View From the Plaza

“Leaders are made, they are not born.” Do you believe that’s true?

One thing I know for certain is that leadership skills can always be improved, but people running organizations often lack the time and mentorship to reach the next level. That’s why Leadership New Mexico was formed 15 years ago. This nonpartisan nonprofit group has a number of programs designed to help leaders become better at serving not only their organizations, but their communities and state as a whole.

I was lucky enough to be accepted into the 16th class of Leadership New Mexico’s “Core Program,” which consists of six weekend retreats over the next year that immerse us in pressing issues such as economic development, health, education, environment, and crime. This past weekend we had our introductory session in Santa Fe, where we got to know each other starting with a meet-and-greet dinner at Gerald Peters Gallery. We spent all day Saturday at Brush Ranch beside the Pecos River, doing ropes course exercises to learn to support our teams and move beyond, past our fears.

Well, since I am terrified of heights, this was quite an initiation for me! But my team cheered me on to victory (scaling a 25-foot tree, then swan-diving off for my team to catch me in my harness and guide me down). It was an eye-opening—and heart-stopping—exercise that frankly I do not ever want to repeat.

The 39 members of this year’s Core Program represent a wide cross-section of leaders in business, government, and nonprofits, as well as being varied in size of towns represented, from Milan to Albuquerque, and scattered across the state, from Eunice to Farmington!  The Los Alamos and Sandia Labs, the military, health organizations, banks, engineers and oil and gas companies are well represented—but we also have a church pastor, a state senator, the owner of a concrete company, and me, the only representative from the hospitality industry! Future weekends will find us in Artesia, Las Cruces, Silver City, Farmington, and Taos.  I will be posting lessons learned from these sessions and hope when all is said and done; my, and my 38 classmates’ leadership skills, are significantly sharpened.

A tidbit from this weekend’s session came from one of our speakers, Jim Crupi, who said something that struck me as so simple in concept, but often hard to remember and implement.  We have five balls in the air at all times; our job, family, health, spirituality and friends.  Of the five, only the job is rubber and keeps bouncing back.  The other four balls are glass, and once dropped, break, and may not always be fixable when dropped.  Something to think about!

4 Responses to ““Leaders are made, they are not born.” Do you believe that’s true?”

  1. Melissa Wise

    Thanks for sharing your leadership experience! I especially liked the closing remark from Jim since I feel I, too, am juggling empty nest, building a new home, and impending retirement from a 32 year career! Religion has practically fallen off the track as well as health. I have begun to ignore both!
    Thought you would want to know that we have done the ropes challenge courses with our Sunday school kids in confirmation class. I took me a while to get the courage to go from a kneeling position on top of a three story pole, then to a standing position on a 2 X 4 plank, then trusting enough to jump toward a trapeze bar out in front of me! Pretty scary stuff! Always good to try new things…..

    • Jenny Kimball

      I had no idea you had also stood on the top of a tree with nothing below you. Yikes. I do not need to do that again! I would love to share other leadership qualities you have learned with my blog subscribers if you want.


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