Women Leaders Likened to Endangered Species

Developing and sustaining women leaders discussed in newly released book

Washington—“Women who lead are not unlike the many animals and plants around the world that face real peril when they lack a consistent, nurturing habitat to ensure their sustainability,” asserts Dr. Darlyne Bailey, co-author of Sustaining our Spirits: Women Leaders Thriving for Today and Tomorrow.  Because of this stark reality, this book was created by and for women leaders, to provide the blueprint for indentifying, developing and sustaining the most effective leadership.

Dr. Bailey and her co-authors, Kelly McNally Koney, Mary Ellen McNish, Dr. Ruthmary Powers, and Katrina Uhly, embarked on a remarkable 5-year process of discovery with over 40 other women from institutions, organizations, and communities.  They gathered women who are leaders to create an opportunity for interaction, reflection, and mutual support.

From these conversations was born Sustaining our Spirits, a project where women leaders would learn from and with one another how to sustain their life energies and commitment and, in turn, be able to share those lessons with others.

“This is a handbook for life’s journey for leaders who are women,” notes Frances Hesselbein, founding president and chairman of the Leader to Leader Institute, “Leadership is a journey – not a destination.  We take the examples presented here, make it our own and marvel at their present successes as women of spirit and leaders of significance and achievement.”

The commonality of experience and the sense of responsibility to future women leaders was the driving force behind Sustaining our Spirits: Women Leaders Thriving for Today and Tomorrow.  As part of this book, the authors sought to discuss and explore the themes that excited and concerned these women leaders the most including, the need for self-knowledge and care, personal and organizational balance and boundaries, and connecting with role models and mentors to counter the effects of ever-present toxicity.

“If, today, women leaders are an endangered species, by collectively exploring those elements of our world that most challenge us and nurturing those that most enable us to flourish, we can learn how to manage what threatens us and strengthen the healthy sustainability of ourselves and our organizations,” says Dr. Bailey.

Dr. Bailey is the Assistant to the President and Professor of Social Work and Work and Human Resource Education at the University of Minnesota.  Ms. McNally Koney is an organizational and community consultant.  Ms. McNish is the General Secretary for the American Friends Services Committee.  Dr. Powers is with the Sisters of Humility of Mary.  Ms. Uhly is a Research Fellow in the Dean’s Office of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.

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