#21 Be. Leadership September 2014 - Creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation

by Vanessa Creamer

The September theme was creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation. We met in a wonderfully creative space to explore this topic. Hosted by Le Va, one wall in the room was covered with inspirational quotes from all walks of life, which spurred our creative thinking.

The syndicate 'Robin's Angels' opened Friday with each person reading a quote from 'A Creative Companion: How to Free Your Creative Spirit.' I particularly liked 'Gather energetic community', which is what we were doing this weekend as we came together as leaders in our communities.

It must be noted that Sarah was not with us this weekend, as she had taken up residence in Rarotonga. We were all secretly hoping that Be. would send us there for our next retreat! But not to be. We had three wonderfully engaging speakers from different walks of life and with different connections to the Be Team.

The first speaker was Dean Easterbrook, who is an entrepreneur in the film business.  His production company, Borderless, produces documentaries such as 'A Grandmother’s Tribe'. Dean was very open about his journey and his motivation for doing what he does. His encouragement to us was to find clarity in this noisy world, find out who you are and discover what is different from everyone else. We did have a chuckle at his comment to 'say no', whereas a previous speaker had emphatically told us to 'say yes!' It seems that our 'yes' and 'no' needs to be firmly in line with our motivation and intention.

The second speaker of the day was Rachael Penman, who works in the dance industry.  Rachael brought her delightful son with her to the day and he assisted answering some questions.  Rachael gave a very clear definition of the difference between management – putting people in a box — and leadership — guiding, working with others and allowing them to learn from you. It was refreshing to see that people of Rachael and Dean’s calibre choose to do what they do because they enjoy it.

After the speakers had concluded for the day, it was time for self reflection. Those of us who had visited organisations to meet leaders in the community shared our experiences. Most people seemed to have really enjoyable experiences, and some were even keen to do it again. We were fortunate to be able to watch 'A Grandmother's Tribe' on Friday night, which led to quite a reflective end to the day.

Saturday’s speaker was Meg Nicoll, whose three passions are Ultimate Frisbee, art and education (quite possibly in that order!). Meg works at Auckland Art Gallery in the role of connecting people to the arts. She described how groups of people who are dealing with dementia come into the art gallery to simply sit and share what individual pieces of art mean to them, a discussion which is often continued with a cup of tea  afterwards. The energy and passion that Meg has was contagious and made some of us more appreciate of the local gallery.

It was hard to believe that we only had two more weekends together left – the friendships formed throughout the year will no doubt continue far beyond this programme. The quality of all the speakers has been top notch and they have given us much to think about as we consider our own leadership journey.