By Lynda Roberts, President, IEA Board of Director
As we enter into 2015 and I write this, my first “Letter from the President” to you, I am excited and looking forward to serving as IEA President. Looking ahead, I can’t help but also look back, and what arises for me is a strong sense of gratitude –
- gratitude for the IEA founders and for all those who have volunteered their service and leadership over its twenty-plus year history;
- gratitude for Maria Jose Munita – for her almost six years of service on the IEA Board; for her leadership these past two years; for passing the leadership torch so seamlessly; and, on a personal level, for her loving friendship and ongoing support;
- gratitude for the team of talented and dedicated IEA Board members;
- gratitude for Sandy Hatmaker and her team who provide such incredible support for our IEA organization;
- gratitude for having discovered the Enneagram, the journey that has unfolded for me, and the friends I’ve made along the way;
- gratitude for this international community of Enneagram professionals and aficionados – our IEA members around the globe;
- gratitude for the opportunity to serve this organization.
So, how did I get here? After “retiring” from an information technology management career almost fifteen years ago, I formed a project management consulting business teaching leadership and management. The Enneagram began to show up on my radar screen. My initial interest was how it might be helpful to managers, particularly project managers. As I began to read and study, I found myself mostly reflecting on others in my life, family and friends, people with whom I had worked, etc., and was amazed at the insights and new understandings that surfaced. Yes, I was unconsciously experiencing resistance to what I could discover about myself (from my dominant Type Six space on the Enneagram) UNTIL I attended my first Enneagram training, The Enneagram Institute’s Part I Training with Don and Russ. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I was on a bit of a roller coaster ride that week with moments where I felt that I should run for the hills, that this was not what I had signed up for, and was not for me. But I stayed and was gently invited and guided to shift the focus of my attention to self-awareness and the growth potential that comes with practice. Not only did I stay for that training but I kept going back for more. I was on a journey and my soul was hungry. As I teach and share the Enneagram with others in trainings, workshops, and corporate settings, I’m grateful for my Enneagram teachers, colleagues, students, the many Ennea-friends I’ve made, and my ongoing journey!
Soon after discovering the Enneagram and embarking on my studies, I heard about the IEA. I was already experiencing appreciation for the connections I was making with other Enneagram trainees, so I was intrigued by the possibility of connecting with people from other schools and with people from around the world. Wow, what an opportunity! So I joined the IEA and attended my first conference in Chicago in 2006 (and have been at every one since!). What I loved most at those conferences was the opportunity to meet and connect with people from around the world and the opportunity to experience so many different Enneagram professionals and perspectives. Every year, I find myself looking forward to and enjoying the IEA Global Conference as it continues to offer those same opportunities, but what I love most now is reconnecting with the friends I’ve made. I’ve also experienced the evolution of the organization as it has become more truly international, more professional, and more open and welcoming – the “big tent” as we say. I also had the opportunity this past year to attend my first regional conference, the European IEA conference hosted by our IEA Portugal Affiliate. What a delightful experience that was!
I’ve also enjoyed my experience as an IEA Board member. We are very much a “working” Board which I find quite rewarding. I continue to be amazed at the dedication of IEA Board members and their willingness to volunteer their time and talents. At the end of my term as President in 2016, I will have served on the Board for six years. I treasure the friendships that have developed and I’m proud of the direction we are taking, with a continued focus on the three pillars of our mission: Engagement, Excellence, and Education.
Like many others, I embarked upon my journey with the Enneagram not at all sure where it might take me. “Trust the unfolding” became my mantra. Stepping into the role of IEA President was certainly not on my radar screen but lo and behold, here I am, doing just that. Humbly, I take the helm grateful for the talented and dedicated team of IEA Board Members. I think it’s important that you, our members, get to know your Board Members, as they are representing you as they serve the organization. I invite you to communicate directly with me, certainly, but also with each of them. I direct you to the IEA website to meet the current IEA Board members: http://www.internationalenneagram.org/the_board/index.html
The IEA continues to grow and mature as an organization of Enneagram professionals and aficionados. In her recent letter, Maria Jose highlighted things we’ve accomplished as an organization in the past few years, all of which are ultimately in support of the IEA’s vision of “creating a world in which the Enneagram is widely understood and constructively used.” It is not the IEA’s job to do that directly (the IEA does not own or teach Enneagram content), but to achieve that by being an “association” that supports you, our members, in the work you are doing to take the Enneagram out into the world. That support is provided through the three pillars of the IEA’s mission. The IEA provides:
- “opportunities for developing greater excellence in the use of the Enneagram” (adherence to ethical standards and greater professionalism);
- opportunities for education in theory and application of the Enneagram (forums such as conferences, NinePoints, and the Journal for sharing and learning from each other);
- “opportunities for engagement with an international community of shared interest and diverse approach” (community building in person at conferences, virtually, and through Affiliates and Chapters in local communities)
Our Board will be meeting later this month (January 22-26) in San Francisco to continue our work and to solidify our plans for 2015. After our meeting, I will report more specifically on the “State of the IEA” and plans for the future. What’s important to highlight right now is the 2015 IEA Global Conference which will take place at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, July 31 – August 2. While the annual conference is not all that the IEA offers, it’s certainly a highlight of the year and provides so many opportunities for learning, sharing, connecting, building relationships, and having a great time together! And, the 2015 Conference is shaping up to be one of the best yet, so register now (the current early bird rate ends January 15th)!
Please know that I and my fellow Board members are committed to serving you, our members. It warms my heart to think about the hundreds of Enneagram professionals and aficionados in so many parts of the world, touching the lives of others with their Enneagram work in business, therapy, coaching, personal growth, spirituality, etc. While there are variations in Enneagram theories, applications, and schools, there is a profound wisdom that underlies the Enneagram that I believe can be trusted. As IEA members, we commit ourselves to “taking part in a knowledge-sharing community dedicated to using the Enneagram in an ethical way through theory development and diverse applications across the globe.” Our association is and should be one in which we share, discuss, and debate ideas, applications, and theory, trusting that we can all continue to learn and grow, exploring with openness and curiosity, while holding each other with mutual respect and openheartedness. Given the amount of pain and suffering that exists in the world today, it’s encouraging to know that our IEA members are making a difference, whether it’s through actively working with specific Enneagram applications or simply from doing our own personal work.
I look forward to serving as your IEA President and hearing from you – your hopes and dreams for this organization, your suggestions for how the organization can serve and support you in your work. Also remember to let us know what you appreciate about the IEA and what we are doing well.
With a warm heart and best wishes for you all in this New Year!
President, IEA Board of Directors