school, started my journey into leadership. This was a huge leap for me, being comfortable with listening rather than speaking. It taught me to trust my voice in a community, and how to work together towards a goal. I then moved on to state wide youth leadership positions, in which I was sent to places like Dallas for conferences on traditional leadership structures.
College added different more unconventional opportunities that allowed me to share my experimental hobbies such as fashion design, choreography, crafting and poetry. It gave me the space to not fear the creative process and to accept the outcome, whatever that looked like. For the first time I felt comfortable in my voice, as one that questions, challenges and adds diversity to discussion.
Being far away from home in a new culture, allowed me to adventure into new territories of thought and practice. Living and working in Germany, taught me a lot about myself, my values, my passions and my boarders. Who am I? What is my purpose here in this land? What do I want? I was lucky to receive opportunities for growth, given leadership positions in which many times I felt “not ready” or insecure if I had the proper skills and backgrounds—for example being the performance director for Mercedes- Benz On Tour event, teaching master classes in in an international dance conference in France, teaching hula, and starting up a Hawai’i community in Hamburg.
Along my life journey, I realize that I never quite fit into any typical box given: I was a “Hawai’i girl” that related more to international students than other Americans (even fellow Hawai’i students); I was considered the “hip-hop dancer” in modern dance class and visa versa when I was in urban dance camps; I ended up majoring/minoring in different studies in college, almost self-creating my major; I was not considered typical American as I was from Hawai’i; I was not considered Hawaiian because I didn’t carry the ethnic background; when I traveled people thought my ethnic background spanned from Native American, Filipino, Thai, Indonesian, to Mongolian mix. “Other” was the place I felt most comfortable in, as for me it included the experience of all and everything not defined. I can be an artist that uses many disciplines. I can be a person that is multi-faceted. Creative leadership seems like a natural step I’ve already been taking. I am already practicing many of the qualities/traits/behaviors I mentioned for my dashboard, but to keep all qualities in check and in balance is a practice I’m looking forward to improve on.