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MAVA Leaders for Nature: what they teach by experience & example

Since the autumn, and my last involvement in delivering the MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy over the last 4 years, I’ve been wanting to share further reflections from what I have learned and observed in the participant leaders, across a range of roles, organisations, languages and cultures.

In my different roles as facilitator, coach and mentor, I have enjoyed the privileged position of witnessing the connecting of a community that energises and grounds possibility and hope in impact, for humanity and Nature.

Each Cohort has been so inspiring, each with its own different personality, flavour and focus. To my mind, there has been an emergence of themes, all relevant to leadership growth and evolution, but each with a slighly different emphasis.

I see these themes as follows:

  • SELF LEADERSHIP (Cohort 1): if I am to lead a team well, I must continually grow my awareness of my whole self and the infuence I inspire in others
  • INTERGENERATIONAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT & ACCEPTANCE (Cohort 2): each generation has its own experience, trauma, perspective and value. Forgiveness (of self and/or other) may be fundamental to co-operation and co-creation
  • SELF CARE (Cohort 3): I must look after myself to be a selfless team leader and role model. Burnout serves no-one. Further emphasised by the first year of the pandemic
  • COMMUNITY & HUMANITY (Cohort 4): how essential it is to place these at the heart of regenerative and sustainable evolution and development. Humanity is a part of Nature, not apart from it.
  • DIVERSITY, STORY-TELLING AND STORY-DOING (Cohorts 5 & 6, where there was parallel recruitment and delivery): diversity, storyelling & story-doing – this essential work must become more inclusive, as a strategic forethought not afterthought, to engage all stakeholders, because this work is for all across all sectors. To do all this with soul and with an open heart as the foundation for relationship.

Of course, each theme is relevant across the whole community of leaders and throughout the sector; and beyond, I would say. The potency of what MAVA has seeded will continue to grow through those it has inspired and will continue to inspire through its ongoing legacy and community.

“The MAVA Academy gave us a new mindset and tools to work more effectively. This is MAVA’s most important project for the future of conservation. The results of the MAVA Academy will be seen in 10 to 30 years…It is creating a movement and changing the generation who are, and will be, leading conservation efforts. If only 5% of conservation professionals have the same experience that I had in the Academy, the world will be a better place.” ~ Jovan Andevski, Programmes Manager, Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF)

(If interested, you can read more here in the final MAVA Academy Impact Report)

I have found this whole experience fascinating, informative and educational – for me and my work, and, potentially, for all aspiring leaders as the ripples spread.

The journey for all touched by these experiences continues…