Charlotte Jacob-Maguire: Shifting our Purpose

In this photo there are 4 women taking a group photo together. One is holding a sign that says 'for accessible shops' in French

A photo from 2019 of Charlotte (2nd from the right) with an ally and 2 elected officials from the City of Montreal

“I experienced ableism from Day 2 of the stroke

Charlotte Jacob-Maguire

The core framework of Sync Leadership learning is the 7 Elements and their application in Deaf and disabled leadership.  In a nutshell, the 7 Elements are Choice, Values or Beliefs, Skills or Talents, Passion, Identity, Vision and Purpose.  Developed by the Institute of Human Development, these 7 Elements are a way of understanding self and other’s responses when we spend time online together or in person, through group and 1:1 coaching conversations. 

In a catch-up conversation with recent Sync Quebec alumni, Charlotte Jacob-Maguire our session focused on considering the 7 Elements.  What quickly emerged were Passion, Identity, Vision and Purpose.  We also considered how a life-changing event can alter our life trajectory in a moment.

Purpose is what we were born to do. Corny as it might seem, in our lives we usually land upon something that is an overarching driver for our professional lives.

Passion is of course what inspires and delights us.  It is a state that we can recognise in others when they are speaking about something that really matters to them, both good and bad. 

Identity is who we are, the blend of our experiences, but also the useful or not so useful attributes we have or things we believe about ourselves that might help or hinder our progression.  What parts of our identity come to the fore at any one time?  

Vision is the picture we create of where we are going. A little fuzzy at times when life throws curveballs at us, we can work to clarify our vision through coaching, collective sharing and questioning, even in a time of ambiguity and flux.

For Charlotte, having a stroke shifted things in an instant, and pushed her love of museums and collections into new territory. Her identity shifted too, from someone without impairment to a lived experience of disability and these new facets have forced her her to constantly challenge what she believes about herself and her ‘what next?’.

Ableism had previously been more of an abstract concept.  It was certainly one that she challenged, but this change in her own life has shifted her thinking considerably. In our conversation she made a great distinction between accessibility and ableism, as well as describing the necessary shift she has made in her approach to policy and anti-discriminatory practice which she is enacting with a refreshed sense of purpose.

We’ll be sharing more about the 7 Elements in the next few months as we pool the thinking of our Sync Canada 16 with Sync UK 16 – a brilliant handful of leaders who undertook the Sync Leadership programme when it first emerged in the UK, in the lead up to 2012.

This Spring 2021 Alumni from both sides will connect online in an up-coming webinar where we will consider the individual and collective desire to spread the word that Deaf and disabled leadership is more than a notion, it’s alive and kicking!

Watch this video to see Charlotte talking through the 7 elements with Sarah Pickthall:

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