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I greet Megan in the parking lot of her home church. “Hey bud! Boots or moccasins?” she asks. Definitely the moccasins. We enter the 150+ year old, gigantic stone church and one hundred light beams, each a different color, stream through the ancient stained glass windows covering the entire west wall of the sanctuary. This is going to be fun.

Megan and I have spent the last 3 months discovering her branding, specifically her “visual voice”, so it’s no coincidence that she’s wearing her signature headband, carrying her Bible, journal, and favorite tea cup along with her. After I grow familiar with our lighting scenarios we move into a small cafe area which is completely finished in deep cherry wood.

While getting a few bird’s eye shots I one can’t help but notice Megan’s wrists, covered in gifts from her husband. A pearl bracelet from their wedding, a silver watch, and a new tattoo from her last birthday which reads “YHWH” in Hebrew. As we drive from the church to a small pond just behind her house, still just about 15 minutes away golden hour, the car speakers send a playlist made up of spoken word and indy rock worship through the windows.

The crowded bypass slows the traffic and gives us time to talk.

W. – What got you thinking about what this initiative has turned into?
M. – Well, it’s emerged as I’ve taken steps. If I were to tell you what the vision was when I was 17 of what my like would be now, they would look like two very different things. The common thread is helping people in an holistic way to overcome hurts and heal. It’s also shifted into developing potential and living in freedom. For a long time I pursued counseling… That’s still a big part of my life, but as I strive to be more like Christ I have realized that coaching and servant leadership really line up with what I think about the human condition, redemption, and freedom. If I can live in relationship with people and make a living at the same time, developing their potential and helping them live courageously and creatively-that would be awesome.

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As we step out of the car to start shooting by the pond, (the lighting is gorgeous) Megan begins to chat about a young lady she’s taken under her wing lately. She explains how blessed she has been by this young woman’s example and encouraging spirit even in hard times. Those hard times being moving to a new city, a new apartment, a new job, and not much money to survive on.
I know the time and resources Megan has given this lady to help her get onto her feet, but Megan is obviously more focused on what she’s gotten from their relationship than anything she has given it and she can’t stop smiling even when I ask her to look a bit more serious for the next photo. It makes me question who took who under who’s wing…

 
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W. – Explain the concept of servant leadership.
M. – Servant leadership is a paradigm or mindset through which you view all relationships. Most people think of leadership as delegating or, “here’s what I want, lets all go get it”.
Servant leadership is more about vision and it’s about sharing that vision with all your partners. Rather than a style or set of steps, a servant leader instead holds to a certain set of beliefs: that they are a steward that has been gifted with certain interests and responsibilities. In order to be a good steward of those gifts, they need to grow them and have something more over time than what they started out with. They view their followers as partners and don’t presume they know the needs of others, but they do assess the needs of others and begin a problem solving process with them. It’s trying to figure out how working together will get us to that better place.

 

We get back in the car to head over to a festival at a park on the other side of town. At this point, the sun has just hit the top of the treelines. By the time we reach the park it’s mostly ambient light bouncing off of the clouds and adjacent buildings. We park next to a large arts festival being hosted at the park and head in towards the vendors just in time to run into Megan’s husband, Evan, and their two children. We grab a few shots while we still have about 10 more minutes of natural light left and then the family begins to wade through the festival, visiting each booth and greeting the familiar faces they meet there. On the final leg of the trip we head back to the Gilmore residence. Megan has a phone meeting with a client in about 20 minutes, the third one of the day.
W. – What does living courageously look like?
M. – Holey moley! I actually just asked a whole bunch of my clients what inspires them to live courageously. I think it means doing or being what you know is right despite opposition from public opinion, disapproval, judgement, or whatever the obstacle might be.
W. – How do you see Lark’s Song growing from this point on?
M. – Right now Lark’s Song-at it’s birth point-is an organization that offers coaching services and servant leadership training: one on one and in workshops, to organizations and through events. I would love to see it grow to an international level with global impact where we’re partnering with lots of organizations and training them on how to live and influence in this way.

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Megan is having a launch party for Lark’s Song in Marion, IN in about 2 weeks to spread the word about her new venture. In a short and with Megan’s permission, I’ll post a behind the scenes of our branding process for this project.

Here’s short excerpt from her blog I’ve used in a photo above:

“Everything tells a story, and every story teaches! How screwed up my judgement is, why the world is broken, how precious it is to find authenticity and love, how to treasure breath and life and movement. About searing pain and wounds and scars, about exhilarating pleasure, simplicity, hope, and healing laughter. Every person has a story. They choose whether, when, and how they tell it and who they tell it to, but you can choose what it teaches you and what you learn.

To contact Megan, you should visit her website at: http://www.megangilmore.com/