Carrying Summer Learning into a Life of Leadership
Dr. Hunter Taylor
Clinical Assistant Professor, Teacher Education
Affiliate Faculty, Center for the Study of Southern Culture
The University of Mississippi
While a student member of a teacher recruitment cohort, and later an alum, Dr. Taylor participated in workshops and listening sessions facilitated by the Collective.
What did you do? What did you learn?
In regards to what I learned – the Institute, now known as the Alluvial Collective, stressed the importance of creating the right environments for authentic conversations to take place. Then, storytelling and listening were emphasized.
How have you used the things you learned in other areas of your life?
I think I pause a lot more. I’m not as eager to get my message across. I want others to feel like every meeting or class that I lead is a “We” space. I spend a lot more time thinking about collective agreements that we all need to share in order for the best conversations/meetings to take place.
How did the experience help you grow as a person and leader?
Von modeled the Alluvial Collective core values really well when we worked together. I don’t remember everything that was on the handouts that we used for our sessions, but I remember how he made sure everyone was on board before something began. He didn’t rush. His message was thoughtful. Everyone felt like this was something that was authentic. I remember how valued he made me feel in addition to the others. I try to do the same thing now as a leader.
Describe any particularly memorable or powerful moments that you remember.
I think when Von went over the shared agreements document, that moment stuck with me the most. Each statement said a lot more than its word count. It was the perfect way for our session to begin.
What makes their approach unique?
They include everyone in the process. It’s not one person talking to a group. It’s a conversation, in a safe space, where meaningful results are the goal. It’s hard not to buy into something like that.
Would you encourage others to participate in the organization’s programs? Why?
Absolutely. You’ll learn more about others. You’ll learn more about yourself. And you’ll learn how to be a more effective team leader.