Kenney Washington’s colleagues were on hand to celebrate his commissioning as a Diakonal Minister at CHHSM’s Annual Gathering in March. From left: Dr. Alice Graham, Yvette Scales, Washington, Sue Earl, and Jasmine Quinerly.

By Kenney Washington, director of client services, The Back Bay Mission

The Nollau Institute is a year-long program of leadership formation for its participants; it’s CHHSM’s signature leadership development program. The institute prepares leaders for consecration as Diakonal Ministers, a vocation characterized by servant leadership.

As I reflect on my experience in this class, I felt like I was challenged to look within myself as a person and as a leader within my agency and community. We discussed numerous topics, but what stuck with me the most were topics that were implemented within my agency such as Appreciative Inquiry, Gracious Space and Strength Finders.

Strength Finders was the most intriguing topic to me, because it’s my belief is that if you have a better understanding of the people that you work with, it will create and sustain a healthy and productive atmosphere in the workplace. The culture of the workplace is a lot more productive because of your understanding of your colleagues.

It’s also my goal as a leader with my agency to help the people that I supervise and the clients that we serve to become the best version of themselves, not who I want them to be or think that they should be. Also because of my awareness of being a servant leader, I will be even more effective because will I pay closer attention to my colleagues and to people within the community so that I can help them to grow and perform at their highest possible levels. I will also pay attention to the clients, so that I can understand their needs, and help them find the best solution to meet their needs.

The Nollau experience allowed me to make and maintain a connection with my classmates, who are scattered throughout the United States, so that we can support and encourage each other. When asked what Servant Leadership means, I responded, “I believe that it means displaying a giving heart while leading others — caring more about the well-being of others than seeking your own self-gratification.” The work that I do and attempt to do each and every day is my calling and a requirement of God to give to the people who are less fortunate than we are.

I am thankful and grateful for the experience that I received at the Nollau Institute. I will take what I learned and share it with every person that crosses my path, both in my professional and personal life.

A graduate of the 2018-2019 Nollau class, Kenney Washington wrote this column for the Summer 2019 edition of the Back Bay Missions’ Changing Tides newsletter. It is reprinted here with permission.