Purpose Shared: Qualitative Research & Whole Person Leadership for Women

by Patricia Neal


Qualitative research plays a unique role in CPL’s Whole Person Leadership for Women program. Faculty member and Qualitative Research Specialist Claudia Eisinger of Fifth Element Associates has created powerful results integrating research into the program.

Core to Whole Person Leadership for Women (WPL) is the concept of “From Where You Lead”: Who are you as a leader? What are your leadership values and principles? What is your purpose and how do you share it?

Whole person  leadership for women

Whole person
for women

The role of research in the WPL program is as a deep listening and reflecting tool to help you connect to and nurture what matters to you. When you are connected more fully to your purpose you are able to connect more genuinely with and bring out best in others, creating a wider, collective and culturally beneficial impact.

Through individual participant interviews and synthesis of each program session, Claudia identified patterns and trends of the individual and collective journey of the WPL cohort. A potent example of a research insight about the program is reflected below.


If you are a woman leader who wants to be more authentic and powerful in your various leadership roles: at home, at work and in your communities, we’d love to have you join us. The next cohort begins in October. Learn more here.

Purpose Shared: Whole Person Leadership for Women

Photo credit: Patricia Neal 2017

Photo credit: Patricia Neal 2017

by Patricia Neal

Tend & Befriend: Back in 2007 I read an article about a 2003 UCLA study where researchers identified a critical difference between the sexes…how we manage stress. I began to ask new questions about leadership and representation and wrote an article that led me to co-found a women's leadership retreat with Vonda Vaden Bates: When Women Lead

The questions that led me to create When Women Lead are still relevant today and led me to create Whole Person Leadership for Women in 2017. I invite you to read the article and consider joining us for the next Whole Person Leadership for Women cohort this Fall.

I wondered what is the expression that is needed to create leadership that brings wholeness? What is the world that we want to see for ourselves, women and men, and our children? And how do we get there?

I felt it was time for women to step forward in our real power, which is being who we truly are. Who we are as feminine leaders is that we are humans first; we come from and can act from wholeness that recognizes that.

In 2003 UCLA researchers identified a critical difference between the sexes…how we manage stress. Early baseline studies on stress and human behavior were conducted predominantly on men. This study established a new baseline: Females respond to stressful situations by protecting themselves (and their young) through nurturing behaviors (‘tending”), and by friendship, forming alliances with a larger social group (“befriending”). In other words, the traditional “fight-or-flight” explanation may be inaccurate when it comes to women. 

I began to challenge all assumptions as to how the world functions and how I can make a difference. I had spent my life overriding natural tendencies of behavior and leadership. I began to look for models and allies that could help me grow into the leadership that is naturally mine: leadership from the perspective of wholeness versus authority-over.

As you probably know, many women have gathered, in our communities and organizations, all over the world, forming alliances for social change, doing business together. This still-emergent movement is quietly, persistently changing the world as we learn to author our lives.

Purpose Shared: People on the Move @ CPL

Photo credit: Craig Neal 2017

Photo credit: Craig Neal 2017

by Patricia and Craig Neal

In Spring of 2017, Rachel Harris, MAOL, a trusted Heartland colleague since 2012, left to run for City of St. Louis Park City Council. In November 2017, SHE WON and is now the Ward 3 Council person!! Lucky them! Even though it's been over a year, it is never too late to give a proper send-off and honor her. Joel Hodroff of Scryp.io and DualCurrency recommended Rachel to us — was he spot on! Rachel was a joy to work with for five years. We learned so much from her as a Systemic Change Facilitator, Policy wonk, and Strategic thinker, but also as one who holds a big vision for kindness, equity, collaboration and all boats rising in our organizations and communities.

Rachel-swearing in.jpg

We say goodbye, and a big thank you, to Sarah Flores, our trusty marketing and social media intern for 1-1/2 years. Sarah helped build and grow a structure for our marketing outreach as we rebranded from Heartland Inc. to Center for Purposeful Leadership a year and half ago. Sarah graduated from the University of Iowa in May and recently moved to Denver for exciting new work with Insight Global.


We welcome Anna Patterson, our new marketing and social media intern. Anna has helped expand our social media game, while keeping an eye on on our marketing program. Anna is a Senior at UW Madison, completing her degree in Strategic Communication and Political Science next May.


Many thanks to Daniel Scotton, a most excellent summer CPL intern, who has guided the visual design and technical buildout of our new blog. His creative leadership and willingness to work hand and hand with us allowed the blog rebuild to be completed in record time. Daniel is completing his degree in Philosophy and International Business at Hamline University. We are grateful for his willingness to dive in to grow his expertise and teach us a lot of new tricks!

Purpose Shared: Introducing Our New Blog!

Photo Credit: Craig Neal | 2013 |  Bde Maka Ska

Photo Credit: Craig Neal | 2013 | Bde Maka Ska

Introducing our beautiful new blog!

Each week we'll share all things purposeful: Purpose Moments, Purpose Shared postings, convening as purpose-in-action, and more.

What you can count on is attention to why purpose matters, and why purpose-shared is the ultimate leadership expression for yourself and on behalf of others.  We will continue to post interviews with and essays from thought leaders in the realm of purposeful leadership. (see Archives in the right column) 

You can participate, too! Send us your stories of sharing your purpose. How has sharing your purpose made a difference in your life, organization or family? We are collecting interviews and stories as an inspiration for others. Email Patricia with your ideas.

Many thanks to Daniel Scotten, a most excellent summer CPL intern, who has guided the design and technical buildout of the blog. 

Purpose Shared: My Purpose & Richard Leider

WPL banner.png

by Patricia Neal

Richard Leider

Richard Leider

Last week Craig and I met with Richard Leider. We reviewed the binder of materials covered in the recent Whole Person Leadership for Women. We are actualizing purpose work in innovative ways such as via the Napkin Test (Richard's), WPL Leadership Blueprint & Challenge, Purpose Statement and Purpose Plan.

Living your purpose is visceral for Richard. He had a challenge for us to consider: If purpose is about growing and giving, how are we using our Purpose Statements to grow and give every day.? How does my Purpose Statement help me organize my day? What are the benchmarks? At the end of the day, what is the measure of expression.

He is a believer of first thing in the am, before anything else, to take a moment and focus on purpose. Last thing at night, review the day.

For instance, my purpose statement is: “Bringing people together for positive impact for all boats to rise.” At the grocery store, at work, wherever I am.

He asked: in the morning, upon awakening do I imagine who I will be connecting?
In the evening, can I recall my impact? Or how many boats have risen?

Oh boy! That conversation has helped be narrow my focus to more fully express my purpose.

Purpose Shared: Nelson Mandela's 100th Birthday- Making History...

The first happened in 1964, when Mandela was put on trial for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the state. The second is the speech Mandela gave in 1994 when he was inaugurated as president.

The first happened in 1964, when Mandela was put on trial for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the state. The second is the speech Mandela gave in 1994 when he was inaugurated as president.

by Patricia Neal

Two Mandela Speeches That Made History

Today is my birthday! I am honored to share it with many amazing people, not the least of whom is Nelson Mandela. I speak in the present tense because, today, almost 3 years after his passing, his spirit is alive and strong. His purpose was so clear—to create a free society in which all are valued for their humanity—that it lives strong in the hearts of many, fueling vision and right action on behalf of others. As Richard Leider notes, purpose is about serving something larger than yourself. Purpose-shared is always the goal. 

Join me in being inspired to live larger than our selves, with right action, on behalf of a freedom that values each human for their gifts and presence.