My Journey

 

In August 2017, I boarded a plane for Beijing, China, to take a leap of faith, leave the Ontario educational system, and accept a job as an international school principal. I thought my experience, training, and education prepared me to apply the leadership skills I had acquired throughout my 27-year educational career. I had a great deal of leadership experience, diversity and inclusion training, and cultural understanding. I felt confident to assume the role of an International School principal.

I began to struggle in my new role and tried to figure out why my leadership skills were not working. Failure after failure, frustration after frustration, I continued. Through leadership failures, humility, self-reflection, and the cultural expectations of cultural groups that I could use and apply some of my acquired leadership skills, I discovered that I needed to develop or enhance new leadership skills to fit my current context.

None of my leadership training ever referenced the need for cultural intelligence or cultural competency. We talked about building a school culture but not about understanding culture in the truest sense of the word and certainly not its impact on leadership. Connected to this new understanding of culture’s complexity and its implications for leadership, I realized that there was flexibility required in leadership style and approach with different cultural groups.

This aha! Moment helped shift my thinking and approach interactions with staff, parents, and students with a different lens. I began thinking more deeply about my cultural intelligence and its impact on my leadership. I researched, asked questions, and reflected on my practice. I learned from my mistakes and tried approaches that were more appropriate for the cultural context.

There were still failures, but at least I was learning. I learned about core and flex values and when and how to use and apply them. What I discovered is that this journey towards cultural competence is difficult. It requires motivation, knowledge, reflection, and changes in behavior. This discovery has led me to my research on cultural intelligence, a deep desire to change my leadership practice to lead more effectively in different cultural contexts.

This journey has taken me from international to independent schools during a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty.  My leadership skills, knowledge, and experience have allowed me to persevere through one of the most challenging times in my career.  Leading through the crisis brought about by a natural disaster has required resilience, optimism, innovation, wisdom, and creativity.  

This website has been created to support educators on a journey to enhance their leadership skills, strategies, and the development of cultural intelligence. I share my leadership experiences, successes, and failures through open, honest, and vulnerable reflections on my blog.  My goal is to support other educators as they deepen their leadership intelligence to grow in order to serve their diverse communities.

Need more details?

info@aboutfaceconsulting.com

Contact me for questions, comments, or for consulting services.