Friday, February 7, 2014

Begin. Lead. Repeat

At LeaderShape, we talk about how every day after The LeaderShape Institute is Day 7. Every day provides you with the chance to use what you’ve learned, to keep growing, and to make a difference. Day 7 happens over and over again. It repeats.

You are checking things off of your to-do lists and reaching the big, bold goals you set for yourself. You are growing in ways that allow you to be the best you can be. Still, there are chances to do and be more. And isn’t that lucky? We think so!

We hope you’ll put your learning and accomplishments and growth on repeat in the sense that you will continue to move forward in these areas. That you will keep working to make yourself, you community, and our world a better place. You will do all of this again and again again. 

Begin. Lead. Repeat.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Sometimes one thing can make a difference. One thing, small or monumental, can change you. It can change someone else. One thing can change your world. We want to keep doing these “one things” all year long because we know they have the power to impact our communities and ourselves. And we want you to join us through our #OneThing project in 2014.

Each week we’ll post #OneThing to do, see, think about, learn, share….you get the drift! You can follow along on our Twitter and Instagram accounts, and we hope you'll get involved by sharing your own experiences and photos. Don’t forget to include #OneThing so we can see what you are up to and cheer you along.

Next week first #OneThing prompt of 2014 will be posted!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014



A New Year!

For some, it is an opportunity to work towards newly set goals while others see it as a chance to keep moving forward on work already in progress. Whatever your approach, the fact remains that there are twelve Day 7s this year. You might think, well yeah. This is just like every other year. A Day 7 each month. But will it be just like every other year? Or will it be more?

But what will you do with your #Day7 this year?

Whatever you do, we hope you’ll share it with us! Post your progress on our Facebook page, Tweet us with #Day7, or drop us an email at

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Value of One...Day

Those of you who have attended The LeaderShape Institute are aware of the theme for Day Two...The Value of One, The Power of All.  We speak often of the importance of one conversation, one person, one vision and how that can make all the difference.  In fact, participants to The LeaderShape Institute receive a pebble as part of our commencement activity that signifies that one pebble (or action) can be the start of something that creates a wave (or movement) bringing one's vision to reality.

We believe that small actions can make a difference because it creates momentum and, perhaps more importantly, does something...anything.  Far too often, we sit on the sidelines waiting for others to do what needs to be done and when that doesn't happen, we blames those same "others" for not doing what we ourselves won't do.

We got tired of this situation and decided to do something about it back in 2005.  We created the one-day program, Catalyst.

Catalyst also came about because we would be asked by a number of people who experienced the Institute if we could "make people cry" in less than six days.  Seriously.  We laughed, but also got that people were hungry for an experience that was as powerful as the Institute as long as it didn't take as long and didn't cost as much.  We knew that you can't replicate the space and time that helps make the six-day experience what it is, but we could ask questions and infuse LeaderShape philosophy into a one-day experience that could be beneficial and meet a lot of needs.

So we did.

This year, we passed 10,000 participants who attended a Catalyst session since 2005.  Many of our Institute partners have held sessions of Catalyst and we are so excited to have been introduced to many other organizations wanting to "start something extraordinary" and get a taste of LeaderShape.  We held 51 sessions of Catalyst this year and should hold a little more than that in 2014.  We seem to have met an important need while also providing another option for those wanting to be a part of creating a just, caring, thriving world.

One day.  One question.  One conversation.  One possibility.  Catalyst.

Here's to valuing the simplicity and power of "one."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013 Palmer Award Recipients!

This year produced another batch of awe-inspiring applications for the LeaderShape Palmer Award. Please help us congratulate our 2013 recipients, Meghan Grodon, Meghan Higgins, and Atul Menon!

Meghan Gordon
Session: National Session: LeaderShape Tahoe 2012

About the Vision:
“…a theatre for social change organization that serves artistic, educational, and philanthropic interests.”

About the Work:
Meghan and the “Parity Players” created a production that advocated for marriage equality and had the opportunity to perform it six times for over 200 audience members. They partnered with organizations such as GLAD, PLFAGG, Human Rights Campaign, and more, through which the players were able to gain a deeper understanding of the cause they were working to support. The cast and crew also participated in over 800 hours of community service hours! Meghan has filed for 501-c status so that the organization can become a nonprofit, allowing the “Parity Players” reach to go beyond Rollins College and the Winter Park, FL community.

About the Institute:
“The beauty of the LeaderShape program is that no on is going to ever tell you “no”, and when you realize that strangers you may never see again will not you “no”, you’re less inclined to preemptively tell yourself your limitations. The entire production was an exercise in me running towards fear, and embracing the idea that I may fail – and very publicly”

Meghan Higgins
Session: Temple University 2012

About the Vision:
“…a world where those who are disabled can comfortably live in an environment where they are respected as individuals and treated as equals.”

