Developing Women’s Leadership – Around the Globe

“Developing Women’s Leadership ~ Around the Globe,”   was a 2-year Project that engaged women leaders from 9 different cultures.

At this page you will find:

Overview of the Project

See a visual image showing the overview of this Project >>

Barbara and pat

Barbara Spraker, Director of the Project, and Pat Hughes, Leadership Developer, Author

In brief this Project includes identifying a woman leader, Country Convener, in 6 different countries/cultures who will commit to recruiting 8 – 10 women interested in enhancing their leadership competence and to facilitating two “Conversations” with them, the first to talk together about leadership abilities they have developed and wish to develop.  There will also be such conversations held with Antioch University Seattle students.  The information from these sessions will come to us and be compiled and studied, and out of it all a Workbook, Developing Women’s Leadership:  A Capacity Building Guide  will be developed and sent out to each group. We are planning a workbook type format that could be used by individual women – OR small groups of women for increasing their competence and confidence as leaders.

The Country Convener will call the original group together for the second “Conversation” to receive this Capacity Building Guide and to discuss ways they can use it to enhance their influence and impact as leaders.

The intention is an action research approach and our hope is that the women who meet will experience both being heard and will see themselves as a part of a global energy field of solidarity, as women world wide are stepping up more and more to lead where they see a need.  The Guide is envisioned as including a variety of development strategies, exercises, activities, stories, etc. that will be gleaned from the information provided by the participants.

In addition, a Women’s Leadership Conference will be held at Antioch University Seattle in the summer of 2013 at the conclusion of the project.  This will be an opportunity to share the results of this project and explore ways to leverage our collective learning.

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Would you like to connect with the Project?

This project is about learning ~
                     new, fresh, clean ways to think, perceive, respond
       We will be learning about ourselves,
              learning together as women from many cultures,
                     learning together about creating an energy field that
attracts, evokes potential, empowers and connects

This Project is a living, breathing adventure.  Our intention is to create many ways to participate so if you are interested in learning with us, this page will be a great resource for you.

  • We will be sharing stories here as the Project comes to life.  For example meet the Kitchen Cabinet, a small group of women volunteers in Seattle who will help guide the project, keeping it aligned with its intention and holding the energy for manifesting this vision.
  • We will introduce the Country Conveners as they are selected.
  • We will introduce the women who participate in the Conversations facilitated by the Country Conveners.
  • We will have a small group of Antioch University students who will engage in such a Conversation as described above, so if you are an Antioch student you may want to participate.
  • We also expect that Antioch students will co-design and co-facilitate the Women’s Leadership Conference in the summer of 2013. If you are a student or a recent alum you might want to participate in that way.
  • Fifteen other organizations that work in various ways to develop women’s leadership have indicated interest in learning along with us and we will be keeping them informed all along the way.  Perhaps your organization can use the information we will post here and the Guide that we develop in your own work in supporting women as they  enhance their competence and confidence as leaders.
  • Information from the Capacity Building Guide will be shared on this site.
  • Perhaps you are seeking to increase your own influence and impact as a leader and would like to receive a copy of the Guide.
  • Perhaps you work with women or train women and would like to have the Guide as a resource in your work.
  • Perhaps you have your own women’s Conversation Circle – wherever you are, and you can use this site as a way of expanding your understanding and connections to women around the globe.
  • We will need technology “know-how” as we explore the best ways to connect across distance and language difference.  Perhaps you have skills you would like to offer.
  • We will need financial resources beyond what the Grant provides as we develop and distribute the “Workbook” and plan and manage the Conference.  Perhaps you can help in that way.

Welcome to this learning adventure!

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The Kitchen Cabinet

Most non-governmental organizations, not-for-profit organizations and other service or volunteer organizations have a Board of Advisors.  Because this Project is about encouraging women’s leadership, our intention is to honor and amplify the ways women lead.   Hence, our “advisory board,” is a Kitchen Cabinet, a small group of trusted individuals willing to work together for a greater good.

The Kitchen Cabinet is a small group of women who are passionate about supporting women’s leadership development and eager to connect with and learn with women leaders in other cultures.  They have made a commitment to support and guide this Project, volunteering their time and energy.

