Ugo mentoring Abdeldjalil at MERA
2021 is a monumental year for us: it marks the tenth anniversary of the Global Environment Network: a project under the Global Diversity Foundation. In 2011, Gary Martin, GEN Founder and Advisor (and a dear friend of mine), posed a crucial question: where have all our environmental leaders gone? He wanted to know what support networks and mechanisms exist for those working on the frontlines of environmental conservation and social justice who often experience feelings of isolation and burn-out. To address this, Gary brought together a group of 20 young and emerging leaders to the first ever Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA) in Bern, Switzerland.
A decade on, and almost 600 members strong, we feel now is an opportune time to revisit and reimagine GEN's wider mission and vision. As we begin to (once again) emerge from lockdown in some parts of the world, we are cautiously - but determinedly - planning in-person GEN events, such as our Weaving Grief, the Body and Transformative Justice Toolkit #1 retreat in June and GESA 2021 in August of this year. Thanks to a recent fundraising success, myself and the core GDF team will begin working with an external consultant to develop the Global Diversity Foundation's 5-Year Strategy, as well as our wider fundraising and communications strategies. We want to ensure that we are reaching our impact potential and in the context of GEN, serving our members in the best way we possibly can. To do this, we need to ensure our why, how and what is crystal clear. We are really excited to be embarking on the next chapter of GDF's story.
As part of this effort, a central focus of 2021 will be developing our GEN mentoring package. Until now, the GEN mentoring programme has been informal and based around in-person events. We feel it is time to use our wealth (and years) of experience to create something more structured and long-term for our members. Myself and my GDF colleagues - Pomme, Emily and Rachid - are currently taking part in the MAVA Foundation's Leaders for Nature Academy. Run in collaboration with Common Purpose and Mowgli Mentoring, this year-long academy has already proved to be deeply rewarding and informative in a way that we could not have predicted. The Academy is a leadership development programme which bringing together two generations of leaders – senior and young professionals with an aim to support us to raise our awareness of leading self and impact on others, develop greater inter-generational understanding and cooperation, enhance our ability to Lead Beyond Authority – increasing our ability to lead and collaborate across boundaries and experience the power and potential of mentoring which supports long term personal and professional growth.
Many of the skills and tools shared in the Academy will form part of GEN's revised mentoring programme, which will focus on specific areas of development, such as Women in Leadership and Solidarity Leadership. Watch this space for more details and how you can be a part of the GEN Mentoring programme.