Leading Wisdom: Asian and North American Women Leaders

Jung Ha Kim

November 11, 2017

PANAAWTM – Pacific, Asian and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry –is an organization/movement that has been cultivating leadership in the academy, church, and community since its inception in 1985. Leading Wisdom: Asian and Asian North American Women Leaders (Westminster John Knox Press, 2017) is an anthology to celebrate its 30th anniversary by focusing on the topic of “leadership.” It addresses questions such as: What is leadership in the academy, church, and community? How do women lead? In particular, how do Asian and Asian North American women experience leadership? Do they perceive themselves as leaders? How can their stories serve to revitalize and encourage others in the academy, church and community? Jung Ha

Unlike book projects that begin with the editors’ preconceived themes and chapter contents which then look for writers to fit into an outline of anthology, this project began with much discussion around these questions on leadership among affiliates and members of PANAAWTM. And out of these conversations, we have decided to put women at the center of the inquiry and provided a list of questions to further consider as the authors reflected on leadership. Contributing to the already ongoing conversations on women and leadership like “Lean in” (Sheryl Sandberg), “Thriving” (Arianna Huffington), “Labyrinth of Leadership” (Alice Eagly and Linda Carli), and being “Strong and Fierce” (Sheri Parks and Marcia Ann Gillespie), Leading Wisdom offers “wisdom” as an organizing force which the authors employ even as they interrogate it.

After two years of conversation, focus groups, reading, writing, and rewriting, the anthology is finally here! The book is organized around three emerging themes – “Remembering Wisdom,” “Unsettling Wisdom,” and “Inciting Wisdom” – to lift up first-hand life narratives of leadership experiences in the fields of community organizing, theology, social activism, parish ministry, nonprofit organization, the U.S. Army chaplaincy, immigrant rights advocacy, healthcare clinical counseling, and denominational administration. By placing Asian and Asian North American women’s experiences at the center of our inquiry, this anthology explores ways of “being” and “leading” wisdom in the academy, church, and society.

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