What if Reconciliation-in-action Started with Relational Leadership?

  • How are you tapping into the fullness of who you are as a leader?
  • Do you embrace conflict or avoid it?
  • How adaptable are you in the light of new information?
  • In what ways can we co-create healthy spaces that encourage genuine diversity and equity?


These were a few of the topics explored during the “Your Path to Political Leadershipmorning gathering and speed-dating session hosted by New Westminster & District Labour Council and PowHERhouse on Saturday, April 2. As a new team member at PowHERhouse, it was great to sit in-circle with new and aspiring political leaders, hear what is on people's minds, and listen to the guidance of the women 'who have been there’. The conversation was honest, informative, encouraging, and inspiring.

Panelists included:

Charlene (1)

Charlene SanJenko

PowHERhouse founder and former two-term political councilor 


Christina Benty

PowHERhouse facilitator, human systems illuminator, former political councilor, and mayor

Janet Andrews NWDLC round (Small)

Janet Andrews

New Westminster & District Labour Council Secretary-Treasurer

hillary b

Hillary Bergshoeff

IATSE891 Assistant Business Representative

In terms of whole leadership, I appreciated Janet’s wisdom when she asked:


"You're a whole person, so how do you harness all of that as a leader? How do you live in a balanced way? Self-care allows us to mitigate the costs [mental/emotional/physical] involved with leadership."

Embracing whole leadership is something PowHERhouse is deeply passionate about and consciously intentional of. Another stand-out moment was when Christina mentioned:


“As a leader, you need to speak truth, not necessarily what’s popular.”


Hence, why it’s so important for leaders to be self-aware, know what we stand for, and lead with our values.

When it comes to conflict, it is something that is unavoidable as a leader, especially in politics. What is also true is that conflict can even be healthy (when done in a good way). Some further nuggets of knowledge on this topic came from Christina, when she indicated that it is possible to create healthy and safe environments that are also adversarial. They are not mutually exclusive. Reminding us to wrestle with ideas not people - This was an a-ha moment for me as I realized that's the goal - create environments (politically/organizationally etc) where folks feel like they CAN speak up; they CAN go against the grain; they CAN go against the status quo, ruffle some feathers and know that the group will rally to discuss and determine the next best step without any toxicity or retaliatory behaviour.

Charlene SanJenko mused on her own political experiences, especially when it comes to opposing perspectives. She shared that "Although I may not agree with you, I see you and respect you for being at the table with me as a community leader" - as one powerful method to diffuse conflict. She went on to add that How you show up to a conversation is more important than what is said in a conversation.” – that advice is a game changer.


Whether you're an established leader or finding your voice and establishing yourself anew, we can all benefit from continual self-awareness and leadership development. As one of my mentors says (half-jokingly) who is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and university professor: "No one knows what they're doing!" -- and that is why it's so important to have a community of like-minded people to engage, ask questions and share best practices in a safe and judgment free space -- therefore, PowHERhouse is happy to offer our First Steps leadership cohort.


NWDLC April 2 image screenshot

During a 90 day period you'll be steeped in relational leadership, deepening self-awareness and rapport building with one another and benefitting from a support system as we navigate this strange new (pandemic) world together:

  • Three modules
  • Five live sessions
  • Mastermind sessions around practical situational-based scenarios
  • Meaningful interactions and activities in our online gathering space

To ensure that who you are today will not be who you are in the near future. Two cohorts will run in parallel: one political focused; and one for all other leaders and change makers


We start April 20th. Open to all women and non-binary folks. Space is limited! 

For more information:

First Steps (General cohort)

First Steps (NWDLC Your Path to Political Leadership)


We hope to walk alongside you as you step further into the full potential and possibility of your leadership.

The world needs it. 


Questions? We’re here to help. Send an email to