Shannon McQuaide

Transformative Leadership, MA

Regional Fitness Manager, writer and entrepreneur
Active Wellness, LLC

Nevada, US

I have been fascinated to discover the close relationship between leadership and self-doubt. Although my Capstone project and subsequent work with first responders gave me profound moments of clarity, I have encountered a surprise: leadership occurs when we have allowed ourselves to flounder in between developmental stages - when our next incarnation lies hidden in the darkness of self-doubt and the groundlessness of not knowing who we are. Leadership involves knowing how to operate in a stance of doubt of as well as of certainty. And both these stances require a commitment to the process of introspection. The Transformative Leadership Program helped me to understand my strengths and my deficits as a leader. I was not given a precise definition of leadership and then required to demonstrate leadership through this narrow definition. Rather, I understood over time that the only person I can actually lead is myself. In this context, leadership is not abstract or exclusive; leadership is accessible to anyone. The Transformative Leadership Program empowered me to take a professional leap of faith by valuing process over product. When I started the program as a public-school administrator, all around me were examples of leadership that repelled me yet propelled me into my next career. My friends in the program provided the social and emotional support to ward off doubt and negativity and to stay the course, holding fast to the possibilities of my future self.

To learn more about Shannon's non profit work visit this website: FireFlex Yoga - Wellness Program for First Responders.

A Transformative Leadership Experiment

The intention of my capstone project was to lead in a novel context in order to experiment with my brand of transformative leadership through yoga instruction. The project included twelve classes to held at a fire station while firefighters were on duty. All firefighters who participated in the project increased their mobility through a separate evaluation and provided positive anecdotal feedback about their experience with yoga.

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