Joint Leadership

I had a tremendous experience in Panama as part of the Mother Nature CEO Program. One of the great factors of this experience was getting so see joint leadership in action. Earthtrain, the NGO that brought all of us together and organized the Mother Nature CEO Program, is led by two remarkable people: Nathan Gray and Lidar Sucre.

Photography by Duncan Grossart

Nathan and Lidar are both Co-executive directors of Earthtrain. Yes, both of them are jointly responsible for implementing this amazing vision of preserving the bio and cultural diversity of the Maomi Valley Preserve. According to Lidar; the Preserve’s conservation and restoration efforts are strengthening one of the most important areas for the protection of biodiversity in the world.

In all my experience I have rarely seen such a successful joint leadership and having watched them in action for a week, I’ve made a couple of observations on how they pulled it off.

Firstly, both had very different and complimentary strengths. This is of course not uncommon, but what I noticed was that both were very comfortable in recognizing and letting the other person play to his strengths.

Secondly, they were constantly checking in with each other. Whilst making statements, or making sure whether they were on the right track, they stayed in sync with one another. This was not intentional but came to them very subconsciously, and as a result they were never moving forward or making decisions without the other being on board. Although I understand where this can be interpreted as very inefficient and time consuming, they did it in such a natural way that it didn’t hinder their organizational progress, whilst obviously making full use of their complimentary skills sets.

And finally I think what made them work as one unit was the mutual respect they had for each other. This had formed a relationship that had developed over the years into a bond of trust and loyalty that was difficult to break.

I am sure they have gone through tremendous difficulties through the years, to come to where they are now. I admire not only their relationship, but even more so their commitment to their vision. The realization that they would be able to achieve their goal faster and better together than alone has kept them together.

– Paul Keijzer

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