Under the theme Cultivating Synergies through Team Empowerment, Michelle Miller, Life-Coach, Communications Expert and Empowerment Practitioner, facilitated a Team Empowerment Activity (TEA) workshop for junior members of the One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) staff, Centre for Training and Innovation (CTI) instructors and administrators/programmatic staff of four of OEF’s partner organizations, Cancer Society of Eleuthera (CSE), Eleuthera Arts & Culture Centre (EACC), One Eleuthera Corporative Credit Union Limited (OECCUL) and The South Eleuthera Mission (SEM). The TEA workshop consisted of a one-on-one coaching session with each participant and a follow up training with the full group of twenty-two (22) participants.
The confidential one-on-one sessions were scheduled for thirty (30) minutes for each employee on Wednesday, June 22nd and Thursday, June 23rd.  The purpose of the sessions was to elucidate from staff impediments to their personal and thus professional development; with the understanding that self-efficacy is a critical component to a well-balanced and more effective employee. While most employees were initially unsure of the value of such sessions, it can be confidently said that each employee received something from the sessions and for some the sessions heralded a life change. Employees struggling with all manner of personal and professional issues were able to share and most sessions ran far longer than the allotted thirty (30) minutes. Employees reported extremely emotional experiences in the sessions… expressing a sense of relief at finally beginning the journey to address long simmering obstacles to their growth – personal and professional.

The follow up Training Needs Analysis Group Discussion, held on Friday, June 24th from 9:00am until 12:30pm, was designed to begin to address a number of important topics emerging from the one-on-one sessions. Topics included: leadership, communication skills, confidence building, empowered living and harnessing the power of your brain. Participants were enthusiastic and readily engaged in Friday’s session. Ms. Miller began the session by dispensing rubber bands, then comparing to the object each participant now held their potential. Participants were asked to stretch the bands and share descriptive words or phrases that came to mind. Then to cease stretching the bands and again share their descriptions. Ms. Miller then pointed out that while the un-stretched rubber bands held potential, the stretched rubber bands were fulfilling that potential. Ms. Miller challenged participants to remember the same about their unique potentials. The session included a few additional team activities and lively discussions. One CTI instructor who communicated to Ms. Miller apprehension at presenting in front of a crowd, was asked to be the spokesperson for his group following an activity and he did an outstanding job to a rousing round of applause from his fellow participants. Ms. Miller is scheduled to return for a follow up training on facilitation skills.

Following the training, Ms. Miller spoke in admiration of a distinctive trait of OEF’s employees stating that one of the “more striking common threads observed in those who participated in this [workshop] was that they each possess an uncommon quality; having a heart for what they do”. OEF too recognizes the passionate, people-centered culture its employees inoculate into the organization and its responsibility to facilitate the training and empowerment of its exceptional team. OEF was thus pleased to offer this innovative, win-win solution in the form of coaching sessions and follow on training to its staff and partners, to begin to address the age old problem of employee empowerment.