Transcript: Akaya Windwood, leadership (& why Thom's doing radio), May 30 2006

Akaya Windwood is an executive leadership coach and organizational consultant with the Rockwood Leadership Program which is training people for leadership positions in progressive movements. Why Thom started his radio show.

Thom Hartmann interview with Akaya Windwood 30 May 2006

One of Thom's weekly Bioneers segments. It includes a description of why Thom is doing radio now.

[Thom Hartmann] And our Bioneers guest for the week Akaya Windwood is with us. Akaya Windwood an executive leadership coach and organizational consultant with the Rockwood Fund. The web site rockwoodfund.org. Akaya, welcome to the program.

[Akaya Windwood] Thanks, Thom.

[Thom Hartmann] Am I pronouncing your name right?

[Akaya Windwood] You are. You're actually pronouncing it just right. And it's the Rockwood Leadership Program.

[Thom Hartmann] Ok, the Rockwood Leadership Program.

[Akaya Windwood] Right.

[Thom Hartmann] Part of what you're doing, in fact, I guess, the main focus of what you're doing, is training people for leadership positions in progressive movements.

[Akaya Windwood] That's right.

[Thom Hartmann] Is that a good way of saying it?

[Akaya Windwood] Well, actually, I would say that these are folks who either are already in leadership, or who are emerging leaders, but who have a strong progressive social change agenda.

[Thom Hartmann] OK. So, many of our listeners have a strong progressive social change agenda and may have at some point or may in the future think about taking on some sort of a leadership role, whether it be a community activist sort of thing, whether it be stop a Wal Mart, whether it be something larger, whether it be political, whatever. What ... how should I ask this question? What are the qualities within a person that you try to bring out, that you look for? What are the things that tell you that can do this sort of thing and how can a person self-evaluate that, number one? And number two, then what's next? What do you do with that?

[Akaya Windwood] OK. Well, you know, from my point of view, Thom, the first quality is authenticity. Can this person be trusted? And I don't mean in a smarmy way but in a very rigorous; is this person consistent between what he or she says and what he or she does? And there's a certain amount of transparency that's involved in that. It's a movement from the heart as well from the head. And I think that leaders in the past have led often through control and fear. And I think that today's leaders are being asked to be more collaborative, certainly coming from a sense of purpose and commitment and compassion, for lack of a better word.

[Thom Hartmann] Now...

[Akaya Windwood] Go ahead.

[Thom Hartmann] Now, well these are important points, but they're also very general.

[Akaya Windwood] They are.

[Thom Hartmann] Say you're training me for leadership.

[Akaya Windwood] OK.

[Thom Hartmann] Train me!

[Akaya Windwood] OK, so first of all I would say: OK Thom, let's start from a place of, 'why are you here?' Why you, in this time, and in this place? Because I don't believe that there are any accidents. That you, using whatever kind of spiritual or lack thereof framework you want to use, I would want to say, 'well, why you?'

[Thom Hartmann] Well, I can tell you, Akaya. I'm here because 3 years and 6 months ago I was driving across the country back to Michigan where I had worked in radio from 1968 to 1978 and all we could get on the radio as my wife and I were driving back to my parent's home was right wing talk radio and I heard Sean Hannity go off on this rant about how, he was at a Habitat for Humanity, and he was calling it 'Hannity for Humanity' and he said "No, no liberal's going to get this house" that they were building. And I thought, (a) somebody has to be answering this stuff, and (b) somebody could make some money doing that. And I wasn't thinking about my making money but I was thinking that there was a way that this could be promoted to people who own radio stations as saying, "Hey! There is an un-served market here. You should be putting liberal programming on, because if there are people who want to be listen to conservative programming, there are people who want to be listen to liberal programming and you could sell advertising and make money at it and it can make money." And so I got home and I wrote a piece called Talking Back To Talk Radio and published it on Common Dreams and that became the beginning of the business plan for Air America Radio.

[Akaya Windwood] OK.

[Thom Hartmann] Shelly and Anita Drobny picked it up. And then I decided to put my money where my mouth was, or whatever, it wasn't much money, and started doing this show on a local station in Burlington, Vermont that we're still on, WVAA, on the weekends. And then we took it to a network. The network picked up; IE America Radio network. They went out of business a year later when Air America came along and now the show's syndicated by Air America.

[Akaya Windwood] OK.

[Thom Hartmann] So I'm here because I was so P.O.'d at Sean Hannity and I wanted to speak back and I want to take back my country.

