Emotional intelligence (EI) – having the ability to identify and manage your emotions, and the emotionsof other individuals and groups – has been a critical tool for many businesses looking to improve leadership, team effectiveness and organizational culture.
A relatively new company in Richmond believes that emotional intelligence can be of value outside of the business world, as we ll.
In middle schools, for instance.
Kelly Lewis, a former business leader at Capital One, founded Bounce with the belief that helping young people on the cusp of adolescence develop a stronger understanding of their self and tools to better manage their emotional responses could be transformational – for the kids, for their schools and for their communities.
Last year, working with 6th and 7th graders at Richmond’s Moody Middle School, she saw amazing changes in her young learners.
In September, Bounce jumps to a new level entirely with two expanded programs – one engaging mid-level business executives and Moody's entire 6th grade, and the second targeting the entire 7th grade at Moody (both students and teachers)
“Leaders and Learners is going to bring business and community leaders together in a powerful learning environment with students with a focus on raising everyone’s awareness, creating space for action and holding everyone accountable,” Kelly says. "When we thought about providing EI training to leaders in our community, our minds immediately went back to our middle school experience at Moody – can you think of a more authentic and honest and challenging population than a bunch of middle school kids?
“Through “Leaders and Learners”, 24 business and community leaders will go through a nine-month experience with eight days of self-awareness and EI workshops, leading 6th graders through an 18-week awareness program, and six one-on-one coaching sessions," she continues. The classroom portion of the program will happen at Moody Middle School.
Meanwhile, Bounce is excited to be partnering with a program called Courage to Teach to deliver a similiar experience to Moody's 7th grade.
“In this case, all of the 7th-grade teachers will go through workshops and coaching sessions together,” Kelly explains. “As they learn about self-awareness and emotional intelligence, the teachers will work together to guide the entire 7th-grade student body through a 12-week awareness program.”
Individuals in the community interested in applying for the Leaders and Learners program have until early August to apply. As a graduate of the public school system in Richmond, Kelly is excited about the opportunity to make a difference.
“Helping to create a community of citizens in our schools with every student being in better relationship with him- or herself and with others is truly an amazing opportunity,” she says.