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Leading from Where You Are: Reflections from Crossnore’s Leadership Academy


If someone asked you today, “Do you see yourself as a leader”, how would you answer?

Launching Leadership Academy

Last October, Crossnore’s Executive Leadership Team launched an internal leadership academy for staff across our agency.  It was open to anyone motivated and committed to make the time and effort required.  We intentionally opened it up to all positions of the organization with no prerequisites like, “must be in a formal leadership role” or “must consider oneself a leader”.  We wanted everyone to feel they could belong because we believe that anyone can lead from where they are. 

For me, the answer to the opening question has definitely been a journey.  I remember years ago taking my first formal leadership role and seeing staff in the hallway who were my peers the previous Friday but as of that Monday morning worked for me.  We spoke, we were kind, we smiled.  I probably said something rambly; I can’t remember.  What I do remember is how I felt inside and what I told myself.  I was anxious, felt inadequate, and thought, “Who am I to lead these people?”  But, I didn’t run.

Instead, I leaned in.

I learned so much from that team of staff and that experience was a milestone of my leadership journey.  My goal in getting a doctoral degree in organizational leadership had always been to develop and share curriculum to help others ignite their leadership spark.  Having experienced my own doubts, self-criticisms, and moments with imposter syndrome, I knew I couldn’t be the only one.  

Fast forward to 2023, I was able to pull out the leadership curriculum that had been sitting on my “virtual shelf” for three years and work with my executive colleagues to create an experience that was as rewarding for us as it was for those who signed up.  We focused on sharing our own leadership experiences and allowing participants to share, connect, and teach each other.  It was honestly one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my career as a leader.

Together in Leadership Academy…

We watched this group of professionals grow, support, and challenge each other. We watched as they learned about themselves and deepened their connections.  We laughed, we cried, we danced.  We celebrated, we hugged, and we ate good food!  We heard stories of reframing who they believe they are, of fierceness in pain, of remaining authentic no matter what.  We heard testimonies of God’s goodness and direction, of finding real connection, of knowing one can’t pour from an empty cup.  We heard stories of leadership that started from childhood, of showing up as the true shade of oneself, of embracing the walk God has ahead.  We heard about daring leadership, deep purpose, and true belonging.  We heard about finding worthiness in taking up space.  We heard countless stories of how individuals were able to see themselves differently answer the opening question with “Yes, I am a leader.

I was deeply impacted by the honesty and vulnerability that my colleagues shared in this experience.  My takeaway from this experience is:  As a leader, when you take the time to see your people, you will be blessed beyond measure by the beauty that shines through.

At Crossnore, we believe it is imperative to invest in our rising leaders. We are excited to continue this journey with our next group of staff later this year.