What’s it really like to spend 3 days off grid immersed in nature and connecting with like minded women?
Compass Advance is back for the second time in November 2022 so we sat down with Karensa Menzies (co-founder and director of Brolga Co), a Compass Advance graduate from the May program to find out more about her experience.
I wanted to create clarity in responding to situations and have a framework that enabled me to find my words in those trickier times.
Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to enter the compass advance program and what other leadership work you had done prior to entering the course?
Leadership is an ongoing journey. The very beginning of it for me, started with some structured mentor programs, which is where you start learning a little bit about your own styles. I then did the first online Compass Flagship course in 2020.
The more you start doing leadership stuff, the more you realise you must learn, or you want to improve, and you want to practice. I wanted to create clarity in responding to situations and have a framework that enabled me to find my words in those trickier times.
The next motivator for me was looking at how does my style work with everyone else, and how can I amplify that? I wanted to be comfortable in my own style of leadership amongst others who have quite different styles.
The final thing I was seeking, having worked as an independent consultant for years now, was that I had a significant change in the business with the addition of two new people. I knew the team dynamics were going to shift significantly and I wanted to put my best foot forward so I could constructively respond to any speedbumps on the horizon. I was also looking for that connection with other women that ‘get it’ and are all looking to raise one another up and this was certainly achieved in those three days and the catch-up sessions post program.
How was your experience when you were there?
Incredible, far better than I could have imagined. I gained more than what I had hoped for!
With each piece of leadership training I complete it feels like I am gaining cogs and trying to fit them together. Each time I have a session it becomes clearer and clearer about how all the cogs fit in the wheel and then the ‘aha’ moment happens where you realise all the cogs are moving together and it’s not static…for example how does my need for approval play out in this situation, and if I combine that with the information I know about emotional intelligence how do both of those things play out…and when I get stuck I can add in what I know about political intelligence and influencing and then if I need a sounding board to help piece all this together I have the supportive group of other Compass Advance women alongside Faby and the Compass team to brainstorm with.
Can you talk more about the experience of connecting with the other women?
We were all there ready to just roll up our sleeves, there was no armour – it was just supportive and accepting from the get-go. I honestly feel like I’ve made some solid lifelong connections and support outside my normal network.
One incredible part of this experience was sharing the story of “I’m not enough” and wow, to look around the room and see everyone’s connecting with this same unconstructive thought. I was standing there admiring all these women and then thinking they have the same worries and thoughts I do. The opportunity to all un-pack our own comfortableness and hold space for one another was profound.
Can you pinpoint specific outcomes that you’ve received, both professionally and personally as a result of entering into the course?
I think accountability to myself and the ability to back myself and not fall into old habits of unconstructive thought and action. Historically I can be quite quick to respond to situations that feel threatening, however I now appreciate the power of reframing, allowing space for clarity of thought and having a courageous conversation to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. I feel like 9 times out of 10 I am approaching those difficult conversations with more clarity of thought and seeking to understand the perspective of the person I am engaging with whilst also being able to confidently put forth my opinion without old stories creeping in.
What has been the impact of the follow up sessions post the 3-day immersive Compass Advance course?
There has been so much value in coming together, every time we do we recreate that empowerment that was created in the 3-day program. That energy and sense of connectedness always comes back, and you feel re-invigorated and re-focussed to committing what you had set out for yourself in the program. Ultimately, you can do all the courses you want in the world, but if you’re not continually practicing it’s very hard to make those changes.
”“It was just supportive and accepting from the get-go. I honestly feel like I’ve made some solid lifelong connections and support outside my normal network.”
At the Dattner Group, we acknowledge First Nations people both here in Australia and around the world. We thank First Nations people for the countless millennia of teaching, caring, learning, leadership and culture, and we pay our deepest respects to the wisdom of Indigenous people and custom past, present and emerging.