Introducing the Gratitude Gala 2016 Honorees: Alexandra Bell

As we lead up to our Gratitude Gala 2016 , we are excited to highlight the 2016 LiFe Award Recipients; Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Dorian Baroni, and Alexandra Bell.

Alexandra Bell completed EFLI’s Activating Leadership Program in 2013, and now continues to support EFLI’s growth by spearheading the efforts to bring EFLI to Japan. Join us December 9 at our Gratitude Gala 2016, where will honor her passion and embodiment of EFLI values in the world.

Alexandra took the time to answer our questions about life, leadership, and inspiration. Please read on for her courageous and inspired answers.

Alex with EFLI team members, Summer 2014

Alex with EFLI team members, Summer 2014

What does being a member of the EFLI community mean to you?

AB: The summer I participated in Activating Leadership, EFLI provided me with a community of women who listened, supported, and learned with me when I needed it most. Ever since, the EFLI community has been a second home to me. I have learned so much at EFLI and continue to value and embody EFLI philosophies and practices in my life. EFLI pushes me from a place of love, which has helped me grow as a person. EFLI encourages me to pursue my passions and dreams. Through my work continuing to support EFLI's growth, I have been able to meet with incredible women organizers in Japan and, this past summer, had the opportunity to co-facilitate a workshop with my sister on art and social change. The EFLI community has become a second family for me that is ever growing and evolving. I know that whatever I do and wherever I go in life, I have a community of people who will support me through it.

 

How would you describe your leadership style?

AB: My leadership style is constantly changing and evolving as I continue to learn and grow. Key aspects of my leadership style I would say are listening, positivity, and collaboration.

  • Listening: I believe listening is really important in leadership because not enough people in power actually listen to others, choosing instead to silence them. I work to practice real, deep listening with everyone I engage in conversation with.
  • PositivityI am a very positive and optimistic person and maintain these attributes as a leader. I try to see the best in every situation and have a positive attitude when working. I work from a place of love, anger, and hope and I try to emulate this when working with others and in leadership roles.
  • Collaboration: I believe that when everyone is able to actively participate in a project, the project is only strengthened. We all have so much to learn from one another.

 

What is the biggest challenge you see facing young people today?

AB: I think young people face many challenges that are unique to the individual and are not faced alone. Before joining EFLI, I felt really isolated. Even though I had friends in school and played on sports teams, I still felt alone. Through EFLI I saw that the challenges I was facing were valid and real. I learned the language to name these struggles and found a community to work through them with. I believe it is really important for all people to have communities that are founded on deep love, support, and connection and don't think we have enough of these spaces for young people.

Alex works on an art project during her Activating Leadership session, Summer 2013

Alex works on an art project during her Activating Leadership session, Summer 2013

Who inspires you, and why?

AB: My mom inspires me, each and everyday. I am inspired by her strength, compassion, love, wisdom, confidence, and resilience.

 

If you had 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

AB: Passionate, caring, reflective

Alex in Japan during the EFLI expansion trip, January 2016

Alex in Japan during the EFLI expansion trip, January 2016

Join us on December 9 as we celebrate Alexandra Bell and her remarkable achievements at the Gratitude Gala 2016. For tickets and more information, please visit: http://www.efli-life.org/2016gala

Introducing the Gratitude Gala 2016 Honorees: Dorian Baroni

As we lead up to our Gratitude Gala 2016 , we are excited to highlight the 2016 Life Award Recipients; Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Dorian Baroni, and Alexandra Bell.

In Summer 2014, Dorian Baroni created and facilitated powerful programming for EFLI participants based on her experience as an Executive Coach and Coming Into Your Own faculty member. Join us in celebrating Dorian on December 9 at the Gratitude Gala 2016, where we will honor her commitment to feminine leadership practices and dedication to transformative facilitation.

This week, Dorian took some time to answer EFLI’s questions about life, leadership, and inspiration. Please read on for her insightful answers.

Dorian at EFLI's August 2014 Closing Ceremony.

Dorian at EFLI's August 2014 Closing Ceremony.

What does being a member of the EFLI community mean to you?

DB: At my current stage of work and life, being a part of the EFLI community is about being connected to the future of women's leadership contributions. I have been emboldened, inspired and encouraged by the power of witnessing EFLI participants' changing capacity to see themselves, supporting each other while growing into their own, and asking difficult questions about assumptions, mindsets and societal inequities before finding a way to take action. It is  a true joy to be involved in a community that encourages participants to walk the path of their individual and collective leadership.

 

How would you describe your leadership style?

DB: My leadership style is informed by a set of unshakable beliefs that shape me and my connection to others: that we are all here to fulfill a calling that is uniquely ours to live out. That we are all inherently connected and interdependent. And that we each carry within us the capacity to choose how we might nurture our light and integrate our shadows.

