December 31st was Deborah’s last day as LLC’s Co-Executive Director, and marked her transition as an LLC Senior Consultant. This was not how I imagined her sendoff (virtual celebration). Instead, I imagined a room full of people from all sectors of leadership development acknowledging her contributions to the field, celebrating her, and giving her hugs (big “no, no” at this time). That being said, I want to honor her for the organization she founded a little over 20 years ago. An organization she grew, shaped and reshaped. Deborah is so much more than a colleague to me. She is the woman who invited me to join her in this endeavor, the woman who saw so much more in me than I saw in myself. I have known Deborah for over 35 years, and have seen her navigate this demanding work as a single parent who raised two amazing daughters, most days working long hours, often into the night. I witnessed her courage, over and over, in opening her heart and mind. She is an amazing bridge builder, bringing people together to learn from one another, providing a safe space for them to also open their hearts and minds. Her leadership, courage and commitment were pivotal to not only the growth of LLC, but to that of others, including me. I hold dear your courage, vision, commitment, compassion, passion, generosity, and friendship. I was just listening to a podcast interview with Sister Helen Prejean, who advocates for the abolition of the death penalty, and she said something that immediately resonated with me when I think about Deborah, “I just want to live my life to the full, as authentically as I can.” Deborah, you’re doing it! Finally, I’m at a loss to express how deeply I feel. Sometimes, words just don't suffice. I look forward to the next 35 years together, my friend.
A couple of years ago, after a foolhardy foray into the for-profit world, I decided to make a move back into the non-profit space and by happenstance, I came across a job listing for the Leadership Learning Community. I could tell, even from the job description that there was something special about this organization. When I accepted the role, Deborah welcomed me with such warmth and enthusiasm that I knew I had found the right place. Throughout my time with LLC, I've often been humbled by Deborah's ability to bring out the best in folks. She has an intuitive sense about when to push a little harder, when some coaching or peer support might go a long way, and when to back away and let people run with ideas. Deborah is constantly evaluating and challenging her own thinking and ideas about leadership. While that alone is an admirable quality, what amazes me about her is her seemingly effortless ability to walk the walk and embody those values.
Deborah's legacy at LLC is more than just the many, many contributions that she herself has made to the field of leadership development focused on equity and justice, it is also the innumerable connections between others that share her values that she has made along the way. She so naturally and thoughtfully connects people to people, organizations, movements, networks and resources. I can't imagine how many triangles that she has closed over the last 20 years and the exponential impact those connections had.
While I know Deborah will stay connected to LLC and our work and I will deeply miss having her as a close colleague, I can't wait to see the continued impact she will have in this new journey!
As we reflect on Deborah Meehan's transitions from Co-Executive Director to Senior Consultant, I’m so honored to share with the LLC network my feelings about her. I started the draft of this piece with the prompt: “Why Deborah is awesome”, as you may imagine I encountered no lack of reasons. I think what I, and many others, find so attractive about Deborah is her fun and energetic spirit. Anyone who claims to have spent time with a boring and staid Deborah is a liar! Deborah pulls people in with her open and giving nature, once pulled in, most people are happy to stick around.
I often find myself moved by Deborah’s compassion, empathy and general care for others; Deborah is dedicated to the care and feeding of people and relationships. Also impressive is her humility; she doesn’t claim to be perfect, but Deborah works hard every day to be the best person she can be. This humility feeds another amazing Deborah asset, her commitment to lifelong learning. For someone with her level of expertise, you might assume that she’d be unwilling to learn and grow, you’d be wrong, Deborah is constantly pushing her growing edges and is a model others should seek to emulate.
For over 20 years, Deborah’s bold, brave and values- centered approach has helped to develop LLC into the organization it has become, an organization that I and the LLC staff team are happy and proud to continue moving forward.
Please join us in honoring Deborah’s contributions to the leadership Learning Community and the Leadership and Network fields on January 28th ...