Courage to Lead (CTL) is a program that has been carefully designed to help leaders in healthcare and other serving professions answer the question "who is the person that leads?" It is rooted in the belief that effective leadership flows from the identity and integrity of the individual. CTL is an approach to personal and professional development called leader formation. Through the formation process participants reflect on how their selfhood affects the way they relate to colleagues, their leadership tasks, their organization, and the world. Formation work is framed by questions such as: “How can I engage in leadership roles and be true to myself?” “In what ways are my inner life and outer work connected?” “How can I find joy and fulfillment in my leadership roles and activities?” and “How can I bring my optimal gifts and skills to bear in my work?”

Courage to Lead is a nine month program of four quarterly retreats. In large group, small group, and solitary settings, leadership and life questions are explored, using personal stories, reflections on various experiences of leadership, and poetry and stories from diverse wisdom traditions. The formation process, guided by the Circle of Trust Approach®, involves the creation of an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual space in which participants can listen and respond to each other with encouragement and compassion. Without abandoning the outer world, formation is the process of creating quiet, focused, and disciplined space in which the noise within and around us can subside and the voice of the inner teacher can be heard. This voice is central to reclaiming one’s vocational calling.

Courage to Lead retreats use the seasons of the year as a metaphor for formation work. The themes of the seasons – dormancy and deep growth, renewal, abundance, seeding and harvesting – provide the contextual framework of the retreats. With the seasons of the year as a backdrop, Courage to Lead retreats provide those who participate:

  • An opportunity to explore questions of meaning and purpose, of calling, of the relationship of inner life and outer work
  • Time to explore the intersection of “soul” and “role”
  • Opportunities to discern and claim birthright gifts and to consider how those gifts can best be used in leadership activities
  • A chance to consider what it means to be authentic – in life and in leadership roles
  • An opportunity to reflect on how to engage in leadership roles out of a deep sense of identity and integrity
  • A context for deep connection with others that honors differences

Each CTL group is composed of twelve participants, accepted on a first come, first served basis.

The facilitators for the Courage to Lead Program are Penny R. Williamson, ScD, FAACH and Hanna B. Sherman, MD, FAAP.

download full brochure and application here (pdf)