Five Foundational Pillars
As women leaders we can change the way conservation and environmental protection is done in Africa by taking our place at decision-making tables and using our influence to create a community of practise that builds our resilience and brings others along with us. This will ultimately lead to greater environmental impact. Through examining our own journeys and with the help of leadership experts, WE Africa has identified five pillars that form the foundation of the WE Africa leadership experience.
Personal Leadership Growth
You will be able to clearly identify your leadership style, values, purpose and goals and lead with greater self-awareness, courage and influence.
Wellbeing and Wellness
You will feel healthier and more energized through a focus on holistic wellbeing and stress management tools, no matter where you work or what challenges you face. This will improve your resilience so you can keep going and pay it forward to others.
Relationships of Collaboration and Peacebuilding
You will be able to build and maintain more productive relationships and help create a culture of collaboration and inclusion, rather than competition.
Innovation and Inspiration
You will cultivate a growth mindset and be able to more easily embrace failure and take smart risks. You will share new ideas that will inspire you and foster innovation.
Strategic Influence to Scale Impact
You will be able to use your visibility for personal and collective impact within your communities, teams, organisations and countries. You will be inspired and equipped to “pay it forward” by helping other women in your network on their own leadership journeys and grow the WE Africa community into a movement across Africa and beyond.
WE Africa’s Leadership Experience:
We visualize the WE Africa leadership experience as a baobab tree grounded in the fertile soil of wellbeing and personal growth that culminates in strategic approaches to scale as a community of leaders. This is inspired and adapted from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where the roots of the tree are WE’s five foundational leadership pillars, embedded in Maslow’s motivational pyramid. Only when our basic needs are met (e.g., wellbeing), are we able to invest in our own leadership development and that of others. A strong root system keeps us grounded and gives us stability. As we grow as leaders, we need continual nutrients (energy and inspiration) so that we are healthy and resilient and can pay it forward while being flexible enough to withstand the winds of change that arise, but our roots stay grounded. The more “healthy” trees/leaders we have the more seeds we can produce, creating a movement towards a different way to do conservation, ultimately leading to more lasting environmental impact.
The 12 month journey of WE Africa is traversed through six key phases, reflecting our connection with nature and the earth and the elevation of your personal and collective leadership from self through your relationships to collective impact and paying it forward.
Phase 1 - Preparing the soil
Welcoming you to the community, setting expectations and preparing you for your journey.
Phase 2 - Sowing the seeds
Why are we here and where are we heading together?
Create a shared, safe space to know yourself and one another. Build wellbeing and resilience to sustain you long-term. You will be introduced to a process of facilitated dialogue which will be used as a vehicle throughout the 12 months as a way of creating inclusive, safe spaces for more vulnerable conversations about each of your stories and lived experiences.
Phase 3 - Growing the roots
Deepen your leadership identity.
Drawing from the research of Dr. Brené Brown, you will learn that courage is a skillset that can be taught, observed and measured, in both yourself and others. Developing your courage skills will shift how you engage in tough conversations, make decisions, build inclusive teams, engage effectively with stakeholders and overcome the many challenges and obstacles that come with being a leader and a woman in the environmental arena.
Phase 4 - New shoots and bearing the fruit
Create your leadership roadmap
Here we shift from self-leadership to leadership of others and building productive relationships to enable you to have those difficult conversations, collaborate effectively and feel less alone. Create your leadership roadmap: set your vision, hone your strategic mindset and creativity, see your visibility as a tool for influence and have your voice heard in new ways. And of course, continue to work on your personal wellbeing goals and the wellbeing of others around you.
Phase 5 - Harvest
Scale your strategic leadership and influence.
See how collaboration can translate into community-building and collective impact. Delve into a series of optional workshops and sessions.
Work with your WE sisters on a collective challenge and take the movement forward.
Phase 6 - Sharing the seeds
Paying it forward
As part of the WE Africa community, you will continue achieving excellence in environmental leadership and participate in various mentorship opportunities to begin the WE ‘paying it forward’ mentality. With your help, the WE Africa team will continue long- term assessment of program impacts to inform future cohorts and the potential for additional follow-up support through the alumnae network and other leadership programs. You will be connected to other opportunities and networks with similar values through the WE Umbrella. Twenty new women will join the WE Africa experience in January 2022 to start the next cycle; they are us.