Leadership LINKS, Inc. featured story in WaveTops Publication

July 23, 2019, JULY 2019 Edition of WaveTops published by the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation, Class of 2002 Natasha Sistrunk Robinson.

“When you attend a place like the Naval Academy, you’re taught the importance of honor, courage, commitment, giving it your best shot every time, being people of integrity, looking out for others and telling the truth,” says Natasha Sistrunk Robinson ’02. Now she and six fellow alumni are paying it forward with Leadership LINKS, a non-profit offering leadership education for middle- and high-school girls focused on impactful living, spiritual and character development.

Continue reading at WaveTops.

Nonprofit: Girls Leadership Edge Helps Middle Schoolers

GREENSBORO, NC, July 6, 2018 - The program is designed to help middle school girls develop the courage, compassion and confidence to be lead themselves and others. Lillian said her confidence has gone from about a six before the program to a nine or even a 10 after the experience.

“I found out that it is very good for girls to be both smart and confident,” she said.

In 1984, Women’s Professional Forum Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, was created by members of The Women’s Professional Forum to promote, facilitate and support the education and leadership skills and qualities of girls and women. Two years ago, WPFF decided to invest in a leadership experience for middle school girls.

“In middle school, girls can be insecure and sorta lose themselves,” Lillian said. She echoes what the research suggests as a most difficult time in a female’s life.

This life stage, spanning ages 11 to 13 and grades six through eight, is one of extreme transitions. Physical changes, emotional growth and social upheaval are hallmarks of this stage of development. More than any other time in their lives, girls need adult and peer support and guidance to come through the middle school years relatively unscathed.

In partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership and Guilford Nonprofit Consortium, WPFF underwrote the research, design, facilitation and testing of an interactive curriculum for middle school girls ages 13 to 15 in Guilford County.

Lillian McNeal, 14, feels ready for high school, and Girls Leadership Edge was a major factor.

During the fall, 18 Guilford Nonprofit Consortium members whose nonprofits serve middle school girls, took the training on Girls Leadership Edge at The Center for Creative Leadership.

Facilitators received a Resource Tool Kit, a Resource Guide, Girls’ Workbook Exploration Card Decks and experiential activities for each of the five two-hour modules. For six months, the facilitators have offered the program to middle school girls throughout Guilford County.

Tracey Nicole Hayes, founding board member of Leadership LINKS, Inc. and trained GLE facilitator, offered the program to a group of middle school girls through her nonprofit. She said it gave middle school girls an opportunity to be vulnerable in a safe space.

Continue reading at Greensboro News & Record.

Summer Program links Future Leaders


August 7, 2017


JAMESTOWN — More than 20 teenage girls sported green T-shirts with the slogan “Live Your Dream” on their backs as they celebrated completion of a faith-based summer leadership program designed to help them accomplish their dreams.

Most of their mentors wore the same shade of green or military uniforms as they gathered with parents and family members at The Point College Preparatory School as Leadership LINKS’ weeklong Walk in Purpose Leadership Summer Program for Girls wrapped up Friday afternoon.
The girls shared their business plans, sang the “Live Your Dream” theme song and repeated Leadership LINKS’ core values creed. Those values focus on connecting people through the links of Love, Inspiration, Network, Knowledge and Service.

Continue reading this article with a subscription to the High Point Enterprise newspaper

Leadership LINKS facilitates the Girls Leadership Edge Curriculum

Eighteen Guilford County Facilitators Earn Certification to Provide New Girls Leadership Edge Program


Greensboro, NC – February 1, 2017 –  The Women’s Professional Forum Foundation congratulates the first eighteen Certified Facilitators of the Girls Leadership Edge program. Girls Leadership Edge is a series of learning modules to be delivered by qualified, highly trained facilitators   across Guilford County. The program modules provide middle school girls age 13 to 15 with the skills to become lifelong leaders in their lives and the communities in which they live.  The program is designed with an emphasis on developing Courage, Confidence and Compassion. 


