Mount Holyoke College
Weissman Center for Leadership

Building Bridges in Complex Times

Fall 2014, Spring 2015

We live in particularly complex times. Claims to the environment, education, and our own identities serve as points of contention. Various stakeholders construct visibly different positions, making progress toward shared goals a challenge. The Weissman Center for Leadership recognizes and encourages the development of many leadership capabilities necessary to be effective in a changing world. In order to build bridges, we need to be able to see the world and our relationship with one another in flexible, constructive ways. How do we stay in relationship despite and through conflict? How do we engage in communication when we use different forms of language and espouse conflicting world views?

This year, we will bring leaders to campus who model and speak to these very leadership capabilities and practices. Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender advocate and author, bridges our understanding of the range of gender expressions that embrace diversity in its many forms. Mayda del Valle, a rap-performing poet, uses spoken word to illustrate the connections found within generations, race, class, and gender. Carrie Mae Weems, our Leading Woman in the Arts guest artist-in-residence, and social justice educator, bridges art and humanity through a complex body of work that investigates family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems. Our featured leadership workshop will focus on Leading by Listening – listening for hope, a solution to a complaint, and bridging connections through reflection, clarity, and reframing. 

Building bridges is to find common ground, build trust, respect, listen, and understand multiple perspectives. Join us this year to cultivate your own leadership as we strive to build bridges in complex times.