President's Message




As you can see from my new photo, Iíve decided to stop dyeing my hair. I am now officially a gray-haired woman. When I turned 55 last year, I made a deeper commitment to authenticity, and that included looking in the actual mirror (not just the mirror of my conscience).

I have to say that itís been a bit of a ride. There were many external shifts Ė I no longer get looked at in ďthat wayĒ on the street, Iíve had younger folks give me a seat on public transit, Iím taken seriously in ways I hadnít anticipated. Two months before cutting my locks I was carded while buying a bottle of wine, two days after cutting them I was offered a senior discount.

There have been many internal shifts as well. I now feel free to claim all children as my grandkids, and talk to every baby and young person I meet (sometimes to the chagrin of my sweetie Kim). While I may think twice before making a decision, Iíve stopped second guessing myself, and have confidence that my decisions are well considered. Paradoxically, Iím much more willing to be ďwrongĒ and to be influenced by those around me.

Now, I donít want to give the impression that cutting off oneís hair and letting it gray is the only path to authenticity. I do, however, highly recommend it for those who are able. Iím finding that my leadership has improved because Iím much less concerned with my image (self or otherwise) and therefore am more flexible. I donít give a ratís patootie if someone thinks Iím silly, and as a result Iíve begun to play a lot more. Literally.

And leading has become a lot more fun and satisfying.

At the time, it felt like taking a big risk, but the rewards have been great. So hereís some questions for you:

What would be your next big and bold step toward authenticity? Not just a baby step, but an in-your-face, Grandmother-type of step?

What might you gain if you were to take that step -- personally and in your leadership?

What fears come up as you consider this?

I figure the world cannot have too many bold, creative, fun, joy-filled authentic leaders. Letís all sign up for that.

As Iíve said many times before, we cannot do anything alone. If weíre going to risk being deeply authentic, we need to be in partnership, and that means weíll need to know about each other. To that end, I want to invite you to tell us when youíve done something terrific Ė donít hide behind modesty Ė send us an email, tell us what youíre up to. You may have noticed that weíve begun announcing alumni in the news Ė we try and keep up with what you all are doing Ė and it will be much easier if you help and let us know. If you donít feel comfortable tooting your own authentic horn, toot some other alumniís!

Iím so proud of what our Rockwood community is doing Ė we are affecting change all over the planet. Letís celebrate ourselves and each other as we create new and exciting ways to authentically lead.

So cut your hair, go back to school, end a toxic relationship, skinny dip, paint your car bright purple Ė I donít care. Take a risk Ė letís make 2012 the year of Authentic Leadership. Weíll learn a lot, and itís sure to be an interesting ride!

From my heart to yours,

Akaya

Jan 2012



ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Rinku Sen on Rachel Maddow Show

How Harsh Immigration Policies Hurt Families

Rockwood alum Rinku Sen, president of the Applied Research Center and publisher of Colorlines.com, appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the human cost of harsh immigration policies.




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