[Akaya Windwood] OK. So, you've answered my question here. You know, no actually you haven't. There's a piece of me that wants to ask, you know, yes, there were probably a lot of folks driving on that freeway, maybe the car next to you, thinking, "you know, there's something wrong with this". But they weren't the ones who did it. You were. And so, why you? You know, what are you here to bring into the world? And you've answered some of it. But I think that each person has a gift to bring. And leadership is about recognizing (1) that we all have it, whatever the 'it' is for each of us, and that we have a responsibility to bring it into the world. So you actually told us a story of how you brought it into the world, and I want to thank you for that, and so the question that I would ask any of us, is, 'What are you here to do and what are you doing that is in alignment with that, and what are you doing that's not?'

[Thom Hartmann] And do more of the former and less of the latter.

[Akaya Windwood] Exactly. We don't have time any more for the kind of navel gazing, I think, that we did in the 60s. I think it's really time to do some rigorous internal work and then manifest it out in world.

[Thom Hartmann] You know, it's really easy, Akaya Windwood, rockwoodfund.org the website.

[Akaya Windwood] That's Rockwood Leadership Program, rockwoodleadership.org.

[Thom Hartmann] rockwoodleadership.org? I'm sorry.

[Akaya Windwood] Yes.

[Thom Hartmann] I thought you meant the name was Leadership. That's actually the url.

[Akaya Windwood] No, no, url is rockwoodleadership.org.

[Thom Hartmann] OK, got it. rockwoodleadership.org. It's really easy for this to devolve into a New Age version of Dale Carnegie boosterism.

[Akaya Windwood] You're right.

[Thom Hartmann] And I don't mean that to put down Dale Carnegie by the way because I actually, when I was 20 years old, I took the Dale Carnegie and it was a really useful thing. I learned how to speak in public which was something that I was not competent at before. It was a skill set that I've found to be very useful in my life.

[Akaya Windwood] Right.

[Thom Hartmann] And yet at the same time there's also, you know, a subset of folks in progressive communities, in progressive spiritual communities, you know, right across the board who have taken the more superficial aspects of it and elevated them and it seems like it's all rhetoric. How do we make this practical?

[Akaya Windwood] Well, there it is, isn't it? It needs to be practical and the question I'm always asking is, 'Does this grow corn?' Because if this doesn't grow any corn, I'm not particularly interested in it.

[Thom Hartmann] There you go.

[Akaya Windwood] I mean, it's interesting from a philosophical, spiritual place, and as a philosophical and spiritual woman I'm up for that. But how is this manifesting, how is what any person is thinking about or doing manifesting in the world that we can say 'yes' to? Because when I can say 'yes' to what I see you doing, then that's leadership. It's different from a 'let's all get together and think'. And we need to, right, cause I think many of our politicians don't do much of that, or our leaders don't do much of that, that part of reflection and thinking. We need to do that, but in service of what?

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah. You know, there's a phrase I used to hear back in the 60s that used to make me crazy even back then, and it was: 'if only everybody would...'

[Akaya Windwood] Yeah.

[Thom Hartmann] You know what I'm talking about?

[Akaya Windwood] I know.

[Thom Hartmann] You have to be a certain age, I guess, to remember how big that was, but it was like, 'if only everybody would...' you know, and fill in the blank. And it sounds to me, Akaya Windwood, like you're changing the paradigm to, 'OK, now it's time for you to ...'.

[Akaya Windwood] Absolutely! You know what? Thom, seriously, we've got to get to work here. And if we're not working, and I don't mean just getting a ? job.

[Thom Hartmann] That's OK.

[Akaya Windwood] It is about, it's about saying I deserve, and I deserve more than what corporate America is saying that it will offer me.

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah.

[Akaya Windwood] I deserve a rightful place in this world and employment that allows my gifts to come into manifestation and I'm going to take responsibility for it. Now there are, I don't want to pretend that we've got an even playing field here either, right?

[Thom Hartmann] Sure.

[Akaya Windwood] Cause we know that historically there have been many people who have been disenfranchised from the systems that exist. But I think that even in that context there is an obligation on each of our parts to say, 'here's what I'm about and here's what I'm going to do about that'.

[Thom Hartmann] Right, yeah. And those are the steps that we need to be taking. Akaya Windwood. The Rockwood Leadership Program, rockwoodleadership.org. Our bioneer guest for the day, bioneers.org. Akaya, thanks for being with us.

[Akaya Windwood] Thank you.

[Thom Hartmann] Great talking with you.

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