Applications now open: Social Transformation Certificate Program--deadline 8 January, 2024

Student Inspired to Engage in Transformative Leadership through Art

Sep 28, 2023
A dark red brick wall with the words Live, Work, Create in off white block letters.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Course: Cultivating Transformative Leadership, Part 1: Transformation of Understanding (2023)
Faculty Mentor: Joan Hernandez

Based on my experience, I highly recommend Wilmette Institute’s course on Cultivating Transformative Leadership. It will change the way you view the world and your role within it. Joan Hernandez and her co-facilitators use a variety of mediums to translate complex theories into easy-to-absorb concepts that build upon each other, not only leading the learner to gain a deep understanding of this revolutionary information but encouraging a thirst for more. Many of the strategies learned in the course can be assimilated and applied into your everyday life almost immediately. The online platform makes it very easy to learn in the comfort of your home. During Zoom sessions, the facilitators create a very safe and comfortable atmosphere whereby ideas can be shared and built upon. I highly recommend this course for anyone wanting to learn new ways to facilitate dynamic change within your organization, community, family, or even just yourself.

I took this course because I have always been fascinated with:

1. “systems” — how individual parts work together to make a well-oiled whole, 

2. community cohesion, and

3. the arts.

This course has crystallized vague ideas and thoughts I have had into a solid framework and foundation from which I feel a great deal can be achieved, on so many levels.  Specifically, I learned about the interrelationship and interconnectedness of all life on both micro and macro levels, the Ripple Effect, different leadership styles, a framework for transformation, and 18 capabilities categorized—these are just a few of the concepts that create the system I was hoping to learn about. This, in turn, provided a road map for how I can be a better humanitarian artist and use my artwork to create tools to help create a positive impact on people and communities. 

On a personal level, this course has broadened my mind and heart by showing me how I can be more open to ideas that are different from mine and helping me to understand why it is valuable to hear various perspectives. On a group level, I have learned tools to help me manage groups in which individuals have different ideas and perspectives; I can try to facilitate and foster patience, acceptance, respect, and openness. This course has also shown me how I can keep growing by constantly striving to hold myself to a higher and higher standard and how I can use transformative leadership in a variety of settings, ranging from everyday life to my work. 

I have definitely experienced excitement at what I am learning–so much so that after almost every 2 pages I had to put down the book to just absorb the magnitude of what I was learning!

This course has strengthened my values and beliefs.  It has given me more confidence in who I am and more conviction to follow my heart and do what I know I have to do with my passion for arts, wellness, and community.

One way I hope to use what I learned in this course is by developing a community-wide project using the arts to promote individual wellness and strengthen community through the themes of the Oneness of Humanity and Unity in Diversity. I have had discussions with a nonprofit arts group in my city and developed a slide show proposal of the project I have in mind. You can view my slide show proposal here

Thank you to the Wilmette Institute, Joan, Carl, Jessica, and my classmates for this life-changing and very inspiring course!



Aruna Neela Bahadoorsingh Khan

Aruna is a mixed media collage artist. Her messages are expressed through combining paper, textiles, stitch, pressed foliage and found objects such as food waste packaging. As a Humanitarian Artist, she uses her work to help facilitate woman's wellness and also to ignite transformation within communities. Website and IG: Soul Stitch Studio.

Up Next...