Our Spanish-speaking community is women-led—teachers as well as project heads. We would like to inspire and cultivate stronger women leaders, using more empowering leadership models, and have created a two-year program to sharpen our attention on this task. Rather than reproduce the top-down, hierarchical models of leadership that we have inherited from our practice traditions, which have been historically transmitted primarily by men to men, we are currently rethinking how we lead, how we build teams and how we organize our projects. We would like to leave behind the model of a solitary heroic leader, shift away from an ethics of accomplishment to an ethics of care, and adopt more collaborative and facilitative models that are explicitly rooted in qualities associated with the sacred feminine.

We believe Buddhist teachings offer ample resources that we can draw on to first, re-vision leadership as an extension of spiritual practice, as an expression of Dharma principles and founded on an ethics of care, and second, implement that (re)vision.

Since our practice community is overwhelming comprised of Latina women, we will specifically seek to ensure that our models are suited to their conditions and reflect their particular strengths.

This two-year project to dialogue with other communities, take workshops together and undergo empowerment training specifically for Latina women has been partly funded by the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation. Our project team includes María Cristina Bejarano (Argentina, Colombia), Thubten Karya/Andrea Quintana Torres (USA, Colombia), Rosalía Vázquez Toríz (México), Jennifer Batista (Venezuela, México), Libia Franco (México) and Lorens Bobadilla (Chile).

During that time, we will be 1) developing models of female leadership and team collaboration that better channel the sacred feminine, and 2) training our next generation leaders to cultivate the qualities associated with such models and finally, 3) creating resources to implement this vision within our 150-person volunteer organization.