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Corean Reynold was recently appointed the Director of Nightlife Economy for the City of Boston, where she brings a wealth of experience and a passion for fostering an equitable and thriving nightlife ecosystem.
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Roundhead Brewing Company
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Bank of America
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First, I have to address my amazing cohort. I am extremely humbled and honored by your nomination to address the Board of Directors on our behalf. It has been incredible learning with and from you as we together navigate these unique times. We’ve been and remain in this together.
On behalf of our cohort, I have to acknowledge Alyson, Boston Future Leaders Program leadership team, our speakers and facilitators and anyone who touched this program in 2020. In the wake of the pandemic, this program completely restructured to still deliver an incredible leadership environment which allowed us to continue to develop. Thank you.
I want to open up with a quote: “Knowledge is Power”—the famous words of Thomas Jefferson.
As I reflect on this year, I don’t know if I buy that. I just don’t think its that simple.
This past year held some incredible moments (which Alyson just detailed)—and those were just a few of the learning moments this program has offered us that were carefully rooted in equity, representation and inclusivity. All critical competencies in growing into a strong leader learned in an environment that allowed us to pause and change how we applied things in our future.
However, where this program became more integrated in immediate action was in the days following the tragic murder of George Floyd. He died May 25th and I will never forget how that following Tuesday felt coming into the office. The murder of George Floyd is one in a very long line of individuals lost to social injustices—which goes even deeper than solely the black and/or cis-gendered community. However, an incident like his death, as devastating as it was, was not a new event. What was new, was the impact it left on a greater community and one that crept into our offices and within the scope of all of our leadership.
What do you say to your employees of color that Tuesday? Are they even okay? Am I okay? What should I do? How do we act? How do we lead? I stood in that moment despite all of my education, knowledge and training in my career with no answer.
As a cohort, we approached Alyson and the BFL team and said, we don’t know. We need help. And BFL less than a few days later, pulled us together for a dialogue on Race, Leadership and the Current Context. We spent a full 90 minutes as a cohort supporting one another, showing vulnerability and diving into what leadership we need and need to demonstrate in real time.
We were all acting and breaking barriers in that moment, real time.
We know better than to think that great leadership rests on just knowing what to do. It goes beyond the simple case-study method and hypothetical situations and hinges on the way we act. However, I greatly honor the fact that knowing better is a necessary foundation. Knowing better is simply is potential… but does not equate to a result. Knowledge left untranslated into action is simply an asset unutilized.
The 2020 Boston Future Leaders program has been a huge investment in each and every one of us. It has created a foundation of knowledge, but it is not enough to simply just know the work. I believe I speak for my cohort in saying as leaders, we leave 2020 compelled to do. To act. To lead.
Knowledge in itself is Potential… Action is Power.
Kadeja Gaines-Roy is the Director of Global Planning Operations within Nike/Converse Inc., where she oversees the global Center of Excellence for planning. She is a member the Harvard Business School Program for Leadership Development—an alternative MBA program for high-performing leaders. In her spare time, Kadeja is a leading fitness trainer in two “Best of Boston” award-winning studios. Her vision for the future of Boston is one of greater diversity, inclusion, and representation across all sectors and levels of leadership.