Today, we welcomed Maureen Groden who gave us the pleasure of sharing her knowledge about women’s leadership and how to deal with loss and grief.

The first half of our meeting we discussed women in leadership positions. Maureen Groden is part of her towns select board, she is a professor at the University of Massachusetts, and has been a leader of many other organizations in her career.

Women are often still viewed as “new” to leadership. Although we can think of Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth, the women of the women’s rights movement in the 20’s, somehow women are still outnumbered by men in leadership positions. In universities, businesses, courts, unions, and religious institutions, male leaders outnumber female leaders by wide margins.

Maureen helped us think about why that might be, and a lot of people who attended our meeting kept referring to the topic of culture. This is because in our society whenever we think of leadership we tend to think of competitiveness, masculinity, and individualism, and all of these things are traits that men are known to have. Women are expected to act like men which causes women to embrace the competitive culture and masculinity  in order to be taken seriously and seen as a true leader. Maureen believes that we need to restructure our values of leadership.

For the second half of our incubator meeting, we focused on ways to cope with loss and grief. Maureen worked in many Hospice’s and said she had become accustomed to dealing with not only loss, but how to comfort those who have lost.

We first discussed how you don’t need to have someone pass away to feel loss. Someone can physically still be living but due to substance abuse and addiction it can feel like a loss. The second thing we discussed is that everyone grieves differently, and sometimes it may feel as though people have certain expectations on what the right way to grieve is. But Maureen shared that grief is normal and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it.

Maureen left us with grief care notes that we can refer to and one quote that stuck out said, “Grief is the most intense and enduring emotion we can experience. There is no quick fix. There is no short cut. An ancient African saying is “There is no way out of the desert except through it.” Each of us will take a different route and will travel at his/her own speed using the tools provided by his/her own culture, experience, and faith.”

At the end of our meeting we all wrote down names of people we were grieving and put them in a basket. We then slowly filled a glass container with different colored sands to remind us of the people we were grieving. We then lit a candle in the sand and said a moment of silence. 

 

By: Alexandra Shore

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