Dr. Jerry Canterbury
Dr. Jerry Canterbury started his Doctor of Education as he retired and was looking for a topic for his dissertation, related to fitness and leadership skills in women. Through his participation in a marathon, he found out about 261 Fearless and our Women's Education Program and approached us with the request to conduct research about the organization.
Women in Leadership Positions
Leading up to his research, Dr. Jerry Canterbury discovered that there are less women than men in formal leadership positions. However, women have great ability to lead, because their leadership styles generally focus more on team growth and success and rise above self-interest.
Dr. Jerry Canterbury also discovered that girls have fewer opportunities than boys to participate in organized sports – where children learn many lessons to be successful leaders. Therefore, girls and women are less likely to believe in their ability to lead and don’t regard themselves as leaders.
261 Fearless Addresses Leadership Gaps
In his research, Dr. Jerry Canterbury addresses exactly these leadership gaps in the context of 261 Fearless. In questionnaires, interviews and focus groups conducted with our 261 Coaches, he investigated if participants of the 261 Education Program are able to learn leadership skills. He also wanted to learn if participants of the 261 Education Program can use the gained confidence and leadership skills outside 261 Fearless.
The results of this investigation are very encouraging for us.
The study clearly shows that:
- Participants learned new skills or improved existing ones, especially in:
- being a leader of leaders
- empathy for others
- leading members of different abilities instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
- All of the study participants enjoyed a culture of warmth and belonging during the program and came out of it with a strong sense of camaraderie.
- The participants also highlighted the outstanding quality of the training program and the materials. Even though this question had not been asked, the 261 Coaches brought this up on their own.
Impact of 261 Fearless in Society
The results show how 261 Fearless has a wider impact on society and encourages women to be leaders not only within 261 Fearless but outside the organization too. The 261 Coaches can apply the skills they learn during the program in other areas, here are some examples:
- One of the 261 Coaches used the skills to set up a women’s mentoring group in her industry
- Another coach uses the skills learned at the 261 Education Program every day to manage her life and family
Mindset of Confidence
Lastly, the participants stated that physical fitness is a helpful tool to gain leadership skills. Achieving a fitness goal creates a mindset of confidence that allows them to set and reach goals in other areas as well. This result clearly shows that our mission of empowering women through running and education is a powerful, transformational tool for women and society.