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  • Writer's pictureMennonite Women USA

Leadership Circle Update + Opening

One body, many parts; one Spirit, many gifts. Often the gift of leadership gets overvalued in our culture that fixates on the top of hierarchies we preserve. In this case, Cyneatha's gift of leadership inverts traditional power structures to an incredible effect.

Suzanne had two small children, a flexible part-time job and no need for an extra project when she curiously, but quickly, inquired about an ad for the MW USA Regional Representative Board position in Anabaptist World magazine. Once in conversation with Cyneatha, it was the chance to work with her that convinced Suzanne to join the board and ultimately the staff. “It's something about the thoughtful way she makes time for connection, genuinely listens, and directly communicates. And it has to do with her ability to discern implications, prioritize the meaningful, and respectfully maintain consistent, invigorating, and constructive forward motion.”

Cyneatha has a particular gift for leading in a way that makes new space for everyone else’s gifts too. The part of Cyneatha’s vision for widening welcome and flattening organizational decision-making meant she chose to release some power, but the energy loosened is a force! Freed from micromanaging, she better directs the bigger picture. Suzanne continues, “I felt affirmed when she asked me to fill the open administrator spot, motivated as she facilitated the transition, and confident when she incorporated graphic design into the role.”

MW USA's Leadership Circle and Choosing Sisterhood programs—two of Cyneatha's innovations—reveal what’s possible when such a vision is put into action. The new leadership structure realistically engages volunteer trustees and paid, working board members to direct the organization. It recognizes that the typical board model does not work for a lot of women with their many roles and responsibilities. Choosing Sisterhood responds to the tensions of our times by reimagining Sisterhood across barriers, embracing differences, and building community without the certainty of shared identities and customs. These efforts, interwoven with MW USA’s tradition of elevating women’s gifts and equipping them with resources to fulfill their callings, makes for a captivating support system that is responsive to today’s challenges.

MW USA makes the natural human gravitation toward fellowship its own source for prophetic transformation. Together, we experience God’s promise of Spirit-powered community. MW USA is in the good hands of the many with Cyneatha’s inspired way of leading by trusting the gifts everyone brings.

As seasons shift, MW USA’s inclusive and responsive culture makes possible Brooke’s transition to the Mennonite Women Trustees. Brooke has been a part of MWUSA for over 4 years. She started as the Administrative Assistant. Then, after the birth of her second child, Brooke needed more time for family and stepped into the East Coast Regional Representative role. Brooke will now move into one of the three positions of MW USA’s Trustees. The trustees hold the legal board positions of our Leadership Circle. Brooke will join Marlene McKitrick and Yvonne Diaz. We are thankful that Brooke has chosen to remain close to MW USA. Her leadership, insight, and institutional knowledge is vital to the success of MW USA. As many of you have read her blog posts and prayers, you can see the value she brings. She will continue to serve as part of the communications team which focuses on external communications including Grapevine and social media.

MW USA now seeks a new member of the Leadership Circle to serve as East Coast Representative on the Board. The Circle meets monthly by Zoom and gathers annually in person. Regional Reps create connections with supporters and women's groups in their region and offer their gifts to further MW USA's events, communications, publications, and programming. This is a part-time, paid position.

Please email or call with interest if you live on the East Coast and feel called to join MW USA's Leadership Circle!

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