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Learning + Leading = An Essential Combination

We are in the middle of a multi-month series unpacking  L3 Catalyst Group’s Ls: Learn, Lead, & Liberate. We are hearing from more than a dozen brilliant humans about why they value and how they define, understand, and love learning, leading, and/or liberation. They’ll share a short narrative, tell a story, or share a challenge that illustrates why Learn, Lead, or Liberate is important to them.
Blog - L3 Catalyst Group Mission

At L3 Catalyst Group, we believe that leadership is intention in action. Everyone can be a leader, irrespective of one's formal position. Leadership is significant and complex. It embraces conflict and is grounded in personal and organizational commitments, values, and vision for change. Addressing this complexity requires everyone's engagement to do their own work for the collective whole.

Today, we hear from Courtney Simmons, a brilliant, brave, and badass human, about the essential combination of learning and leadership.

I deeply thank you, Courtney, for sharing your thoughts about learning and leading.

Fellow leaders and learners, I wish you courage, rest, and beloved community along the journey.

Deanna Signature

Watch a short video about my passion for learning & leading, including an example of those actions were modeled.


I’m super passionate about learning, leading, and the intersection of these two actions. 

To clarify language from my perspective: 

Learning is the active process of taking in

new knowledge or information to generate insights

or shift existing perspectives.

Leading is for everyone. At any given time, we may be called to lead formally (with direct reports and structural authority) or informally (through indirect reporting relationships and influence). Leadership goes beyond management - of details and people - to when a person can work with another person or group to support them in being more successful than they were before individually. 

Unlike the knowledge acquisition of facts, I am passionate about the learning that happens when we generate a deep interest in taking in the perspectives of others. This happens when we share our ideas and experiences and, in turn, hear those from others and together come up with a better final product - inclusive of the perspectives of many. 

It is in the moments when we hear the things that challenge us most that we have an opportunity to examine what we can learn about ourselves and the humans around us. A great leader, then, can suspend their ego to demonstrate curiosity and learn from the things that challenge them the most. To ask the questions: what can I learn about why this challenges me? What’s coming up here? What questions can I ask, or where can I go to learn more about this topic, experience, or point of view on my own? 

In an educated society, leaders will often talk about the value of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset - the ability to gain skills and knowledge that has not yet been attained in contrast to the belief that our skills and talent are fixed, innate, and unchanging. However, in my experience, in action, leaders often struggle with this. We must create a culture of vulnerability and transparency in leadership ranks.

I have had the best experiences with leaders who have been able to demonstrate vulnerability. Vulnerable leaders seek feedback, invite poking holes in apparent solutions, and believe that together we come up with the best ideas. Leaders who value learning over knowing and practice over perfection are less likely to get stuck and, over time, build trust with their teams to really hear “what people think around here.” Ultimately they and their teams better identify challenges and together create the best solutions for those challenges.

Courtney Signature


What Im Reading-1 Suggestions for More Reading:

Questions to Consider Questions for Consideration Regarding This Topic:

  • When was the last time you truly considered a perspective that challenged you?
  • What challenging idea can you revisit and seek to learn more about?
  • How might you bring these learning leadership practices with you next time you’re engaging with others? 

Upcoming TopicsOther L3 Catalyst Group Blogs Related to Learning:

Courtney Simmons (she/her)
Post by Courtney Simmons (she/her)
October 11, 2023
Courtney (she/her) has led in corporate spaces for nearly 20 years, and has experienced the implicit and explicit ways we communicate that people don’t “fit in.” Her dedication and passion for transforming systems to make requisite changes for true inclusion, equity, and belonging are evident at the core of her being. Courtney is skilled in co-creations, design, and facilitation of DEI strategy, implementation, and learning commitments with a unique blend of candor, vulnerability, and expertise. Having served in diverse corporate spaces spanning across North America, from Fortune500 companies to craft brewing and non-profit organizations, she helps leaders and teams grow spaces of equity, inclusion, and belonging. Courtney founded Inclusive Insight Group in 2023 to support the relentless pursuit of joy, fulfillment, and success one inclusive insight at a time.