Seattle Girls' School

News and happenings in education from the Head of School, Rafael del Castillo

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Phoebe Eng

What a remarkable first day at the NAIS People of Color Conference!

Phoebe Eng - strategist, national lecturer, and author of Warrior Lessons - addressed many of her topics to the young people in the audience. She urged them to find those best places that will make a place for their "whole selves." Her book is a memoir-based examination of race, empowerment, and leadership in a rapidly changing world. She also provided three broad guidelines for our future leaders:

- There will be unique opportunities in "flattened hierarchies" that are becoming more and more common.
- Future generations will need to open up the "silos" of their lives in order to bring their whole selves to the table.
- Young people will need to fully engage the world around them, but on their terms - retaining the cores values they develop as individuals.

Eng has worked with a broad range of institutions - city, state, and federal agencies, Fortune 500 companies, churches and universities - helping them to understand the complexities and opportunities of a multicultural society and develop programs which increase the participation of women and people of color. Her next book Fluency will capture the highlights of this lecture series.

Once past the morning of inspiration, I had the opportunity to participate in the Latina/o-Hispanic American Affinity Group. Smart phone technology helped us quickly get a sense of who was in the room (check out, and then we began a two-day exploration of our collective racial-cultural identity. I should highlight that a few doors down, Rosetta Lee, SGS faculty member, was helping lead the Asian/Asian American Affinity Group. Rosetta will also present two workshop sessions to her peers as she is well known and well regarded nationally in this work. You would all be very proud of the SGS presence at this gathering.

We ended the day with a gathering of folks from the Pacific Northwest region - mostly from Seattle - and we shared some of the local opportunities for young people and adults alike. More tomorrow!


  1. What a wonderful opportunity to learn about diversity and learning! Thanks for sharing, Rafael. And in response to your Thursday notes, I would say that, while we must accept that changes occur rapidly in this world, we also have to teach our girls to respect the processes that require patience and perseverence or we are setting ourselves up for a scary time. They need to understand that some things require delayed gratification (or no gratification at all -sometimes the process is actually much more valuable than the outcome).

  2. So true! Process may become even more essential as rapid change can work for us or against us!