The Advancing Leadership Blog

The Colour of Leadership

For the members of Edmonton Chair Bill Bagshaw‘s group, looking to the past, present and future during their yearly retreat became more than just a moment for reflection and bonding. Performance artist and painter Lewis Lavoie met with them in Lake Louise, AB, to explore how colour and art could help them open new avenues of thought and awareness, and delve deeply into their personal manifestations of leadership.

The painting that resulted from this exercise reflects three questions asked of the group:

  1. What is your significant contribution to your group?
  2. Who is the leader you admire most and why?
  3. Imagine that you are writing your retirement speech in 15-20 years. What does it say?
Painting by artist Lewis Lavoie

Painting by artist Lewis Lavoie

In a way, the painting helped the group understand their answers – and the bigger picture of what had just been shared collectively – on a deeper level. The very process of working through the questions and watching them turn into colour and shape on the canvas helped the group become even more engaged and open to the experience.

What emerged from their answers was an expression of connection, support, and the journey ahead. The major elements within the painting – the braided rope, the hands connecting, the valley and mountain in the distance – resonate differently with each member of the group, but make clear the immense bond that exists between them, and the support each one lends to the collective journey head.

What began as an experiment in non-linear thinking became a profound experience they will not soon forget.

For more information on artist Lewis Lavoie, visit or

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