By Fauzia Baig
(November 27, 2014) – The Coalition of Muslim Women of Kitchener-Waterloo recently offered a free leadership program for local Muslim women with prior experience in community leadership.
Nineteen women in Kitchener Waterloo area completed the leadership training that was offered over four full-day sessions, on November 1, 8, 15 and 22, at the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre.
The in-class training provided the participants with an opportunity to further develop their leadership skills and to assist them in taking on more active and established leadership roles within the larger Kitchener-Waterloo community.
Many of the women involved with the Coalition have shown great motivation and leadership ambitions through their volunteer roles and previous work experience.
This training will allow the women to focus in on their own strengths as a leader and use that as a foundation to build the skills and confidence of an effective leader.
Not only will women benefit from taking this training but so will our entire community.
The participants were required to complete an application to register for the training.
The application helped identify women who have demonstrated a commitment to becoming an established leader with previous experience in a leadership role, which was an important stepping stone for the training program.
The training was put together to encompass the breadth and depth of effective leadership that involved understanding the self and others in a short time.
To accomplish this, professional trainers and facilitators were contacted to deliver the workshops for the training.
The response from the professional training community was really positive; this training would not have been possible without the commitment of the trainers.
Some of the types of topics over the four days include: personality type and leadership, public speaking, leadership styles and leveraging your personal strength, conflict resolution, project management, and emotional intelligence in leadership.
The 4-day training was concluded with a celebration ceremony where certificates were presented to the women for completing the in class training.
Each of the women spoke a few words about their experience taking the training.
The feedback from the women was overwhelmingly positive.
Not only did the women find the workshops beneficial but made connections and developed relationships with one another that they plan to maintain after the training.
There was a sense of community in the room that was not seen before.
The training program is only the first component of the Emerging Muslim Women Leadership program.
Next, the women will observe “Leadership in action” by attending two local council meetings and reflecting on their experience.
In fact, a group of women attended a City of Waterloo Council meeting on Nov 24th as a delegation and addressed council with a 10-minute presentation.
The last component of the program is completing a mentorship.
Participants will be paired with a mentor – an established female leader in the community – for one-to-one leadership mentorship over a period of six months.
The Coalition is all about strengthening and supporting the voices of Muslim women, while building bridges of inclusion and mutual respect with the larger community.
The hope is to develop many new leaders who will assume pivotal roles to better our region in the future.
This training program was made possible by a grant from the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation and United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo, with support by from Counselling Services and Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre.