Bioneers Co-Founder Nina Simons’ Picks for the Everywoman’s Leadership Programming at the 2017 Conference.
All our systems – social, ecological, economic, educational and political – seem to be undergoing turbulent, transformative change. In response, I believe all of us are being called upon to step up our skillfulness, involvement and effectiveness. As much as possible, I hope many of us may be cultivating ourselves toward greater leadership in whatever sphere of life we may feel called.
I believe one of the Bioneers Conference’s greatest values is that it provides a uniquely empowering space, one that has inspired many people to enter the path of leadership and equipped them with valuable knowledge and connections. And even for those of us who may already be more established in our roles and engagements, it’s a great place to keep learning, uncover our blind spots, cultivate new skills and be exposed to new, inspiring people, movements and ideas. It’s also a great space to discover the interdependence among the issues we face.
One of the things that make Bioneers unique is its very strong programming highlighting the leadership of women, Indigenous peoples and youth.
The Indigenous Forum, the Youth Program and the broader conference with its multitude of talks, workshops and special events offer a wide array of intriguing possibilities. I write to share with you my excitement about those that are nearest to my heart. These include sessions related to the Everywoman’s Leadership program and a few others featuring an array of truly extraordinary innovators, thinkers and doers whose words and presence I am especially enthused to experience.
For those of you who – perhaps like me – desire an opportunity to stretch your bodies or use other parts of yourselves than listening in the afternoons, programs on the island are intended to address that yearning. The council tent is a place to sit in circle and listen into all the voices who may opt to speak, surfacing a field in each session that promises to be emergent and relevant, interactive and real.
If, like me, you learn best by doing, please check out the ‘women’s tent,’ (which is actually everyone’s tent, as all are welcome). Every afternoon features interactive, embodied and experiential sessions curated with great facilitators addressing some of the most exciting growth opportunities of our time with social practices that can improve your skillfulness.
Since women everywhere have experienced feeling unseen, objectified, stereotyped or undervalued, we believe we share an empathic window into oppression. The Everywoman’s Leadership program has therefore wrapped its arms widely and inclusively around seemingly disparate issues of climate, economic and social justice, and valuing diversity for beloved community, and we are honored to bring you world-class emergent conversations and innovators.
Among the innovative collaborations I’ve been admiring this past year, is the ambitious collective effort called It Takes Roots to Build Resistance. Several esteemed groups working from the grassroots to the canopy, addressing both community education, engagement and organizing and connecting it to changes at the policy level, this climate justice effort is doing the hard work of connecting their efforts across many divides and is highly worthy of all of our attention.
Here are some of the panels that I would like to highlight:
- How can we gather in ways that appreciate, value and name racial, class or other divides, by Making the Invisible Visible? Join esteemed faculty from Naropa University to discover and learn together
- How do we improve our capacity for Working with Difference? Join Ginny McGinn and friends to find out who for many years helped us to evolve Bioneers prior to her current leadership collaboration with the Center for Whole Communities.
- What Value Emotions?, on Saturday afternoon, features two truly brilliant sociologists – Arlie Russell Hochschild (author of the bestseller Strangers in Their Own Land, about the emotional underpinnings of Trump supporters in the deep South) and Karla McClaren (author of The Language of Emotions, currently working with emotion theater to help educate people with autism). Each has turned her focus onto how emotions can enhance our understanding of what causes people to behave as oddly as we often do. They will be interviewed by media-maker Ayana Young, creator of For The Wild podcast series, who has a remarkable capacity to delve swiftly and eloquently into the depths and synthesize meanings fluidly to follow the flow. My recent podcast with her is available here.
- Learn to practice social biomimicry in Leading with Nature’s Guidance, or explore how the archetypal feminine and masculine live in our bodies, regardless of our gendered identity, in Embodied Restoration. You might enjoy learning to inhabit your body’s deep intelligence more fully, with Walking Transformation, which gets rave reviews each year.
- Join us for an experience of Relational Mindfulness that Eden, one of my teaching partners, calls “the subtlest form of self-love.” Or sample the feisty fertility of Women and Regenerative Design, savoring some wise, wily and dedicated social and ecological permaculture practitioners.
- To explore how women leading change are transforming our economic systems, check out Women Moving Money. While the historic Women’s March revealed a promise for women’s collaborative leadership, it also revealed many of the fault-lines that exist among disparate and factionalized communities within women’s movement-building. For an edgy exploration of the opportunities available to women of privilege to leverage our power in useful and effective ways, come to White Women Wake Up!
- In collaboration with john a. powell’s Haas Center for a Fair and Inclusive Society, we are honored to present Reclaiming Belonging, which will feature some of the most vital, wise and engaged thinkers, artists and organizers of our time in re-imagining what’s needed to reinvent a world that works for all.
- To address what Standing Rock so vividly expressed as the key role of integrating Art with Politics & Spirit to advance social change (with exceptionally eloquent and wise culture synthesizer Arlene Goldbard leading the conversation). And, in deference to the key role of narrative in shaping culture, Storytelling: Instructions for Now from our Ancestors will be a knockout, featuring wisdom tales from Judaism and the Navajo nation, with innovative feminist Rabbi Tirzah Firestone and the magical and profound Diné storyteller Sunny Dooley.
- And, if you’ve got kids, or are engaged with reimagining education to weave in relational intelligence and emotional integrity, you’ll be inspired by Revolutionizing Education, with Laura Weaver from Passageworks, who is working with highly diverse classrooms in Colorado, and Kate Lipkis, who is working to embed the practice of council in the LA Unified School District.
- And since we’re all learning to listen more deeply for guidance on how to engage with whatever change we’re involved with – from nature, ancestors and future descendants – Leading from the Emergent Future will gather the wise voices and visions of elder educator and Buddhist practitioner Joanna Macy, of The Work that Reconnects, Jay Harman, brilliant biomimicry inventor and author, and Prajna Marcus, of The Coherence Lab.
All in all, it’s a smorgasbord of unparalleled excellence, juiciness and discovery. I so hope you’ll join us for it, and deepen your own leadership inquiry and practice to serve this momentous time we’re all a part of, in the best way possible for you.