Teri’s journey of inspiration & leading change

This week we’re sharing the story of Teri, who is a learner on our Leading Change for Good programme.

“Looking back, I think it was my heart for advocacy and my steadfast belief in the ‘good of the people’ that has eventually brought me here to The Mind Lab.”

Teri shares how she was first inspired to learn after fighting against the education system on behalf of her children, and how her journey to lead change needed additional input and inspiration to create maximum impact.

Let’s start with an introduction, tell us your story…

Years ago, as a mum of four young children, I found myself pushing hard against an education system that seemed hell bent on identifying what was wrong with my children, rather than what was right. Each of my children struggled in different ways to fit the traditional mould of learning approaches and expectations. As a person who loves learning but was totally frustrated with the system, rather ironically, I headed back to study with the express desire to learn how to join with educators and help my children be valued for who they are. I believe you don’t take a circle and try to make it a square… you help it become the best circle it can be.

On completing a Diploma in Counselling specialising in children and young people, I quickly used my passion and my children’s experience to help others to overcome learning environment challenges. For over ten years I worked as a counsellor in various schools, contracted to the Ministry of Education Wrap Around Service. However I was always the ambulance at the bottom of the hill, and eventually I realised I needed to do more to empower people before it got to these situations.

I created Lighthouse – a leadership self-assessment model designed to put therapeutic tools / resources back into the hands of everyday people. At the same time I completed a Masters in Social Practice, researching within the community the effectiveness of the Lighthouse tool.

Created for a purpose: implementation and evaluation of the Lighthouse Programme. Student talent identification and exploration as a means of increasing collaboration and lifting academic self-concept (researchbank.ac.nz)

On completion of my Masters research in 2013 and filled with lots of passion for the purpose but not a lot of business strategic know-how, I tried to launch Lighthouse more actively into the community in a business sense. It fell flat… which of course was devastating. I realised this set back was largely due to funding, and in hindsight a lack of organisational wisdom.

Tired of pushing against the tide and seeking to understand how to lead change for good on a more practical level, I have spent the last two and a half years working part time in the not-for-profit sector as I continue to collaborate with the community and fine tune and strengthen the Lighthouse model.

I believe we all have leadership potential and that ultimately leading change begins here – drawing out the ‘good stuff’, understanding the leader within and learning to embrace the space, whatever it means for each of us.

Essentially that is what enrolling in this the Leading Change for Good programme is all about for me. If you want to lead change for good, does it not make sense to connect with those who are already doing it well? This journey with The Mind Lab is helping me to draw out and consolidate all the strings of knowledge I have learned over the years and to ‘ready my feet’ to try again with my endeavour to empower children, young people and their families.

What have you learned so far on the programme? And what did you find out about yourself?

I have learned and continue to learn from The Mind Lab’s collaborative approach. They act as a guide to encourage the sharing of stories – others out there in the community courageously leading change for good – and the recognition of how those stories interconnect to empower practical community implementation essentially models transformational change. 

Actually, it’s really hard to put all the learnings and lightbulb moments into words, you don’t know what you know or don’t know until it’s tested. Essentially so far (I know there’s more to come) it’s really made me dig deep into what I truly believe and value as a leader and to consider how that would look in an organisational platform. This is sometimes scary stuff but courageously essential. 

You get gold out of this programme… often in unexpected ways.

How do you balance your work and study?

The balance between work and study can be challenging at times but the beauty of this programme is that expectations are reasonable – you just need to plan well and give yourself a bit of grace.

Personally my time commitment has varied depending on work pressures and also topics discussed each week. Some topics have been very familiar and others not so much – so some weeks I’ve only done 4-6 hours and others well over 10. The topics that I am really interested in I have found myself continuing to investigate further and reflect on well after they’ve ended. I’ve found the key for me is not worrying so much about the hours that I put in but placing more focus on my study time being of quality and purpose. 

In one way or another you will get out what you put in. The time spent just building connections with people and learning from them is so incredibly valuable.

Why is a programme like Leading Change for Good so important, especially given the current state of the world?

I think any programme that begins by encouraging people to consider themselves as a leader, who can lead change for good, is already empowering a positive strengths-based confident self-perception.

This world needs more organisations and people that encourage us to hit ‘refresh’ and start thinking about ourselves as valuable, unique individuals who have amazing potential to lead change for good.

Is there anything else you think would be important for people to know about Leading Change for Good?

You may not be able to control or alter all your environmental conditions, but you are the writer and narrator of your own story… start there… start leading change for good. 

Spread the knowledge

Ready to start your leading change story?

Our postgraduate certificate in Leading Change for Good has an October 2021 intake coming up and multiple intakes starting throughout 2022. Sign up today and start your journey.