Our Founding Partner, Lindsay Levin, shares an update on Community X – a new project to support and empower the people at the heart of our work – those who host Quest visits.
At Leaders’ Quest (LQ), we’re fortunate to have a network of inspiring people around the world who generously welcome us into their organisations – and sometimes even their homes – on Quests. Let me start with a heartfelt thank you to everyone, everywhere, who has ever ‘hosted’ one of these visits.
LQ people care deeply about hosts. We’ve all experienced life-changing moments when a brave, inspiring leader has changed our worldview. Moments when we know something we can’t unknow – when we’re given new insight about who we are and what’s important. We also regularly see Quest participants changed by encounters with hosts.
So, earlier this year, we launched a project – Community X – focused on how we can support and empower our hundreds of active hosts around the world.
Phase one – what we heard from our hosts
I’m happy to report that we recently completed the first phase of Community X – a survey of our hosts.The results were powerful and revealing. Stand-out themes include:
- Hosts value the personal growth they experience from Quest encounters – and we can up our game to deliver much more of this with extra pro bono workshops and Quest scholarships.
- Hosts don’t always feel they are part of a truly mutual community, so we need to get better at ensuring two-way benefit from visits. We also need to find new ways to bridge the gaps that often exist between well-resourced corporate leaders and people who may have scant material resources or be struggling to combat prejudice and adversity.
- Stories matter! Hosts want to know about the actions they help to catalyse – and to stay better connected across networks.
Spotlight on Open Scholarships
One area where we are seeing great impact is our Open Scholarship programme. So far this year we've funded 16 full scholarships for hosts to participate in our Open Quests.
One of our scholars, Ioana Sandescu, recently shared the impact of taking part in the Israel-Palestine Open Quest in May. She is a Director at eLiberare, which works to prevent human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Romania.
Like many of the mission-driven leaders we work with, Ioana found it hard to prioritise personal development in the face of competing demands - and a sense of urgency about the issues she is trying to solve.
“Coming on the Quest, I felt stuck,” she shared. “I also felt that I didn’t have the time, nor the luxury, to take 10 days to explore a part of the world I didn’t know much about [Israel and Palestine], with a bunch of folks that I didn’t know...
“However, the experience was nothing short of meaningful, relevant and practical to the stage I am at. Not only did I learn so much from the resilience of the people and places we were visiting, but I took great strength from the confirmation that there are others who have gone before me, who have questioned and who have prevailed.
“I not only gained some trustworthy advisers and wise counsellors, but also numerous friends that I didn’t realise were lacking from my tribe
We plan to continue our Open Scholarships in 2020, including for our Israel-Palestine and China programmes. Over the coming months, we’ll announce additional opportunities for hosts to get involved with Open Quests.
We also plan to expand our outreach to get more feedback from our global host network. Later this year, we’ll publish a report to share new insights and commitments.
These are just the first steps in our longer-term vision for Community X. This project has inspired the whole LQ team. Our opportunity is to put the whole community at the heart of our mission. That means finding new ways to add value to the wide diversity of people we touch.
We have lots of ideas about how to do this – and I know many of our hosts do too. It’s going to take investment and ingenuity and something of a mindset shift, but I think it can deliver a step change in impact over time.