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April 04 , 2010


The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Leadership


Doreen Cato told me she was exploring the role of childhood trauma on leadership, and shared the story about her grandmother, who in 1932 was cruelly institutionalized for 32 years. Her grandmother was sane when committed, simply for imitating a man to work in a factory to feed her five children. I knew it was trust allowing me to see beneath the surface of a very introspective and brave person. Reading Dr. Cato's manuscript as she prepared it for publication was, in some ways, a great relief. In presenting one painful episode after another, it was heartbreaking, but it was also genuine, insightful, hopeful, and inspiring - because it made clear how healing paths can be found in the midst of great suffering and despair. Leaders and survivors of childhood trauma will come to understand, appreciate, and rely on strengths nurturing their capacity for hope and strength in others. This is a very helpful perspective on both trauma and leadership, and it is something that Dr. Cato understands very well.

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