Here's what I've learned by training leaders and developing teams for the past 20+ years
Iggy Perillo, MS Experiential Education
Iggy@wslleadership.com | Phone: 470.444.9975
I am a product of the Midwest who gets nostalgic about cornfields. I started in the field of experiential human development at the dawn of the twenty-first century which basically meant that I spent a lot of time outside entreating fifth-graders to jump out of trees while hooked to ropes or scaring the crap out of them by hiking in woods at night under the guise of environmental education.
Ratcheting up the intensity I progressed to instructing personal growth-oriented canoe/backpacking and dogsled/ski expeditions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This included teaching people how to cook over an open fire and the power and self-efficacy that comes from carrying everything you’ll need for a few weeks in your boat/sled/on your back. Even though it often felt like an individual endeavor to people it was done in a team context so my attention to the creation and culture of the team was also crucial. Doing this work with teens and adults made me realize that as the age of the participants increased it was my job to make sure the sophistication and impact of conversation topics kept pace. The evening fire wasn’t just wilderness tv, it was a place for talking about the struggle and growth of the people and their team; who someone is and who they want to be. I made that growth real to people and helped them navigate the world as the person they wanted to be. It was glorious to spend 150+ days a year sleeping outside facilitating the emergence of leaders and excellent teams. Eventually, I added in spending a bit of time training other people to do this same thing.
Along the way, I earned a Master’s Degree in Experiential Education and a teaching license in English Language Arts (obviously, right?). I did a ton of training on topics like: conflict resolution, restorative justice and mental health first aid mixed with technical wilderness travel and safety skills. I earned some fancy pieces of paper saying I can either likely keep you alive in various situations or that I do a pretty good job of not letting you get too close to dead in the first place. And I read what feels like a billion research-driven books on topics in related fields like neuroscience, behavioral economics, educational psychology, performance studies and experiential theory. I still read all the time - they never stop coming out with new research or books.
Today you can still occasionally try to find me in the mountains or desert or on the lakes balancing the space for individuals to grow with the needs of a team to get places and get things done together. More often I’m found in more civilized areas using my depth of experience combined with applying all that reading to help groups become teams and individuals become leaders. My vision is to apply experiential methodology to human and team development to magnify my positive impact on the world. I help individuals and teams be more awesome so they can continue the work to make the world a better place.