About the Work:
As a way to connect her passion for architecture and her drive for equality, Meghan is driven to build spaces that will provide access to those who are denied it. She joined Freedom by Design, an organization at Temple that uses the design and construction talents of students to impact the lives of people in the Philadelphia area. Through her involvement and leadership within this organization, Meghan initiated a project to provide a wheel chair ramp and deck for a single mother. With the installation of this ramp, the woman will no longer need to carry her twelve-year-old daughter in and out of their house every day. She has hopes of someday creating playgrounds that are adapted for everyone to enjoy.

About the Institute:
“All the exercises and days of self-reflection at LeaderShape opened my mind to the limitless possibilities I could achieve by doing something I am passionate about. It was here that I recognized architecture, nonprofit organizations, and equality are all important to me.”

“To me though, there is something that has been more rewarding than passing each benchmark with satisfaction – it has been our ability to learn and grow with one another as a compatible team of individuals who have a similar drive.”

Atul Menon
Session: Qatar LeaderShape 2012

About the Vision:
“…a Qatar where all employers paid their workers on time, gave them decent accommodations, provided them with valid IDs and let them rightly keep their passports. In other words, my vision was to see that the labor laws were enforced and strictly followed to ensure no worker’s rights were compromised.”

About the Work:
Atul spent time learning more about the lives of migrant workers and working to create change by visiting labor camps, speaking with workers, and volunteering. Through Atul’s academic pursuits, he helped to secure a research grant for a project he is working on now to create a financial curriculum that will educate migrant workers about saving-investment opportunities in Qatar and in their home countries.

About the Institute:
“The week-long LeaderShape experience was the first time I was required to think through and write what I wanted to do with my life. I was asked for the first time, “What do you care about?” Did I care about anything? I realized I did.”

The Palmer Award began as an endowment gift donated to the Alpha Tau Omega Foundation by Dr. Edmund T. Palmer, Junior. Together the Foundation and LeaderShape provided three monetary awards to Meghan, Meghan, and Atul in recognition of the steps they have taken toward implementing their vision. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Day 7: Interns and Possibility

LeaderShape has two new members on staff!

This summer, there are two interns working in the office. Two graduate students who believe in LeaderShape enough to pick up and move to central Illinois for the summer. They live in an apartment they didn’t select with someone they don’t know in a town they have never been to. Their first day was at an office they had never seen with people they had never met.

When we think about Day 7, sometimes we become hyper-focused on moving forward with the vision work that was done at The LeaderShape Institute. And working towards one’s vision is an amazing way to make a difference in the world and to the causes that are most important to us. Your vision is important, so keep at it!

It’s also important to recognize that there are many other ways that we see Day 7 take life.

Like taking a risk that may bring you to an unknown town for a new job working alongside strangers, all of which can offer a different experience, perspective, and serve as an additional way to embrace what we learn during our LeaderShape experience.

Building community, embracing change, believing in possibility.

Stephanie and Joe

Friday, May 17, 2013

One Thousand and One

It seems that everything these days is quantifiable and I'm not sure that is such a great thing.
Because we have so many numbers, statistics, and benchmarks thrown at us in most everything we do, we become blind to those numbers that really do mean something and that are important in our world.  I know I struggle with this as I try to sift through the information that really connects to me and my vision, and the information that really is just white noise in the background.

I would really like you to think about the number 1,000 as I try to put some meaning behind a number we refer to often as "a grand."  This week LeaderShape held the one thousandth session of The LeaderShape Institute.  That is in no way close to how many billion hamburgers McDonald's has served, our national debt, or any other large numbers we deal with from time to time.
It is just a thousand.

A thousand learning communities created from scratch each with the ideal of being better to each other.  A thousand versions of Star Power held to simulate the all too real possibility of abusing power in defense of our own power no matter how little we have.  A thousand Guest Leader Forums where individuals who tell us they have achieved some measure of success in the world and still wish that they had something like LeaderShape to attend to when they were "your age."  A thousand commencement circles holding hands and looking to each others eyes.  Seeing our best selves.  Seeing a new friend.  Seeing a soul awakened for perhaps the first time.
It is just a thousand though. 

In those sessions are the memories, conversations, tears, and hugs that tell me, and hopefully all of you, that we DO have the ability to change the world.  We have that ability because we do for six days.  We have done it a THOUSAND times for six days. 

I hope you will share in our celebration of a thousand.  Perhaps it doesn't seem like much on the surface, but it means everything to those that are proud to call themselves LeaderShape graduates.

One thousand and one begins now.


this post is shared by Paul Pyrz, LeaderShape President