Inspired by the idea that career paths are no longer ladders, but more like jungle gyms, I interviewed 10 current and recent Quaker Heads (General Secretaries, Executive Directors, etc.) of Quaker organizations about their career paths, their spiritual & religious paths, and the intersections of the two. I interviewed heads from many sizes of Quaker organizations, to create a range of organizations and interviewees.
The project is semi-representative, mostly interviewing liberal unprogrammed organizations. It is not trying to be comprehensive. These are organizations of varying sizes, which serve and represent Quakers in many capacities.
I was interested in exploring the hypothesis that there is no direct path to being a Quaker executive for a Quaker organization. There are, however, be common skills among them, and similar spiritual practices which ground their work.
After each interview, I transcribed it, and posted these transcriptions from each interview as blog posts.
I’m hoping to continue the project by writing a short series of culminating blog posts summarizing what I learned during my interviews. Examples of questions I would like to answer include: Is there a common path to these positions? Are there common tools or practices used by these Executives? What leadership skills are common among them, and how did they acquire these skills (within or outside of the Quaker world)? How does Quakerism make this leadership distinctive?
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting extended an invitation to me to present about these interviews during their annual William Penn Lecture. Along with presenting excerpts from the interviews, I will be interviewing a panel of Quaker leaders from the Yearly Meeting.