Building capacity to develop girls in our community was important to WPF members. The following facilitators’ certification is the culmination of a rigorous application process followed by four days of classroom and experiential training at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro.


            Pat Fehlig -  College Planner, College Funding Innovations

            Charlene Gladney - Executive Director, Operation Xcel

            Kelly Graves - Executive Director, Kellin Foundation

            Bridget Gwinnett – Upper School Counsel, Greensboro Day School

            Dr. Tracey Nicole Hayes – Professional Editor, Leadership LINKS, Inc.

            Tasheka Jordan – Teacher, Guilford County Public Schools

            Britt Lassiter – Executive Dir., PEAK Adventure Ministries

            Ellen Lloyd – President, Butterfly Creations, Inc.

            Maria Mayorga – Latino Family Center Coordinator, YWCA, High Point

            Ashley McKiver – Unit Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point

            Brenda Mewborn – Founder, Empowered Girls of North Carolina

            Jacqueline Pippens – Parent Educator, Children’s Home Society of NC

            Megan Sappenfield – Program Director, YWCA High Point

            Kristen Tuma – PE Department Chair, Greensboro Day School

            Myrna Wigley – Community Volunteer, Diamonds & Pearls

            Amanda Wycoff – Recruitment/Girl Engagement, Girl Scouts



Girls Leadership Edge is made possible by a grant from the Women’s Professional Forum Foundation (WPFF) in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership(CCL) and the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium.  The WPF Foundation provided the funding and ongoing inspiration for CCL to research, design and test the highly interactive curriculum; develop the robust tool kit of resources; and build organizational capacity by training eighteen community facilitators.


Sue Kennedy, a WPF Foundation board member and Girls Leadership Edge spokesperson, said, “The WPF Foundation has been making grants to organizations with programs that empower girls and women for more than twenty years. After interviewing so many leaders of programs that serve girls, the WPF Foundation recognized a need for an experiential learning curriculum that would support and elevate the remarkable work already being done by those organizations.”


The Guilford Nonprofit Consortium and some of the organizations that serve girls in Guilford County participated in background research and prototype sessions of the five modules.   Feedback from girls and their leaders indicate that the program will make a significant impact. 


Each Certified Facilitator has scheduled Girls Leadership Edge modules into their programming during 2017.



Dr. Tracey Nicole Hayes, Leadership LINKS, Inc. Founding Board Member, and Girls Leadership Edge Facilitator

Dr. Tracey Nicole Hayes, Leadership LINKS, Inc. Founding Board Member, and Girls Leadership Edge Facilitator



About Women’s Professional Forum Foundation

Women’s Professional Forum Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization founded in 1984 by the members of the Women’s Professional Forum in Greensboro, North Carolina to promote, facilitate and support the education and leadership skills and qualities of girls and women. The Women’s Professional Forum is a 173-member organization whose purposes include providing support to professional women, exchanging and sharing information, ideas and experiences, and encouraging women to attain high career goals and enhance their careers through a network of professional contacts.


About Center for Creative Leadership

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) is a top-ranked, global provider of leadership development. Ranked among the world's Top 5 providers of executive education by Financial Times and in the Top 10 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, CCL has offices in Greensboro, NC; Colorado Springs, CO; San Diego, CA; Brussels, Belgium; Moscow, Russia; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Singapore; New Delhi-NCR, India; and Shanghai, China.


Adam and Ezer: Raising Girls to be More Than "Helpers"

Contributor: Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and it was good. The light was good. The land and the sea were good. All of the vegetation was good. The separation of the light from the darkness was good. Every bird and sea creature was good. Every animal God made was also good. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,” so he created “man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” “God saw all that he has made, and it was very good (Gen 1:31).”

After God created man to work his beautiful creation (Gen 2:4-7), and steward its resources causing all things to flourish as he desired, man took responsibility. He physically worked and cared for God’s creation alone (Gen 1:15). Then GOD said, “It is not good for the man to be alone (Gen 2:18).”