Kitchen Cabinet
THE KITCHEN CABINET: (from top left, clockwise)

Pat Hughes, Leadership Developer, Author; Wendi Walsh (sunglasses), Senior ITS Manager, Parsons Brinkerhoff; Jennifer LaMarte, HR Manager; Roslyn Ericksen, Senior Account Manager, The Hartford; Kathleen Swirski, Senior Project Manager, Microsoft;  Barbara Spraker, Faculty, Antioch University Seattle, Director of the Project; Nicole Theberge, Student, Antioch University Seattle, Graduate Assistant to the Project; Laura Veith, Graphic Designer and Digital Artist, founder Creative Nudel

In some of our cultures, what cannot be observed and counted – is ignored.  This is NOT how women lead.  Women know that relationships are more important than outcomes, that process is more important than product.  Thus, one of the most important contributions that the women on the Kitchen Cabinet make to this Project is that they create the energetic container for this work.  They care.  They volunteer.  They invest their time and energy in the Project.  They will persevere.  They will guide the problem-solving and decision-making that is needed along the way so that we remain aligned with the intention of the Project.

These women have invested themselves.  They are willing to be strong, and they are willing to be vulnerable, as the Project emerges and we continually learn.  They are creative and flexible, knowing that reality emerges day by day, and that the “magic” of this Project will be revealed in that emergence. They are committed to one another, knowing that it is this collective that holds the key to manifesting the vision of this Project, not any single individual.

Pat Hughes
Pat Hughes, Leadership Developer, AuthorHughes and Nguyen
Pat Hughes, Leadership Developer and Author, and Tam Nguyen, Humphrey Fellow from Viet NamJennifer Etchisen
Jennifer Etchisen, HR Manager from Bossier City, Louisiana. She participates in Kitchen Cabinet meetings via Skype.
Barbara Spraker
Barbara Spraker, Director of the ProjectGroup of four
Kathleen Swirski, Senior Project Manager, Microsoft; Weubamlak Eshetu Mengistu, Humphrey Fellow from Ethiopia; Wendi Walsh, Senior ITS Manager, Parsons Brinkerhoff; Roz Ericksen, Senior Account Manager, The HartfordMengistu and Nguyen
Weubamlak Eshetu Mengistu, Humphrey Fellow from Ethiopia; Tam Nguyen, Humphrey Fellow from Viet NamMengistu and Nguyen
Laura Veith, Graphic Artist and founder of Creative Nudel  (

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Meet the Country Conveners

Country Conveners
From top left, clockwise:  Lidieth (Nicaragua), Weub (Ethiopia), Tam (Vietnam),
(Guatemala), Roz (USA), who is facilitating the Conversation at Antioch University Seattle, Betty (Uganda), Romajean (Muckleshoot Nation/center),
(Guatemala/bottom), and Claudine (Burkina Faso).


Developing Women’s Leadership ~ Around the Globe, the Project introduced on this web site in March 2012, is unfolding in exciting ways!  The purpose of the Project is to amplify women’s voices, highlight the specific work that women are doing in six different countries plus Antioch University Seattle, and build community among women leaders around the globe.

These women were selected as Country Conveners because they are respected leaders in their local areas.  They will call together six to ten other women in their area and engage them in dialogue around projects the participants are involved in, their leadership strengths and what more they want to do to enhance their leadership influence and impact. Each of these groups will have the opportunity to learn from one another and build community across the Globe.  We know that we amplify our influence and our impact as we connect with one another.

Please click below to meet these outstanding women – our Country Conveners:

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C3 Faculty Receives Grant for Developing Women’s Leadership – Around the Globe

Barbara Spraker, associate faculty in the Center for Creative Change, received a $10,000 award from the C. Charles Jackson Foundation. The grant was used to collect data from women’s conversations in six countries. AUS students participated in local conversations and co-designed and co-facilitated a women’s leadership conference in summer 2013. The findings were used to develop a workbook, Developing Women’s Leadership: A Capacity Building Guide, that can be used by individuals, groups of women or trainers of women around the globe.  

Developing Women’s Leadership – Around the Globe supports women and organizations engaged in developing leadership competence by identifying and sharing cross-cultural leadership development needs and strategies. The project engaged key women coordinators in a variety of countries who were able to speak to the leadership needs of women in their country and who identified and coordinated a small group of women in Conversation Circles.

Barbara has extensive experience with women’s leadership in a cross-cultural context and teaches around the globe.  

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Women’s Leadership Summit, September 2013

Stories and pictures from the Women’s Leadership Summit, September 28 – 29, 2013, at Antioch University Seattle reflect the outcome of the vision and intention of this Project, Developing Women’s Leadership ~ Around the Globe.

Three pictures from Summit

This Project is about learning — new, fresh, clean ways to think, perceive, respond.

We will be learning about ourselves,
learning together as women from many cultures,
learning together about creating an energy field
that attracts, evokes potential, empowers and connects.


Sam, Nicole, Barb

Sam Novak and Nicole Theberge, master’s students at Antioch University Seattle were Graduate Assistants supporting the Project. Working with Barb Spraker, Director of the Project, their passion, energy, and creativity were key to success of the Project!

