Ahead of the fall session of the Inclusive Leadership Institute we're reconnecting with some of our alumni! First up is Jenny Flower who was a member of the 2019 ILI cohort. Jenny is a mother of two adult children and two toddlers, She is a published writer and poet, and a veteran educator who recently moved into the mental health field. She offers individualized, online guided meditation sessions at thegoldminds.com. She currently works as a Care Coordinator for CREOKS and is seeking her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at OU-Tulsa.
I have always been willing to have challenging conversations, but I gained more self-awareness and confidence when addressing difficult issues such as systemic racism, microaggressions and implicit biases after being a part of the ILI. I pray my friends, family and coworkers have noticed my growth.
I was inspired by the people I met through the ILI. Making connections with other cohort members and the staff of OCCJ is the most valuable thing I took away from this experience. Knowing that there are others in our city who are willing to learn and grow in order to make Tulsa more inclusive and justice-focused is heartening, especially during this time of tremendous uncertainty.
What OCCJ provides through the ILI is not only knowledge and in-depth conversation concerning the challenges people face due to racism and other forms of bigotry. This institute isn’t just an opportunity to learn action steps to bring change or the chance to connect with some wonderful and compassionate humans. It offers hope for our future, and I think we could all use a bit more of that these days.
Being a part of ILI also allowed me to further hone my ability to listen with compassion. Hearing Oklahomans from all walks of life share their truth so freely solidified for me the idea that we really are all connected. I hold this concept in the forefront of my life and have made a career change because I better understand my role in bringing more inclusion, equity and justice to my community, partly because of my experience in the Inclusive Leadership Institute.
During the final meeting of the ILI, I was given the opportunity to guide others in a mindfulness and meditation session.
Since then, I have gained certification to teach these practices and have written the curriculum for an Inclusive Intervention program for secondary students, which I hope to implement in the near future. This four-week program focuses on giving students skills and tools based in mindfulness as an alternative to traditional disciplinary courses of action.
I am now enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at OU Tulsa and have started working at CREOKS as a Care Coordinator for children and their families.
I also offer individualized, online guided meditation sessions at thegoldminds.com.