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Posts Tagged ‘Gwynne Guzzeau’

What’s mud got to do with it?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

By Gwynne Guzzeau, Executive Director

It’s overcast today.  The snow and ice from multiple storms has finally melted leaving the ground exposed once again.  Mary, our office manager, prefers the ice on her driveway this time of year, “It looks nicer than the wet dirt and gravel.”  If I wasn’t so worried about slipping on the ice, I’d agree with Mary, but I’ll take the mud for now along with the inconvenience it brings, sticking to my shoes and tracking after me whether wet or dry.

It wasn’t always this way.  When I was seven, mud was a projectile.  Easily shaped into balls that fit my small hands and launched over the six-foot stockade fence into the neighbors yard where kids we weren’t allowed to play with lived and launched their counterattack.

When I was twenty-seven, mud was a serious matter.  I was working on a 25,000-acre cattle ranch on the Crow Indian reservation in southeast Montana.  Dryhead was a fitting name for the ranch, except after heavy rains when the dirt turned a slick rusty brown at least three inches deep.  My job as a ranch hand included vacuuming the carpeted dining area in the cookhouse before and after each meal and cleaning the bathrooms where the linoleum floors invited a mud slide, even with paper laid down to absorb the wet dirt.

Now, I live on the marsh where the mud is black and you can sink to your knees if you stand in the wrong spot.  Mostly, it’s my dog who gets covered in the thick smelly stuff of the marsh.

But what’s mud got to do with it anyway?  As a leader in transition, as a coach and as a human being, there’s so much that I can’t see.  So I lean into the unknown, the uncertainty, and much like stepping on the soft wet earth — boundaries become blurred when my feet merge with the mud.

Mud demands that I pay attention to the ground, not just the figure I’ve decided to move towards.  In this way, the ground acts on me and my experience literally, not “only” in a Gestalt sense of the word “ground.”  

Last week, I asked a CCTP colleague in the UK what I should be reading in light of my new position, she responded:  “Poetry.  The answers to your leadership challenges won’t be found in a book.”

I know she’s right because I already have a poem posted on my office wall that captured my attention in the first few weeks on the job.  It’s called “Spirit of Place: Great Blue Heron” by William Stafford and the last line reads “…feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.”

Luckily though, for all you can’t see, mud is really good at leaving tracks.  And if it’s Meetinghouse mud that means that you’re lucky enough to be at GISC and you’ll probably be tracking it in with the rest of us….



Quiet but not empty

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

By Gwynne Guzzeau, Executive Director

It’s quiet again.  An hour ago the last participant in the second week of the CDPCC program  left the building to catch a flight back to Scotland, his colleagues in the CDPCC are on their respective roads home  — north to Canada, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire; south to New York, and west to California.  One Cape-based participant left early for a business trip to the Middle East where he’ll be applying his newly-tuned coaching skills to work on a consulting project.  Our Director of Operations & Communications, Laurie Fitzpatrick, is among the CDPCC participants who’ve been laughing, learning and practicing for the past five days so she’s headed home too.  Now, it’s the hum of the dishwasher, Kemi Morrison, our Communications Assistant, and me. 


It’s quiet here, but it’s not empty.  The Edwin and Sonia Nevis Meetinghouse holds the values of optimism, generosity, integrity and trust that greet each of us when we walk into the building, regardless of who sits in this chair “on the back porch.”   And, I imagine, each of you leaves this Meetinghouse with the experience of this space set-up anew or for the first time, inside of you.  In that way, the work we do together when we gather here truly does transform the way we live and work in the world.


So as I introduce myself to you from my new seat as Executive Director, I want you to know something about how I got here:  I invested in myself, again and again. 


I followed the simple guidance I learned from Sonia Nevis, Nancy Hardaway and Deb Stewart, in my first workshop at GISC in 2007.  I expanded my awareness of my resources to include time and energy, not just money.  Then I started to keep a mental checkbook for my time and energy.  This framing of my resources helped me maintain resiliency in the early months of my law practice when cash flow came in fits and starts.  The money may not have been there, but I was “rich” with time and energy to spend on developing marketing collateral or networking. 


What about you?  Have you checked the balance in your time and energy checkbooks, not just your finances?


As the new year begins, I wonder, how will you use your resources of time, energy and money to invest in yourself?  Perhaps you will join me in small experiment or “let’s try” such as walking each day at lunchtime…


Or maybe you too will invest time and money in a coach to support you during a personal or career transition.


Like the participants who left this afternoon, after investing their time, energy and money into their personal and professional development, I hope you hold close to the optimism, generosity, integrity and trust GISC offers and that you use the power of your learning, your work, to find new ways to invest in yourself this year.


It’s dark now, the dishwasher is done, Kemi’s gone and it’s time to go home to my 11 year old son.  I’ll write again soon.


In the meantime, feel free to join this conversation and post a comment here or on LinkedIn or Facebook.


GISC names Gwynne Guzzeau as Executive Director

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Gestalt International Study Center (GISC), an internationally-recognized organization based in Wellfleet, MA, names Gwynne Guzzeau, MS, JD, as Executive Director effective January 1, 2014.  Guzzeau, a long-time Orleans resident, community leader, and attorney in private practice, has been affiliated with GISC for a number of years as a faculty member and Professional Associate.  She succeeds Mary Anne Walk, who will become Chief Relations Officer working under Gwynne’s leadership on business development and continuing as faculty.


In welcoming her successor Walk states, “As a GISC-certified coach, lawyer, educator, and community leader, Gwynne brings experience, energy, and creative thinking to GISC as the organization begins its next phase of transformation.”


“This is an exciting time to join GISC,” says Guzzeau.  “I look forward to leading and moving forward as we continue to deliver high-impact training, consulting, and coaching and remain innovative in our response to the development needs of our global clients. The Center’s success to-date is evidence that our programs can transform the way people live and work in the world.  GISC provides rigorous training and support that allows participants to gain immediate experience and apply their learning.  I look forward to advancing our vision in service to professionals, leaders and organizations seeking to increase their impact in the world.”


Guzzeau’s career spans several industries, allowing her to bring broad experience and value to GISC.  She has worked in education, law, small business and held public office.  She holds a JD from Georgetown University Law Center, a Master of Science in Education from Wheelock College Graduate School, and a BA, cum laude from Wellesley College. 


GISC is a nonprofit educational organization engaged in personal, professional, and organizational development.  GISC is located in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod and offers training at its Wellfleet training center, in live-online programs, and at locations around the world.


Gestalt International Study Center
P.O. Box 515, South Wellfleet, MA 02663
Phone: +1 555 123 4567