What God created from man was not an animal, nor was it like anything else in all creation. God created woman, in his own image and in the image of Adam (Gen 1:27 and Gen 2:23). She was created to be like Adam, yet different. She was created as a solution to right what God saw as a problem, “Adam’s aloneness,” and to also carry the

responsibility, Godly leadership and stewardship of God’s creation.

In the Hebrew language, the Word states that God’s created an “ezer” for Adam. Our English language simply translates the word to “helper” which does not capture the essence of the original language. This word ezer is used throughout the Old Testament often referring to God himself as a helper, warrior, or military aid to his chosen people, Israel. It has connotations of being a strong power or force.

According to the Bible, an ezer does not create more work but rather lifts the burden or lightens the load because none of us, in our human condition, can do the work of God alone. Author Carolyn Custis James writes extensively about this research beginning with her book Lost Women of the Bible. On this topic, I also recommend the book, Reclaiming Eve: The Identity & Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God.

When I think about fundamentals of Christian discipleship, specifically as it relates to women, I am convinced that women need to first Know and Love God, only then can they affirm their identity in Christ Jesus, and love their neighbors as they love themselves. These are the tenets outlined in my book, Mentor for Life. The identity piece is so important because from the beginning of all creation, women need to know that we are created in God’s image and are ezers in God’s kingdom.


All women are ezers. We are leaders. This is an identity we must embrace from a God we desperately need to know, who in love has called us his very own and given us a new family and community where we will never again be alone. This truth shakes the gates of hell, transforms lives, and changes generational curses on families and community. This truth sets men and women free!

Women as leaders was God’s good plan from the very beginning. Indeed, this was a gift to Adam. It is sin that caused the curse and division between men and women, and it is Christ who resurrects it. Christ did not die for us to live a little bit better than our sin. Christ died for us to live as God originally intended in the first place. Therefore, we must unlearn our cursed behavior, and walk in the newness of Christ and live!

This is why I offer leadership education that cultivates character development and spiritual formation. Through the nonprofit, Leadership LINKS, Inc., female and male leaders partner together to model and teach biblical leadership to the next generation. We have begun by first offering education through an annual leadership summer program for girls. Girls who lead become women who lead.


Because of The Fall, we must unlearn bad behavior and then model and teach new ones. Last summer, the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a report for the Making Caring Common Project. The title was “Leaning Out: Teen Girls and Leadership Biases.” The report stated what many of us already know:

Gender gaps persists: male leaders still far outnumber women leaders in many fields, including business and politics. Many teen boys and teen girls appear to have biases against girls and many women leaders and teens perceive their peers as biased against female leaders.

These problems are all heightened when you consider the prevalence of racial and ethnic biases.

Some mothers are part of the problem, and mothers can indeed be part of the solution.

One of the recommendations to encourage leadership among girls, and to address the unconscious bias against girls as leaders was to use programs and strategies that build girls’ leadership skills. The report recommends that high quality programs include exposure, skill development, collaboration, mentorship, and high expectations and meaningful opportunities. We offer this and more through our summer learning opportunity.

Our week long leadership program includes professional skill development, leadership and team learning opportunities, and features youth-led projects and opportunities for the youth to teach. We also provide a biblical framework for community service and global advocacy.

Our Leadership Exploration Series provides exposure to career fields where women are traditionally underrepresented or underpaid: Military and Government, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Media and Arts, and Business and Entrepreneurship, while providing access to inspiring female and male leaders in these various fields. Our entire program is managed by Jesus-loving, military veterans with a wealth of leadership and mentoring experience in the military, government, education, community, church, and nonprofit sectors.

When I became a Christian, it gave me the opportunity to walk in the fullness of what I already knew as a girl…I am a leader. Exercising leadership and being a good steward of our work is part of what it means for humans to be created in the image of God. For young people to lead well, we must model this truth and teach it to the next generation. We must raise up girls who lead!

Excerpts from this article first appeared on the Missio Alliance website where Natasha serves on the writing team.