 

What is the biggest challenge you see facing young people today?

DB: The biggest challenge, in my view, is how to not let oneself be taken over completely by the narrative that our world is falling apart, and instead stay inspired, centered and emboldened by a broader perspective that acknowledges the powerful momentum of the positive, all the while taking action to improve what is not acceptable. A singular overfocus on what is not working puts us at risk of missing the fuller picture and the potential in any situation.  

These are undoubtedly challenging times, but all times have harbored their particular set of challenges. I don't believe the ones we face now are any larger or smaller than those of previous generations. They are simply the ones that are ours to overcome.

Dorian shares a moment of silence with EFLI participants, July 2014

Dorian shares a moment of silence with EFLI participants, July 2014

Who inspires you, and why?

DB: Those who truly inspire me are the people who live their lives in service to others: artists who open portals for beauty to shine forth for us; humanitarian relief workers who put themselves on the line every day to bring essentials to people in need; healers who bring their gifts to bear for those who are physically or emotionally impacted; everyday people who approach their work with a spirit of collaboration, compassion and vocation; family members who attend to the small rituals of life to uplift and celebrate with those they love; activists who choose to leave the comfort of the status quo to stand for ideals that need upholding, regardless of the cost; educators who truly care about nurturing the gifts and talents of their students.  

When I pay attention to these everyday heroes whose paths I cross in my work and my life, it reminds me to notice the spark of life that shines in each of us, and it makes me feel the inherent connection we have to each other and the world around us.

 

If you had 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

DB: Edgewalker. Dreamer. Passionate.

 

Join us on December 9 as we celebrate Dorian Baroni and her remarkable achievements at the Gratitude Gala 2016. For tickets and more information, please visit: http://www.efli-life.org/2016gala

Introducing the Youth Ambassador Board

Meet the 2016-2017 Youth Ambassador Board (YAB) - a select group of program participants responsible for guiding EFLI in decision making and program development! With monthly meetings throughout the academic year, YAB members help to create EFLI community events, plan summer programming, and generally advise the EFLI staff.

YAB is made up of four committees: Connection, Community, Visioning, and Sustainability. Working together over the course of this past year, each committee has been instrumental in planning the  Second Annual Gratitude Gala, taking place on December 9, 2016 in Irvington, NY.

The incredible members of YAB have been supportive of all parts of the Gala planning process:  from drafting an invitee list, managing outreach, planning the evening’s agenda, organizing the post-Gala party for young people, and so much more. Through this experience, YAB members gain valuable skills in event planning, marketing, and public speaking, all while practicing EFLI values of creativity, confidence, connection and community.

As we enter into our #seasonofgratitude, today, we invited YAB members to join us by sharing a little about what they are thankful for…

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"I'm thankful for EFLI being in my life, for the connections that I have made there, and for the opportunities and confidence that EFLI ensures."

- Paula, 2016-2017 YAB Treasurer

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“I am grateful for my family and the dynamic and interactions we share.
I am grateful for nature - sunsets, oceans, trees and flowers.
I am grateful for all I have learned and all I have been pushed to discover about myself and others through EFLI. I am grateful for the little moments - laughs, smiles, hugs shared with loved ones - those things that make all the difference in the world."

- Samantha, 2016-2017 YAB Co-Chair

"I am thankful for EFLI because it is a community where my opinions and ideas matter and I feel valued, supported and respected. It is a great place to be me!"

- Alexandra, 2016-2017 Visioning Committee Co-Chair

"I am grateful for this community which, after three years, continues to support and empower me, and for the wonderful staff at EFLI who constantly inspire me to keep growing."

- Ana, 2016-2017 YAB Co-Chair

"I am grateful for safe spaces where I can be myself; I’m really grateful EFLI came into my life and provided exactly that."

- Alexa, 2016-2017 Connection Committee Co-Chair

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We are so grateful to each of the members of YAB and all the brilliant work they do to support EFLI and their broader communities. If you’re interested in joining YAB and celebrating the amazing work they have done, please join us at the Second Annual Gratitude Gala on December 9, 2016.

 

Introducing the Gratitude Gala 2016 Honorees: Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

As we lead up to our Gratitude Gala 2016, we are excited to highlight the 2016 LiFe Award Recipients; Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Dorian Baroni, and Alexandra Bell.

Since the very beginning of her tenure in government, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has distinguished herself as a trailblazer in local and state government. With her strong belief in advocating for the underserved and championing the needs of working families, she continues to espouse her core values of empathy, empowerment and civic engagement as she serves in her current position as Democratic Conference Leader for New York State. Join us in honoring Senator Stewart-Cousins on December 9 at our Gratitude Gala 2016 in Irvington, NY, where we will celebrate her dedication to families, and for serving as a role model to the EFLI community and beyond.

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