Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership Community Engagement Senior Sage Leadership: Interview of Barbara Thomas

Senior Sage Leadership: Interview of Barbara Thomas

23 min read

18.   What are the one or two peak experiences in your life that set you on the path you’re on today?

I have had three peak experiences that changed my life and resulted from my husband and me being involved in the before-mentioned organization that sponsored a variety of projects, including the nuclear issue, solving conflict without going to war, and the sustainability of our planet.  The first, of course, was engaging in in-depth study of the great spiritual wisdom teachers and routinely applying their principles to my own life. The second culminated in our volunteer work in another state on a critical social issue. I learned leadership by going into towns and cities and getting CEOs and others engaged in organizing and fund raising. We pulled off an amazing experience at a Convention Center in that state, and I was MC. During our four years there I had many experiences with national media personalities. Yet a third peak experience is that I become president of a year-long project for girls who had graduated from high school and were taking a year off before going to college to learn how to think and discern how to put together a program and go out and sell it. My husband and I lived in a home with 12 girls for a year. Our role was to serve as teachers, and the girls learned how to cook, organize, budget, get along, and run and clean a house. These were bright middle class kids from good homes, and the program impacted me greatly. During that year I experienced a depression that I had to deal with, without pulling everyone else down with me. It didn’t take long to realize I had strength and energy and lots of love and support. And now as Board President of an organization that serves young girls, I find this to be another peak leadership experience.

19.  You probably know other individuals who have sage leadership talents and skills but are not currently involved in the civic life of our community. Why do you believe they choose to be uninvolved? What, if anything, might be done to get them engaged?

I really don’t know many people like that because my husband and I tend to associate mostly with those who are greatly engaged in voluntary community service. I expect there are a number of reasons some people do otherwise. Sometimes they feel they have been so busy all of their lives making a living that it is now their time to do as they please. Then there are those who simply don’t want to be responsible for anything any more except their own time and lives. But I expect the larger reason is that some of these people simply haven’t found their passion in this stage of life. They need for something to click on, for there to be a spark that links an organization’s mission and their passion in ways that compel them to become involved. Passion and the quest for knowledge, the survival quotient.

20.     One final question: It is often said that the quality of life in our community is highly attractive and unusual. Do you believe this to be true? (If yes): What are the three or four things about our community that you most value and make  you want to continue living here?

I have lived in 21 different places in my life, including other countries and states. There simply is no other place we want to live than here. Most people we know are well-educated and broad-minded. They genuinely care for each other and pull together when there is need to do so, and this is especially important at our age. I’m also enormously impressed that we have terrific young mayors for our two towns, and Women of Worth and Gathering of Women that do things for the whole community. We also have great beauty and recreational opportunities here. Our arts organizations are superb, as are a number of restaurants. The only thing I am not impressed with is the old history of the tension between Grass Valley (blue collar) and Nevada City (where the managers lived). The more interdependence and collaboration between the two the better. I think this is happening in many arenas.

21. Do you have anything else to add as we conclude?

No. Thank you.


Other essays in this issue of Sage:

Histories of the 50 Emerging Sage Leaders:


Histories of the 50 Senior Sage Leaders:


Peak Life Experiences: The Beginning of Emerging Sage Leadership:


Peak Life Experiences: The Beginning of Senior Sage Leadership:


Interview Profile of Emerging Sage Leader Richard Baker




Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Download Article 1K Club
Load More Related Articles
Load More By Gary Quehl
Load More In Community Engagement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Deep Caring XXVIII: Generativity Four—The Benefits of Civic Engagement  

 The generative motivations that Sage leaders attribute to their civic involvements, and t…