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Amanda E. Machado

“As part of my work for LEAP Science and Maths Schools, I was also mentored by a woman named Marguerite Callaway, who runs the Callaway Leadership Institute, an international leadership development company that defines effective 21st leadership as one that “acknowledges that people are an organization’s most important asset” and “reintroduces ethics and values into a leadership role.”

Her leadership development process aimed to reorient our professional focus from career achievements to overall life goals. During our first session, she asked us to write our core life values, and then use them to write a “life mission statement” that articulated the overall purpose of our life’s work. She believed this big-picture clarity about our personal intentions would ultimately guide us most in our more concrete professional goal-setting, instead of the other way around.

Through our mentorship, she asked these crucial questions: “What do you value most right now?” and “What kind of person are you trying to grow into becoming?” Through answering those larger questions, I could more easily navigate the smaller, daily obstacles of my professional life: when to tolerate a corporate position in exchange for necessary skills and experience, when to consider a loved one’s concern about your professional path, and when to ignore their influence, how to find avenues for meaningful work or a sense of community when a “day job” wasn’t providing that kind of fulfillment.

Unlike others in the past, Marguerite didn’t view personal and professional desires as necessarily conflicting. Instead, she argued that by acknowledging the full range of my desires, I could figure out the healthiest priority to move me forward right now. Instead of telling me —as many others implied in the past — that I had to choose which kind of professional I wanted to be, Marguerite helped me figure out what version of myself each moment of my professional life required.”

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