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Opinion: Are leaders born or raised?

She sang for the U.S.O. in Vietnam going places Bob Hope wouldn’t go. She entertained at the Purple Onion in San Francisco following in the footsteps of the Smothers Brothers and Phyllis Diller. She was kicked out of Brigham Young University for refusing to stop the work on the Equal Rights Amendment. Nina Wyatt Harrington received her B.A. and M.B.A from San Francisco University working all day in computer sales and going to college and singing at cabarets at night.
She has given her life for her children, moving from Connecticut, Wisconsin, Quebec and now to Vermont to make sure they had what they needed in life. Nina was a member of CVOEO’s Head Start Parent Policy Council after adopting her granddaughter, Marcine. She is currently President of the Board of Directors at CVOEO.
Are leaders born or are they raised? Research coming out of Psychology Today says leaders are one third born to two thirds raised.
Kris Fannon in Intelivate, January 29, 2018, says we are asking the wrong question. “A leader is to leadership as a parent is to parenting. Great parents are naturals. They have instincts that only other amazing parents can understand. Does that mean that great parents are great at parenting right from the start? No! Most of their time, in the beginning, is learning from mistakes, learning from each other, and learning through experience.”
Serena Wade-Harrington has been recognized for her leadership abilities. She is now on the Champlain Valley Head Start Policy Council. She is on the Policy Council because her children are in Head Start. She is a leader because she said yes when asked. She is using the voice she has been given to make sure that those principles and values she believes in are promoted. She works on a statewide level to promote strong families and is no longer sitting on the sidelines.
When asked about one characteristic that makes a leader she said without hesitation “show up. I noticed that many people said yes to projects and then were absent when the work started. You have to be present, to show up and speak up. I was given an opportunity and it was nurtured.”
Laura Wilson is the Director of Operations at Cathedral Square and Acting Executive Director for Pillsbury Manor. She is in the business of making sure that the elderly live out their lives in comfort, safety and in days that hold meaning. Laura is a strong and determined woman who exudes elegance, grace and compassion. She is willing to admit that she doesn’t have all the answers and at the same time is ready to take the risks that get the job done well. The respect that she shows staff and residents is given back to her in equal measure. Laura is a Board Member for CVOEO.
We live in perilous times. To do the work of bridging gaps and building futures we need one third leadership born and two thirds leadership raised.
Jan F. Demers is the Executive Director of CVOEO.

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