Member Experiences: Deep Dive into Leadership

In fall 2016, 12 WA Women’s Foundation members signed up for our pilot “Leadership Institute” series. The Leadership Institute provided a “deep dive” into leadership training in the style of WA Women’s hallmark grant making curriculum – with hands-on, cohort-based, experiential learning.

WA Women’s Foundation member Janet Boguch led our inaugural Leadership Institute on the topic of “Leading Greatly.” The curriculum was based on Dr. Brene Brown’s research and books Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection and Rising Strong. Click here to see Brene Brown’s TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability.”Participants worked on connection, courage, vulnerability and what it takes to live a “wholehearted life” as a leader, parent, friend and person in the world.

Scroll down to read from two of these participants, Elizabeth Curtiss and Liz McGrath, about their experiences.

Curtiss ElizabethElizabeth Curtiss, Member since 2016

I heard about the Leading Greatly workshop at the spring New Member Social. A multi-week program focused around women’s leadership sounded fantastic, and the opportunity to connect with other members was a big draw for me as well since I’m a new member.

Many of the 11 other group members either knew Janet Boguch or had read Brene´ Brown’s Daring Greatly book. I think I was the only person that wasn’t familiar with either, so frankly my expectations weren’t super high. My hope was to just learn a bit and have a weekly appointment to force reflection.

I was immediately very impressed with both Janet and the curriculum. Janet is a wonderful, insightful and engaging facilitator and I’d recommend working with her to anyone. She’s one of those amazing women who people learn from and grow just by being in her presence. It was as if she unlocked our creativity so that we could see things more clearly and guide us to more whole-hearted lives. Janet and my group (made up of fantastic women) quickly became a connected, supportive cohort who guided each other on a variety of individual growth paths.

Brene´ Brown’s book was also quite compelling and opened my eyes up to sides of human nature that I hadn’t considered before. Brown’s insight about shame and whole hearted living were very interesting and deeply touched me especially as a mother of two girls.  The concepts of self-protection or “armoring up,” self-criticism and, as women, feeling the need to be everything to everyone are things I hope my daughters (4 and 14) can avoid. So, in addition to taking away a great deal of insight into myself, I feel like I gained tools to be a better parent.

The Daring Greatly tools and videos Janet used throughout were stellar, and, although our group was drawn to the workshop for many different reasons, it was clear that everyone got a huge amount out of it. We shared a lot of laughter as well as some touching moments during our time together, and I think I can safely say that the other members of the group also enjoyed it immensely.

It was interesting to hear about the different points that resonated with each of the others, as well as be each other’s support system during the 6 weeks. It was such a unique way to get to know other WA Women’s Foundation members, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to know this group of strong, intelligent and caring women.

Thank you to Washington Women’s Foundation for offering this amazing workshop! The training component is one of the things that drew me to WA Women’s Foundation and the Leading Greatly workshop was an great way to begin my membership.


McGrath LizLiz McGrath, Member since 2015
Committees Served: Pooled Fund Grants – Education (2015), Co-Leader Health (2016), Site Visit (2016); Member Engagement (2016 – present)

This past year I participated in the “Leading Greatly” workshop facilitated by Janet Boguch. We were a small group of 12 women coming together to work on connection, courage, vulnerability and what it takes to live a “whole-hearted life” as a leader, parent, friend and person in the world.

We met in the oasis of Janet’s office – which is overflowing with comfort, tranquility and décor, to bring out the creativity in everyone.

We were all drawn to the workshop for different reasons. Some were facing personal or professional transitions, some were interested in women’s leadership, while others were exploring confidence or wanted to take time for reflection and planning. We were all there to build relationships with other WA Women’s Foundation members.

The workshop was based on Brene Brown’s concept of the Daring WayTM. Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do. The first step is giving ourselves permission to show up.

One of my favorite concepts from the workshop was the Marble Jar Friends. It is really an elementary concept – trust is like that jar of marbles. Being a “marble jar friend” is a role that must be earned – those people in your life that you share difficult stories and discuss hard times with. When you assess a relationship, you look to see how full that person’s jar is – look for the people who’s jars are overflowing with good listening, kindness or teamwork – like kindergarten.

Liz McGrath picture of marbles

Liz’s Marble Jar Friends

Thanks to this workshop, I will be a more empathetic listener to my friends, family and clients. I’m grateful to Washington Women’s Foundation for organizing these educational events – one of the many perks of membership.

The timing of this workshop was especially good as we ended the year with some tools to face new year’s resolutions and planning for a happy, successful, joyful healthy 2017!

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