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Digital Leadership: Discovering What's Possible with Val Cortes

This week the Resilient Leadership Program, with signature sponsor Coast Capital Savings, ventured into a familiar topic in a pandemic-stricken world: digital leadership.


The Resilient Leadership Program is an initiative to support the leadership teams of our community-serving organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic. This week's session invited organizations from across Vancouver Island to drop in and collaborate on topics such as leading from a distance and digital tools. The burning question is this: how can we connect from a distance?


Our facilitator, Val Cortes, is a Leadership Facilitator and Educator. Val works with post-secondary institutions and community organizations, designing learning experiences and processes aimed at transforming our way of being, thinking, and doing. She designs and facilitates face-to-face and online learning spaces where we can all learn from each other, feel connected, and empowered to take action to enhance our organizations and communities.

When leading in the digital era, we need to accept the notion of a hybrid approach to project management. In order to connect internally with our teams and externally with our community, we must acknowledge that we are all showing up to the conversation with a wide range of capacities and unique skills. Connection must be accessible, and we must be creative about engaging our people and meeting their needs.


Use a variety of tools, methods, and processes to get people engaged. We have to acknowledge the limitations of both our technological and physical space- and use the practices that build the bridge between them. Remember the ancient tools of a pen and paper? We used them in the session to illustrate our leadership "metaphors," the image we see when we think of leaders.


Learn the tools. Lifelong learning in the digital age means finding the space to explore our options and stay up to date with innovation. In today's session we used Zoom as our main facilitation, and practiced a variety of functions; including reactions, chat, collaborative breakout rooms, screen sharing, polls, and more. We also used Mentimeter, a technology that allows users to build interactive presentations. We used the "Word Cloud" function to collaborate on our leadership values. Find out more about that function by clicking here. We also utilized Google Slides, where we worked on a document simultaneously via a shared platform.


Go slow. Adapting means adjusting expectations and rediscovering what's possible for your team. Meetings are going to be met with new challenges, and we must take our time to achieve true collaboration. We aren't perfect, but neither is technology- bumps in the road are opportunities for learning.


Have fun. At the heart of it all, leadership is about relationship building and finding the space to connect- virtual space can serve the same function in a different way. Get creative with your tools, check in with your team, and find the opportunities to engage in authentic ways.


We extend our gratitude to Val Cortes for this inspiring learning session, and to our signature sponsor Coast Capital Savings and the support from the City of Victoria in making the Resilient Leadership Program a reality. This program will continue to run for 5 more weeks- and it is not too late to join!


Learn more about the program by clicking here.

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We acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-speaking peoples on whose traditional territories our organization works, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and the WSANEC peoples who historical relationships with the land continue to this day. 

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