Next dates TBA

  • Are you tired of continuously being underestimated in your leadership role?
  • Do you desire the freedom to just ‘be yourself’ in all environments?
  • Are you ready to break open, and bust out to bring your deepest gifts to the world?

Your leadership is needed.  Join us.

This course has been created and will be led by Annahid Dashtgard, Co-Founder of Anima Leadership, and author of upcoming memoir “Breaking the Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion and Reconciliation”

Leadership is already a challenging enough path for many women. For women who are racial minorities there is a whole other layer of both internal and external barriers to push through. Self-confidence can be a challenge in the face of daily micro-aggressions, and these often occur on top of unresolved aspects of social trauma faced as a result of growing up as a member of a non-dominant group in society. This course is a supportive journey to break open and see the ways we block our own power, and bust out to bring more of who we are and what we have to offer into the world.

We often have limited control over our external environment, but the good news is that we can grow our personal power to maximize the influence we have: valuing our emotions, trusting our intuition, developing our dreams, and risking to act on behalf of what we know to be true. Whatever aspects of ourselves we grew up wanting to disown are often the very part of ourselves holding the key to our own unique leadership imprint. This course is a space devoted to cultivating insights and practices by diving deep into our own murky underworld to find the keys to our own superpowers, to grow our potential, to explore the consequences of being too big and how to navigate these, and to ultimately live our lives in a deeper well of self-love than previously thought possible. The world desperately needs our diverse voices and collective intelligence.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t got it? Flaunt it. ‘Cause what are we even doing here if we’re not flaunting it?” Mindy Kaling.

Black, brown, other racialized, Indigenous and trans/ gender non-conforming women all welcome.  We recognize and honour the complexity of intersectional identities.

Topic Areas we’ll be covering:

Break Open, Bust Out: Women’s Leadership Institute

Reclaiming Authenticity: Valuing Emotions as Information
Drawing on emotional literacy research we will explore the importance of feeling and allowing emotions and the valuable information they have to offer us, especially in a leadership role.

Implicit Bias: Messages we Absorb
What is the social context for growing up both female and racialized and the cost of the belief systems we absorb at both conscious and unconscious levels? The problem is not with us, but a society that has yet to champion the female Leader of Colour Archetype.

Accessing Personal Power: Reclaiming Our Story
Stepping more fully into our leadership potential requires accessing and excavating our personal foundations. Often, we subconsciously carry outdated beliefs about who we are or what we’re capable of. Catching what these core beliefs might be allows us to re-write the script and consciously reframe ourselves to ourselves.

Break Open, Bust Out: Women’s Leadership Institute

Authentic Communication: Recognizing and Unhooking from Triggers
Much of leadership is about making the best choice available in any moment. This strategic discernment becomes near impossible when something happens to trigger us. We will gently inquire into our triggers, where they come from and how to manage them in a way that strengthens our leadership impact instead of pushing us into lesser versions of who we want to be.

Playing to our Strengths: Growing Our Inner Warrior
There are often repercussions to stepping into our full strength as women of colour.  How can we step boldly into exerting our leadership role by finding the balance between compassion and assertiveness, one brave conversation at a time.

Break Open, Bust Out

Truth or Dare: What would I be doing if…?
Finally, we’ll dive into what we would be doing if…. if we had more positional power, or felt more powerful, or had better health or lived somewhere different… what is it that comes to us in the deepest hour of the night? The whispered dreams that we ignore in full daylight? Truth or Dare: Can we dare to allow ourselves what we most deeply wish for whether it be stepping more fully into action, or into a deeper place of rest and replenishment.

“What I appreciated the most about the course was Annahid’s authenticity and her support for each person’s individual journey, without any judgement. The resources for the class were very relevant and allowed for thoughtful self-reflection on how our lived experiences influenced our role as leaders”.

~ Jasjit Sangha, Author and Instructor, Ryerson University

“Annahid’s Leadership program was very different from what I’d come to expect from a developmental-type course. In short, I felt that my experience was really driven from my own being rather than being a cookie cutter course that sought to tell me how to be and do things differently.”

~ Micheline Davies, Director, Major Program Delivery, Canadian Tire Corporation

“A reminder of the emotional labour of being women of colour in leadership and the toll it can take on the mind, body, and soul.”

~ Brenda Smith, Anti-Black Racism Practice Integration Lead, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto

Additional principles this course is based on – please review before registering:

1) Leadership role: Ideally, you have been in an organizational role for a minimum of 5 years.  The course is designed for women leading change within complex institutions.

2) All identities centered:  We will be focussing on the similarities of experience across gender and racial identities. Although the course is not designed to centre any one particular form of oppression/ identity, I will be responsive to the emerging needs/ issues of the group.

3) Emotionally Focussed Facilitation: This is a whole body approach to learning that speaks to head and heart. I will be inviting and facilitating in a way that keeps our nervous systems open and regulated with one another.

4) Focus on inner and outer: All external impact is tied to inner abilities. To this end, the course will focus as much on inner skills (working with ourselves) as  much as external ones (working with others and systems).

5) Balance of tensions: We will work with multiple tensions throughout including:
– What am I bringing to this situation from the past that is mine vs. what is legitimate to address in the present?
-How can I connect with my experiences of marginalization as well as my experiences with privilege?
-How do I notice and hold my own feelings and story while also holding those of others?
Much of leadership is the balancing of many needs, including within ourselves. Rather than give easy answers, this course invites us to notice the complexity we dance with when we work with groups of diverse individuals in complex systems where most issues have no easy solution.

6) Leadership Vision: The curriculum assumes a vision of leadership for inclusive and equitable organizations and systems.  It sees the purpose of leadership as bringing greater health and healing to our world.

7) Power and Choice:  Lastly, the curriculum assumes we have everything we need within us to achieve our greatest potential or fullest self.  None of us needs rescuing, nor do we need to rescue. When emotions arise, they can be an invitation to notice what we often learn to marginalize.  This noticing can bring greater wholeness. Having said that, these emotions also may be a signal to step back. Everything in this course is offered as an invitation, we control our own learning.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to email course Instructor, Annahid Dashtgard

Registration Break Open, Bust Out: Authentic Leadership for Women of Colour

Date: TBA
Location: Vantage Venues, 150 King Street West, Toronto
Fee: $1200 + HST.
Fee includes all meals, snacks (all food preferences accommodated), and course materials.
(20% of our slots are sliding scale. Please enquire) Please note that there are also invoice and payment by cheque options.

Course Leader: Annahid Dashtgard, Co-Founder Anima Leadership
Contact: or (416) 516-8728

Anima Cancellation Policy:

  • 60 days or more prior to course: we offer a refund, minus a $100 administration fee.
  • Less than 60 days prior to course: we offer 50% credit towards next scheduled training, minus a $100 administration fee.
  • Day of, or day prior to, course: no refund or credit available. If you are unexpectedly unable to make the course, contact us about potentially sending a colleague in your place.