Excerpt from the 2010 JWLI Fellow's Report
Through Japanese Women's Leadership Initiative (JWLI) Program, I learned many things by visiting and learning from the three of the host sites (Web of Benefit, Ellis Memorial, and ATASK), Women's Strategic Leadership Course at Simmons College and other agencies, as well as the people I met in Boston. What I learned is not only the knowledge, but more I learned is the way of thinking and people's passion.
The first host site was Web of Benefit run by Ms. Johanna Crawford. What I learned the most was the importance of having a “Dream.” Ms. Crawford made us write about our career and personal Dream Proposal, as she usually makes her clients, the victims of domestic violence, to write. It was an incredible experience for me writing down my dream which I really never thought or realize about. She emphasized that if we do not dream, it will never come true, and none of the dream is ever too big. Now I have clearer vision what I would like to do and pursue in the future.
In addition, "Pay it Forward" system at Web of Benefit is an effective mean of not only expanding the support systems to women, but it will give a power and self esteem to those "ex-victim" women believing themselves that they are now powerful enough to help others. The second host site was Ellis Memorial, offering services to early education and child care program, and a day-care program to elderly and disabled people. Comparing to Web of Benefit, Ellis Memorial is a much bigger organization with variety field of support and staffs. Mr. Leo Delaney is good at doing a fundraising activity; it was impression for me that he has tactics, but more he has is his caring character and trust from supporters and donors. It was not only us or donors whom he takes a good care, but also to the workers at Ellis Memorial. He said that he treats people as he wishes others to do for him, and he prepares a good welfare system to his staffs. There is no wonder that worker's turnover is less at Ellis Memorial; high turnover rate is often a serious issue to non-profit sector. He prepares a better welfare system for his workers, even though he cannot pay a lot. Because non-profit sector cannot train people so often, human resource should be treated as more significant. The third week was the Strategic Leadership for Women course at Simmons College. It was physically and mentally hard, but I gained a lot of learning. I especially learned a lot from communication strategy. We wrote down a chart based on the self-survey for our behaviors. It made me realize what type of person I am. It was a good exercise for me to realize that that everybody has a different type of communication style and the way of thinking, and it is quite important to accept and respect our differences. It would be necessary to complete the job with good human relationships.
This leadership course was especially made for women. There are definitely obstacles for women to take leadership especially in Japan, but I found out through this course that I have to even accept the reality of difficulty. However, accepting the reality does not mean that we will give up to become a leader, but we need to use our tactics and strategy to be a good leader as women.
The final host site of this JWLI program was ATASK(Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence). What I learned the most at ATASK is Linda's strategic planning and operation of an organization. As far as I could see, Ms. Linda Chin depends on the actual support activities of clients (=Asian women got domestic violence) to other staffs and Linda, herself, is concentrating on to the fundraising and operation of the organization. I thought that is quite significant as a leader of the organization. I have seen many non-profit organizations that their financial stability is not strong enough even though many staffs working there have great passion and experiences toward the activities. This issue often brings up to many non-profit organizations. Therefore, having a person like Linda, or whoever has a skill with business mind to non-profit sector is significant in terms of its sustainability.
Through this JWLI program, I could learn and have experiences for the things which I could never gain by reading books or text books. In the end, I would like to express my appreciation for all the people and organizations letting me take this program, and learn the valuable knowledge and experiences for my future career. (2010 4th JWLI Fellow, Ms C.S.)