“When you listen, it’s amazing what you can learn. When you act on what you’ve learned, it’s amazing what you can change.” – Audrey McLaughlin, Canadian Parliament Leader
A note from Spellbinders Council Chair, Jenny Henke
Listening is a natural part of the Spellbinders culture. Our goal as storytellers is for audiences to embrace the story, to take it to heart. We value the process of active listening, transformative learning and ultimately the outcome of converting a lesson into action.
Leading through listening is what the Council of Trustees has tried to do in developing the Strategic Plan that will guide us until May 2018. There have been many opportunities to listen and learn: collaborative discussions among our leaders and volunteers at the annual conferences and Front Range Forum gatherings; visits to chapter meetings by Trustees and Executive Director Catherine Johnson; and ongoing, one-on-one conversations between members of the Spellbinders Resource Center and the Spellbinders family.
The result is a plan focused on the most important messages the Council received. First, make volunteer recruitment, training, placement, retention and development the highest priorities. Second, keep storytelling center stage, assuring that it is a joyful and uplifting experience for our audiences and volunteers. Third, secure the resources – leadership, educational support, financial relationships — that Spellbinders will need for generations to come to continue sharing the gift of story.
The Strategic Plan is a blueprint of clear priorities, supported by specific strategies, and propelled by ambitious but doable action steps. Long- and short-term needs are addressed. Its language is concise and direct. There are timelines for tasks, measurements of progress and accountability. It’s also a living document. When conditions change, when something new is learned or when a creative approach seems promising, we will adapt and adjust.
Most importantly, the plan’s specifics will be viewed through the lens of a keystone philosophy: All members of the Spellbinders family feel connected to, passionate about, and responsible for the organization.
That will require a lot of listening and learning.
Chair, Spellbinders Council of Trustees
Storyteller, Spellbinders Oral Storytellers of Larimer County