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Being BRAVE

by Becky Keigan

Many times I do BRAVE (Bold, Relational, Able, Vulnerable, Equitable) and throughout recent months, ever since the Alumni Leaders Council chose this Alumni Retreat theme, I’ve been challenged to consider how to be BRAVE. You see, many times I’m good at being my doing, and when it comes to BRAVE, I want to be my doing. Here are my musings as I process this challenge as a Buell Leader and the BECLN director and lead connector. 

Being bold is synonymous with courageous, confident, audacious, unflinching, and daring. Actions that harness my intention and practice during life’s sometimes big and sometimes daily challenges. Moving past the pit in my stomach when I question whether to raise a conflicting point of view that aligns with my core values. 

Being relational is a constant desire to build deep and meaningful connections with those that stand in front of me at any given moment, those that are close to my heart and those in this beautiful and growing network of Buell leader for which I am blessed to serve as the lead connector.

Being able requires staying abreast of current research, policy and practice initiatives in the field of early childhood, and in leadership and network development. Establishing collaborative spaces with colleagues, partners and Buellers to move our BECLN mission of promoting leadership development in a safe, relevant and rejuvenating space in order for Buell Leaders to connect and co-create possibility for themselves, their work and their communities.

Being vulnerable by leaning into and embracing Theory U’s open mind (suspending old habits of judgment, seeing with fresh eyes), open heart (empathizing and looking at situations through the eyes of somebody else) and open will (the capacity of “letting go” of the old and “letting come” the new). Stepping into the unknown, trusting in the process and seeking out those that I need to embark on the journey with me. 

Being equitable by embracing the bumpy conversations and practices that ensure we are all able to reach our full potential as human beings which is essential to our Network and work as Buell Leaders. Living diversity, equity and inclusion is hard, essential and requires a collective commitment on all of our parts as was experienced by me and 12 other Buell leaders and faculty members at the Denver Art of Hosting training. Through challenging conversations people were heard, increasing everyone’s awareness and understanding of the diversity of opinions and values in the room. As with this experience, the strength of our network is our diversity for which I am so grateful!

Being BRAVE, a challenge worth embracing. Want to join me?

Becky Keigan is the Director and Lead Connector for the Buell Early Childhood Leaders Network. You can reach her at rkeigan@claytonearlylearning.org