This blog has been selected from My Moon Landing weekend training session, Be the Change, and is part of a 5-blog series sharing a small snippet of learnings from different training sessions. This training featured talks from Black social impact leaders sharing their experience creating organisations to enact change and providing practical advice about starting a movement or impact organisation. This session was led by Mary Mosope Adeyemi, who founded ViSHEbility, a platform which aims to improve the outcomes for Black women in the marketplace through inspiration, coaching and community.
During our time together, Mary shared how she comes from a family of 'reformist-like characters' where members have interests in law, public service and health. She reflected on how it has practically been etched in her DNA to ask questions and seek solutions that create a better world, including addressing the limited representation of Black women in leadership.
In the spirit of Mary’s MML weekend, Mary immediately called those present to action. She kicked us off with a clear definition of change 'the act or process through which something becomes different'.
She was absolutely clear about the phrase 'change agent' that despite how commonly used it is, the situations in which such people become ;change agents’ are often quite painful ones from their lived experiences.
With this, she highlighted those heroes around us, particularly Black women change agents, some of whom were also led sessions in this training series. Mary named Do it Now Now’s very own Bayo Adelaja for her work with Black people in civil society; Tobi Oredin for tenaciously building Black Ballad to tell Black women’s stories, and so many others. Those present could see that Mary meant business when it came to the audience in the session becoming change agents themselves. So she taught us her bespoke 5-step process.
'If you ask good questions we will get great answers'. She mentioned how there are many instances where curiosity does not kill the cat. In fact, it means the cat embarks on greater adventures. So ask your questions!
Leaders are known to intentionally seek knowledge and educate themselves on the issues that sparked our curiosity. Leverage books, podcasts and social media to learn.
3. Responsibility and risk-taking
Responsibility comes at a price. It will cost you time, it will cost you money but the truth is you will always be the biggest beneficiary in that it will give more to you than you can give back to it.
4. Action - Take it
'An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention' - Dr Steve Maraboli.
Mary reminded us that ordinary people need to do more than talking about intention - we need to just start because growth happens in the wild.
5. Talk and teach
She then anchored this step in Stephen R Covey’s quote:
'The journey of leadership is one of finding your own voice and knowing that your journey must end with helping others find theirs'. She emphasised the importance of talking and teaching whilst taking action so you can grow awareness of the problem and bring others in. Ultimately, 'collective problems will require collective solutions'.
You may notice that this process neatly spells out CARAT. She reminds us that leadership is firstly a mindset before it becomes a persona (23:07). The beauty of this process is that it helps us 'choose the spaces where we have the most interest and where we have the most impact and after we have made this choice we can choose to lead.' (23:16)
Mary left us with a particularly powerful line to hold on to as we become more curious about where we want to lead and said:
'Don’t let the magnitude of your problem stop you from playing your part in the spectrum of change… It is so important that you do not allow yourself to get scared.' She emphasised how our job is to 'opt-in' and then 'find co-labourers along the way.'
Mary currently has a book out for pre-order named Visible Strengths. She wrote this book to 'help other young professionals accelerate their career by learning how to capitalise on their strengths, contribute their value and communicate their results'. You can (and should!) get it here.
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