2020 ESR Leadership Conference

Courageous Leadership: Embracing Difference and Facing Uncertainty

July 31 - August 2


Georgette Ledgister, Ph. D. 
Executive Director, Fearless Dialogues

PDF Brochure

In the pursuit of professional development, skills-building, and advancing the goals and missions of individual organizations, leaders often come into contact with one another, without being given an opportunity to develop meaningful and grounding relationships. As a result, fear occupies the relational space in which familiarity and impactful connections would otherwise thrive.


  • In the increasingly divisive nature of our social interactions - interactions that are hampered by social distancing - what does leadership that holds in balance the importance of contact, and the human need for connection across difference (generational, class, racial, gender, ability, sexual orientation, confessional, etc.) look like?
  • How can leaders cultivate a culture of hospitality in the midst of conflict and collective vulnerability?
  • In what ways does the Quaker tradition offer insights and practices to healthily bridge the artificial divides between the professional and the personal, the corporate and the communal, and the theological and the practical?


For the 2020 ESR Leadership Conference, Dr. Georgette Ledgister will facilitate an interactive workshop for business professionals, higher education leaders, Quaker organization employees, nonprofit administrators, ministers, students, and the surrounding Richmond community.


The three-day workshop will focus on navigating the fears that leaders encounter, and fostering networks of meaningful connections and mutuality as a foundation for healthy leadership.


Participants in the 2020 ESR Leadership Conference will be equipped to:


  • Identify and-engage the fears, and resulting uncertainties that hinder effective leadership;
  • Forge meaningful and intergenerational relationships with one another, and
  • Model leadership that fears less and connects courageously in the midst of uncertainty and in the face of difference.



Keynote Presenter: Georgette I. Mulunda Ledgister, Ph.D.


Dr. Georgette "Jojo" Ledgister serves as the Executive Director of Fearless Dialogues, an organization that spe­cializes in creating unique spaces in which unlikely partners gather to dia­logue about difficult subjects. She holds undergraduate and master's degrees from Emory University, where she also earned a Ph.D. in so­cial ethics and comparative religions. Ledgister teaches courses in religious studies at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. Her scholarship assists organizations, companies, faith communities, and educational institutions to develop skills and strategies to tap into the creative and constructive possibilities of conflict. She is an ordained Methodist elder, and resides in Atlanta with her spouse, Andre, and their daughter, Zuri.



Interested in learning more? Watch a preview video conversation with Dr. Ledgister and others here: 



Additional resources:


How ‘White Fragility’ Reinforces Racism - The Guardian


TED Talks on Racism

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, Luvvie Ajayi


The Path to Ending Systemic Racism in the US, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson, Dr. Bernice King, Anthony D. Romero

How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time, Baratunde Thurston

What it takes to be racially literate, Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo