‘Dare to Lead’ builds courageous leaders
Series based upon the work of researcher Brené Brown
January 31, 2022
ACSA is offering a new online professional development series based on the work of bestselling author Brené Brown. In “Dare to Lead™: An ACSA Academy for Women Leaders,” participants will explore Brown’s research during a series of eight, 3-hour virtual sessions.
Sessions will be led by Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator Mickey Porter, an ACSA member with nearly 30 years of experience leading California schools. We asked Porter to share what participants can expect from this unique PD opportunity.
Tell me a little more about your background in education.
I’m at heart a middle school teacher — 12- to 13-year-olds are my people. My experience in administration in education includes designing and opening a middle school; leading a 1,200-student middle school; moving to elementary education as a superintendent/principal; was a regional director for a state program; most recently was deputy superintendent of Instruction at Sonoma COE. I left that position five years ago to start PlusONE Leadership. In this role, I focus on coaching, especially for women in leadership.
Why are many women leaders feeling overwhelmed right now? Authors Emily and Amelia Nagoski, relying on the work of Kate Manne, describe this as Human Giver Syndrome: “Believing that you have a moral obligation — that is you owe it to your family, the world, or even to yourself, to be pretty, happy, calm, generous and attentive to the needs of others.” At any time, women are expected to place others over self. During this time of the pandemic, we are expected to give at work to help everyone else feel “OK” and ready to do the work they need to do; we’re expected to value the needs of our partner over our own; and if we have children — well “mothering” is our second full-time job in which putting the needs of others over our own is par for the course. What the pandemic has done is to exacerbate our role as the “human giver” during a time when we find ourselves with little in the tank.
Many ACSA members may already be familiar with Brené Brown’s research, but can you tell us what her work is all about? I think Brené’s greatest gift is her amazing ability to put clear language to skills, concepts or ideas. Officially, Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. Brené is also a visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy and is the author of six #1 New York Times best sellers, including “Dare to Lead.”
How is taking this training different from just reading her book? I get asked this question a lot. If you’re like me, I read a book and can be very inspired, challenged and impressed by the ideas in the book, but am not always so great at integrating the ideas from the book into my life and leadership. This was certainly true for me when I read “Dare to Lead” for the first time. The difference is that the training breaks apart the concepts from the book in ways that help to radically change our leadership practice. The training is full of reflection that leads to action. Taking the training with other leaders also makes the space for shared insights and applications to be shared.
You are a specially trained Dare to Lead™ Facilitator. What kind of training did you receive? First off, the application process to become a Certified Dare to Lead™ facilitator was pretty brutal! I awaited hearing if I was admitted like a teenager waiting to hear back from their favorite college to see if they got in! I learned later that they accepted less than 5 percent of the applications, so I was very honored to be chosen to participate. The training was held in Texas over three full days. Of great surprise to me was that Brené conducted the training herself! Being in a room with 100 other soon-to-be certified trainers listening to Brené teach us how to facilitate her content for three days was a highlight of my professional life for sure.
Twenty-four hours of learning sounds like a lot of content! Is there a reason why the series is scheduled this way? It certainly is a lot of content! This is why the series is broken up into eight 3-hour sessions when we are coming together virtually. In person, I typically facilitate the 24 hours in three 8-hour days — also a lot of time! The feedback I’ve gotten with the current schedule is that because we take a 10-minute movement break at the top of each hour, and the content is so interactive, the three hours go by quickly. Joining together for eight sessions creates an amazing connectedness for the participants. Doing this with a group of ACSA women is such an opportunity to build on the great women’s networks already in place throughout the state.
What are attendees of this series going to walk away knowing about themselves? What a great question. I hear that one of the main things that participants leave with is a renewed value for who they are, and why understanding themselves is the key to being a daring leader. Brené’s phrase: “Who you are is how you lead” is a key takeaway. Participants will leave with a 70-page workbook full of activities and reflections that we’ll visit together as well. A specific tool that many people share was “worth the cost of admission” are the “Rumble Tools” and “5 C’s” that are tools we learn to help us to stay in the hard conversations when we want to “armor up” and not fully show up.
Dare to Lead™: An ACSA Academy for Women Leaders
When: Feb. 25-26, March 11-12, March 25-26, April 8-9 Where: ACSA Online Learning Center Cost: $249 for ACSA members Register: onlinelearning.acsa.org/courses/dare-to-lead
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