We empower people to move because moved people empower

wImagine Leadership exists to take the little steps nobody notices in order to create the large results everybody wants. We reach those who nobody is reaching and skate to where the puck will be, by going all in and living with authenticity. We don’t exist to merely find friends, but rather, we also exist to create leaders.

wImagine Leadership has Four Core Pillars, in direct correlation to our Ten Core Behaviors (i.e. Core Values)

Innovation through Diversity
Growth through Courage
Empowerment through Love
Efficiency through Authenticity

Innovation through Diversity

We sincerely believe that diversity & inclusion is not just a tickbox item of something good we all should do. We believe that inclusion is paramount to an organization’s ability to innovate. That the process of including people from all walks of life give us the ideas, passion, and conviction to forge forward and push the mission onwards.

In the Honors Program at Stockton University, I realized that we consistently got the same students at every Honors Event, no doubt because they were the only ones who caught word-by-mouth that an event was happening. To react, we doubled down on messaging in our Honors Center (i.e. study lounge), added email newsletters, and used Facebook Groups to get the word out. This increased attendance from new students and their involvement gave us better insight over when to schedule events and what those events should be.

The wImagine Core Behaviors which align with this topic are:

  • We innovate by including the marginalized
  • We create data-driven solutions to create a love-driven world

wImagine Leadership primarily partners with organizations who fulfill this specific area, specifically, Girls who Code and World Relief. Girls who Code encourages girls to begin coding either through camps, courses, and just making coding fun. World Relief reaches the world through disaster relief, peacekeeping initiatives, and supporting refugees & immigrants across the globe.

In the Honors Program at Stockton University, I asked the team to dream higher, reach further, and do more. And quite frankly, sometimes I myself was not ready and I fell flat on my face. Sometimes it was me overstepping my bounds by revealing something too early or pushing something too quickly. Other times, it was in me failing to act in time or warn in time. But through it all, my failures taught me how to become a better leader. This movement reveals how we can become better, and in my case, it’s in remembering to be fearless of growth but also recognizant of the rationale and priorities of how we’re growing forward.

The wImagine Core Behaviors which align with this topic are:

  • We forge forward without fear
  • We entrust failure to grow us forward
  • We reach people by refining ourselves to reach higher

Growth through Courage

Growth and Courage are key attributes in people who consistently excel at fulfilling the mission. We do not seek easy growth by manipulating data, people, our environment, or our mission. We seek organic & sustained growth by creating innovative solutions which are held together through a strong use of data, people, our environment, and mission. We create teams who are fearless towards this growth, even if failure could result from these actions, because the mission matters more.

Empowerment through Love

When we empower people, they move. Creating this movement is the most important thing we do because it’s not about what we can do by ourselves, but what we as a team can do together, because we are better together. We foster collaboration and a community of people who love each other from our workplace to our friends, because this environment gives us the opportunity to empower one another. This is not an excuse to pow-tow to each other, but is rather a challenge to love one another for who we are, and push one another towards who we ought to become.

In the first few months at Lockheed Martin, I must be honest, it felt really difficult for new members of the team to really interact and create friendships with one another. There was a culture at the time that almost felt ‘protective’ over existing relationships and processes. And over the years in my role as a Scrum Master, I’ve tried to roll out initiatives to unite the team on my own time. From holding team lunches (the best one probably partnering with someone to create a Pizza Bracket during March Madness), checking in with everyone, and helping to organize team events. These initiatives helped the team know each other better, and this knowledge helped everyone work together towards fulfilling our mission.

The wImagine Core Behaviors which align with this topic are:

  • We give because He gave
  • We surrender ourselves to serve others

At Lockheed Martin, I challenge myself to walk the fine line of being curious enough to learn about new concepts that I do not know, but also courageous enough to recognize my strengths and ensure I’m using my strengths in the most practical & efficient way. This push & pull helped me roll out solutions such as continuous integration, automated importing of team tasks into Jira for Agile, and promoting the use of metrics to drive the focus. I’ve been awarded with an Innovation Award for my work in improving our automation and agile practices, no doubt in part to how I’m humble enough to know what I don’t know, but courageous enough to keep pushing my best & most authentic self every day.

The wImagine Core Behaviors which align with this topic are:

  • We build honor by going all in
  • We lead with laughter and energy to lead towards authenticity
  • We empower people to move because moved people empower

Efficiency through Authenticity

When we consider efficiency, we often think about how to change processes or priorities. But when I consider efficiency, the first thing I consider is authenticity. The reason being, there is no amount of processes or priorities that could change the destiny of an organization, if its people do not see how they fit into the story and why they are so vital to how this story progresses. We foster environments where people feel welcomed, needed, and cognizant of what lies ahead because it’s in these environments where people feel free to question complacency, challenge people to become better, and still love each other at the end of the day. Processes and priorities have never made an organization more efficient on their own — it all begins with people.

wImagine Leadership in 2017

Uniting the Team

How many ways can you joke your way into a team lunch? (Answer: A lot)

Leading towards Authenticity

Over the span of one year, we’ve had countless events to unite the team, primarily through lunch. Some of my absolute favorites are:

  • Pizza Bracket Day (where the team voted for which pizzas to buy via a March Madness styled basketball bracket)
  • National Ice Cream Submarine Day (Hoagies and Ice Cream Sandwiches)
  • Cinco de Cuatro (because the actual Cinco de Mayo was not a good day)
  • National Cookies Day (Potluck since the team had an ‘argument’ on if we can only consume cookies for lunch)
  • National Fortune Cookie Day (I bought customized fortune cookies… with very distinctive fortunes)

Excellence Matters

But People Matter More

Leading towards Authenticity

wImagine began with the notion that I designed it correctly and everybody else sucked. And in this ten year journey, I realized that I was so off on the mark. Truth is, none of us are perfect and we’re all broken. And this year I had the experience of having a former Core Church really speak down to me on how I’m not perfect and how they are more excellent than me and I realize that… it sucks. We change our world by fostering environments where we can talk about where we’re headed *together*. wImagine Leadership will stop to assume that we definitely know what’s best for us and for others… cause we frankly don’t.

Next Steps

True North Foundation

Serve Others

[cross-linked with wImagine Leadership] True North Church is establishing the True North Foundation, a new organization to reach those in need across the South Jersey area. The last frontier that wImagine Faith has not consistently reached — our community out of all places, is the 2018 wImagine Faith core initiative. We serve others in an act of surrendering, recognizing that we have lost our right to live as how we’d like when we chose to follow Christ.

wImagine Leadership was forked in 2013 from wImagine Friends & Public Relations.

wImagine Friends & Public Relations was an original goal of wImagine from 2008-2013.
I don’t know why ‘wImagine Public Relations’ was even a thing. Goes to show how broken wImagine used to be.