by Leslie Yorke |

A Farm of Silos 

You spend your time in the sky, high above me,  
Acting like you care about my thoughts and innovation. 
While only caring about colonial power, instead 
of writing cheques for commitment through expectation. 

When I’m thriving, I push us forward –   
Did you know we all build this culture you stand on? 
Did you know nothing happens in your office? 
Do you have any spare empathy? – I’ve got a coupon 
Let me show you the big picture: 
It’s full of moving parts and faces 
We need each other, voices and perspectives 
Your able-bodied whiteness won’t cover the bases  

I want to be a part of an internal revolution, 
Where we share, we grow and create, 
You have to give up a piece of your kingdom 
Instead of creating an army that you sedate  
I know it’s written in your DNA  
and interwoven into the quilt of your fathers, 
But leading with power and giving no feedback, 
Expecting different results; I’ve seen better in toddlers 
I can’t wait for us to breath equity, 
Take accountability for our history –  
I can’t wait for you to see yourself from my lens, 
Your failure to thrive won’t be a mystery  
At the end of the day,  
Your castle is just a box you’ve built   
And when you’re done denying flexibility  
You’ll only have yourself and your guilt 


This poem is a response to the Harvard Business Review’s “What makes a great leader?” video. I was inspired by the video’s breakdown of leadership into architect, bridger, and catalyst, and it reminded me of all the “leaders” I’ve met, who sit at the heads of the power tables of big corporations, institutions, and organizations. The people who spout that we need to be diverse, but only if it benefits their agenda. The ones whose ignorance is crippling, but who hold the biggest piece of the pie. I really loved when they said that “power creates influence without commitment,” and “you can only invite folks to innovate.” It’s so true.

Leslie Yorke

Leslie Yorke

Leslie Yorke is a Certified Career Development Practitioner, Student Advisor, Therapeutic Recreation Graduate, and mother of three. She currently works at Nova Scotia Community College at the Marconi Campus supporting students educational and employment journeys. Leslie sits on the Standard Development Committee for Accessibility in Employment with the Nova Scotia Government and is passionate and dedicated to creating equitable opportunities within education and employment