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“Shoutout to FAIR Forum” from JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell

In Assistantship, Directing, Education, Program Management, Uncategorized on May 8, 2017 at 7:31 AM

18194607_932674476872515_294608980549356765_nAfter last week’s FAIR forum I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership and influence.  Because I do consider myself a leader and an influencer, it lead me to check in with my current inferences and rethink whether or not I have a clear understanding of what those words really mean on an internal and personal level.   

I thought back to the first time my company was ever envisaged and I remembered questions like “Are you ready for leadership?” “Can you handle leadership” and “Are you even actually a leader?” had already begun to take up residence in my mind. I thought about my anxiety, introverted-ness and if wondered if an autist like me had any business running a company.

Even after I “answered the call” I remembered the time’s people said, “JaMeeka, you won’t blow up here.” With good intention, they expressed that I could be doing more with my producing skills and “just wanted to remind” me of how much bigger I could be. But I resolved to stay rooted in my hometown to serve my community; And without personally or formally assuming the responsibility, that also meant being a support system, mentor, and resource for other artists.

Without contrition, I have been blissful in North Carolina ever since.

Our conversation also prompted me to reflect on the things that have always been important to me in leadership, which is watching my people chase their own aspirations and live in their own definitions of success.  It’s never been about me.  A few years ago it came to me that we got to have more of us make moves for anyone else to believe they can too. Some of us will make bigger strides than others. Some will completely diverge from the path. But it’s the constant and consistent evolving that is vital. So I moved forward with a mission to provide safe, exploratory spaces and platforms for other artists to move.  It ain’t always easy. Not everyone has understood my work. In fact, I’ve often times being criticized about my approaches.  There’ve been missteps.  I also know that there’ve been times when I pushed too hard. But that’s part of the process. They learn and I learn.  I realize that as an artistic director the expectations is for me to be out front. But Nah, I’m gonna handle mine and I don’t need attention or notoriety to validate my mark on this field.  I just want my tribe to go and run the race to show folks what we do ’round here!

I am incredibly thankful for FAIR forum and that it always leaves me with things to digest and think on. I have so much love for my cohort and I appreciate Dawn for always keeping it 100 with us.  Stay with me as I continue to reassess my notions on leadership and influence.  The one thing I know stays true for me, is that I have to keep taking steps forward and in taking Dawn’s advice I’m adopting a power pose that I affirm to stand in it for at least 60 seconds daily. I don’t believe I can push anyone if I ain’t pushing myself. So I learn, push, lead, and keep hoping I’m doing it right.

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