To say that Dr. Ancella Livers is accomplished is fitting. When you add that she’s empowering and a sage, then you’re giving her true accolades. The executive director of the Institute for Leadership Development and Research at the Executive Leadership Council is an in-demand speaker. This writer had the fortuity to be under her counsel at the inaugural Global Women Mentoring & Philanthropy Summit.
Livers led an educational reinventing yourself seminar. She engaged us immediately after hello with her signature “oral workbook” ice breaker where attendees were encouraged to write their visions on paper and openly share with others, if comfortable.
With our five-year-vision at the forefront of our thoughts, she gave us five key concepts for self-discovery:
- “Authenticity and honesty: Know yourself and be OK with that. We can’t let others define who we are and how we see ourselves. What strengths do you bring? What professionals do you have supporting you?”
- “Get clarity on the baggage you’re carrying, whether it’s mental, emotional or family baggage. What impact does it have on your ability to get where you’re going? How does it affect your decision making?”
- “Know what to let go. Sometimes we have to change our expectations and perceptions of ourselves. It’s hard to let go because the stuff becomes a part of you. If you let go, how will things improve?”
- “Understand risk. Not changing the status quo is a risk. Labor in obscurity and never testing yourself to others … [is] tantamount to letting fear lead you.”
- “Become a continual learner. Reinvention is about evolution and changing as the world changes. It is estimated that the knowledge base will double every 73 days by 2020. In order to be valuable to your organization, you must change, grow and learn. When was the last time you learned something new?”
Livers holds a bachelor of science in Mass Communications from Hampton Institute, a master of science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a master of arts and Ph.D. in History from Carnegie Mellon. She co-authored the book Leading in Black and White: Working Across the Racial Divide in Corporate America and of the HBR article “Dear White Boss.” A contributing writer of “Coaching People of Color,” she also wrote the essay “Black Women in Management” published in Vol.1 of the three volume set of Gender, Race, & Ethnicity in the Workplace. — yvette caslin