Four questions guided the unfolding of the Project. Sam describes these in the final report:

This project was intentionally woven together with questions because at the heart of leadership is an open mind and an open heart to learning and reflection. With four foundational questions, the Project’s outcomes and impact can be succinctly described:

1) What are we learning about how women lead? Women lead in diverse ways. Common characteristics revealed through this Project include: caring, noticing what is needed and stepping up to initiate change, inclusion and involvement of whole communities, listening, concern for the good of the whole,

2) What are we learning about how change happens? Change happens through passion and collaboration. Change doesn’t happen through individual action; it happens through relationships.

3) What are we learning about building communities across cultures? Relationship is the ground on which community is built locally, globally, and across all cultures. Women are especially able to create an environment of welcome and safety where authentic communication is evoked and trusting relationships develop.

4) What actionable collaborative strategies can we create to leverage the results? Maintaining, nourishing, and supporting this current and growing network of women is one powerful way to leverage change in the world.

Kitchen Cabinet/Country Conveners

Country Conveners and members of the Kitchen Cabinet:

back row: 
Claudine Zongo, Lidieth Alverez, Sam Novak, Wendi Walsh, Kathleen Swirski, Laura Vieth;

front row: 
Pat Hughes, Weub Eshetu, Betty Kagoro, Nicole Theberge, Roz Ericksen, Barb Spraker

Women lead from the inside out, not from the top down.  Members of the Kitchen Cabinet first expanded the impact of the Project by reaching out to select grass-roots women leaders in nine different cultures.  These Country Conveners, in turn, each gathered a small group of women in her local community for a Conversation about how they were contributing to their communities. Two of these Country Conveners are shown below with their Conversation groups.

Tam and Mabilia

The Capacity Building Guide

These Conversations provided the content for the Capacity Building Guide, a resource which can be downloaded at this link:

During the Summit, the Ribbon was cut to acknowledge the availability of this resource, originally created as a website by Dave Spraker.

Pat Hughes, Editor of the Capacity Building Guide, and Barbara Spraker, Director of the Project.

Pat Hughes was editor of the Capacity Building Guide, and Barbara Spraker was Director of the Project.

From the Copyright page:
Users are invited and empowered to utilize all of parts of this work for educational purposes and to advance the intention of the Project, which is: “to empower women around the globe to appreciate their skills, to value the contributions they make to their communities, and to expand their influence and impact.”

The Women’s Leadership Summit held at Antioch University in Seattle, September 28-29, 2013 was a celebratory culmination of nearly two years of visioning, planning, connecting and building relationships.  Small groups of local women had gathered – – –  in Vietnam, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Ethiopia, the Muckleshoot Nation in Washington State and Antioch University.




Country Conveners, left to right:
Claudine Zongo–Burkina Faso, Lidieth Alarez–Nicaragua, Weub Eshetu–Ethiopia, Betty Kagoro–Uganda

Gathering in small groups amplifies both the self-esteem and the impact of individual women. Connecting these groups across the globe amplifies the power and influence of each person and builds a vibrant energy field of passionate work for the greater good. Women’s leadership is celebrated and nurtured through the Network.

We invite you to join this Network. Use the Capacity Building Guide in your own work. Keep up with various projects in which Summit participants are involved.  Let us know about your own projects.

Please join us as the Dance goes on !



Thanks to our marvelous photographers:

Teri Theberge and Nancy Lamb

For more photos of the Summit, go to:



Learn More About Developing Women’s Leadership – Around the Globe:


Meet the Country Conveners:


Antioch University Seattle received a Grant from the C. Charles Jackson Foundation to fund the Project: Developing Women’s Leadership ~ Around the Globe.

We are grateful for the recognition of the importance of this work and the financial support we have received from the C. Charles Jackson Foundation.

Barbara Spraker will be directing the Project, which will focus on discovering what women in various cultures are doing to develop their leadership strengths, and what more they want to do to enhance their leadership influence and impact.  The Project provides a way for women of different cultures to connect with each other and support each other as we grow – individually, and collectively, as a powerful force for creating positive change in the world.

The Women Leading the Way web site will provide a place to engage with us as the Project comes to life. This page, Developing Women’s Leadership ~ Around the Globe, is the place where you can follow the Project as it emerges, learning with us as we connect with and learn with and from women in many cultures.

It is significant to introduce the Project on this web site as the content here is what has led to this new opportunity.  The introduction of the Conversation Circle Process, the Capacity Building resources, the articles, the stories of women leaders – – – all of this is the root system of this Project.  We know what women such as Betty, Claudine, Gail, Elinor and others are accomplishing,  and their energy and vision propels us to encourage and facilitate other women to step ever more fully into their power as leaders.  We know that we amplify our influence and our impact as we connect with one another.

Click here to read the Announcement of the Grant.