Beyond stage fright and becoming community leaders

Linda Wilson

I froze. Everyone was staring at me. I felt like bursting into tears.

I was six-years-old and I was on stage in front of an auditorium full of people at a Community Christmas Concert.

As a child, our family would perform together at special events, an Albertan version of the Von Trapp family so to speak.

I had never sung a solo before but tonight was to be my big night.

We were singing a medley of Christmas songs and when we came to All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth. It was my chance to shine – especially since I was missing one of my front teeth! Instead, I froze.

I never did sing my solo that night. They moved on with the rest of the performance, me with my head down too embarrassed to look at the audience. I’ll never forget that experience.

For those of you who know me now, this story would seem hard to believe. I now make my living being in front of groups as a platform speaker and facilitator and would definitely not be described as someone who is shy or quiet!

So how did I transition from that six-year-old with stage fright, to now? As a child and teenager I was blessed with a home that supported and encouraged risk taking and trying new things. My home also allowed me to be creative and explore who I was. And it modeled the importance of being involved in and giving back to my community.

Now as the new executive director for the Leadership Centre of Central Alberta I see those same qualities in what the Leadership Networks program offers its participants: support, encouragement of risk taking, self awareness, developing new skills and valuing community involvement.

If readers are not sure what the Leadership Centre is and what it offers let me answer some questions you might have.

The Leadership Centre offers Leadership skill development to current leaders and ‘emerging leaders’ within Central Alberta.

Enrollment is open to any Central Albertan, from the non-profit sector, self-employed, small business, government, to corporate organizations.

It offers training to a wide and diverse group of people. The reason why the Leadership Centre encourages such a cross section of participants is to increase awareness on how each organization contributes to the success of our community. The value of coming together allows participants to see how we can learn from one another no matter where we work or what our profession.

What makes this program unique from other Leadership Training courses?

The Leadership Centre is not just focused on leadership and management development. We are focused on the ‘ripple effect,’ the combination of both the skills training and the diversity of its participants can have on our community.

We use community projects for the participants to put into practice what they’ve learned throughout the program. Here again, this allows participants to learn about their community and to give back by sharing their skills, knowledge and expertise.

The program consists of 10 learning days, along with the team projects, and runs from November 2010 to early June, 2011.

You may ask if this program is the right fit for you.

If you are committed to personal growth, wanting to increase your effectiveness at work and interested in making a difference in your community, then this program is definitely right for you.

The Leadership Centre is now accepting participant applications for our 2011 class, as well as community project proposals. More information and deadlines for applications can be found at: www.theleadershipcentre.ca

Linda Wilson is the executive director for the Leadership Centre. For more information call 403-340-0324.

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