Friday, May 22, 2009

LeaderShape Grad Determined to Make a Difference

University of Michigan Wolverine, LeaderShape graduate, and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Brian Griese is giving back as a social entrepreneur. The founder of Judi's House, a children's grief support center opened in honor of his mother, spoke at the "Champion's for Children's Hearts" campaign at the University of Michigan's golf course.

Read about Brian here!

UT LeaderShape Grad Named 2009 Rising Star

Another LeaderShape grad is making a difference.

Piryx Inc. Founder, Tom Serres, now shares the title of Rising Star with past Rising Stars Karen Hughes and George Stephanopoulos.

Campaign & Elections’ Politics magazine announced on May 20, 2009, Tom Serres, Founder/CEO of Austin-based Piryx Inc, as one of the 2009 Rising Stars. One of the most prestigious honors in politics, the award goes to people 35 or under who have already made a significant mark in political consulting or advocacy. The magazine chose 10 Democrats, 10 Republicans and seven nonpartisan leaders this year out of a pool of several hundred nominees. The Rising Stars will be honored on June 12 in Washington D.C.

Past Rising Stars include Karen Hughes, George Stephanopoulos, David Axelrod, Paul Begala, Donna Brazile, James Carville, Rahm Emanuel, and Laura Ingraham.

“Capping off an historic election year, we received a record number of nominations for this year’s Rising Stars,” said James Klatell, managing editor of Politics. “With so many exceptional young people working in politics today, this was an exceedingly difficult process.”

Tom Serres, 27, is one of the seven nonpartisan leaders recognized this year. Serres is the entrepreneur behind Piryx, a social commerce platform aimed at empowering the little guys of the political world with online tools.

Piryx empowers users with technology to effectuate political and social change. Their web platform offers political aspirants the online tools needed for faster and easier compliance and fundraising, a social networking infrastructure with voters, and other political applications and resources needed for any campaign. Whether Barak Obama or Joe Blow, Piryx presents an affordable web platform to make a difference.

"Our mission is to ignite much needed involvement among the voter community, while allowing candidates at all levels to have the tools and information they need for an equal chance on Election Day," says Piryx CEO Tom Serres.

For a complete list of the 2009 Rising Stars, visit

The University of Texas-Austin has been a partner with LeaderShape since 1997 and will hold their 29th session of The LeaderShape Institute in May of this year.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michigan Tech LeaderShape Gets Highlighted

Congratulations to Michigan Tech!

Michigan Tech's session of The LeaderShape Institute was highlighted in a great article in the Spring 2009 Michigan Tech Magazine. Check it out starting on page 4 in PDF or Flash format at:

Michigan Tech has been a partner with LeaderShape since 1996 and held their 14th session of The LeaderShape Institute in January of this year.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Palmer Award Application Available

Have you or has someone you know been making some awesome progress on a vision that stemmed from a 2008 session of The LeaderShape Institute? Then check this out - and either apply yourself or encourage someone else to!

The Palmer Award

The Palmer Award is given out each year to two LeaderShape graduates who have participated in a national or campus-based session during the previous year (in this case, that's 2008).  The award is given to recognize the achievements of those individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to bringing their vision to reality after attending a session of The LeaderShape Institute.  The recipients of these awards receive $1000 in honor of their achievements. 

The Palmer Awards are provided from an endowment gift donated to the Alpha Tau Omega Foundation by Dr. Edmund T. Palmer, Jr.  Alpha Tau Omega created the concept of The LeaderShape Institute in 1986 and the Alpha Tau Omega Foundation funded the creation of the initial curriculum design for The LeaderShape Institute.  

Palmer Award Application

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Keep the Beach Clean

At the 2009 Florida State University/Florida A&M University session of The LeaderShape Institute, the students and faculty participated in five community service projects in the Panama City Beach area. Students worked to improve facilities at the Boys & Girls Club and Salvation Army service sites, collected qualitative data and cleaned up trash as part of the the "Keep the Beach Clean" campaign, and executed a Sea Turtle Safety Awareness campaign through a partnership with the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The participants engaged in discussions regarding the importance of direct and indirect service, investigated various community issues, and formed collaborative partnerships with community agencies. The students had an opportunity to use teamwork and build relationships in order to create positive change.

The PCB Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau just sent us the following media story on our Sea Turtle Safety campaign:

My contact at "Keep the Beach Clean" is also working on a press release for our beach clean up project.

Thanks again to you all for making this very special week a reality for our students and faculty.

-Kellie Gerbers

Kellie Gerbers
Graduate Assistant, Leadership Programs
Center for Leadership and Civic Education
Florida State University

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You Never Know...

This past weekend was pretty exciting for those of us working in the LeaderShape office. I got a call from one of our Lead Facilitators at Michigan regarding the commencement speech given on Saturday morning. Many of you may know Larry Page who is one of the founders of Google, but many of you might not know that he is a LeaderShape grad from one of the University of Michigan campus-based sessions. Anyway, he mentioned his experience at LeaderShape as having taught him to have a "healthy disregard for the impossible" and serving as a catalyst for his development of Google. His speech was so consistent with what we believe about leadership and being a visionary person that we immediately went to YouTube to see if there was a video of it. One was there within 24 hours.

Not that everyone needs to create a company like Google, but wouldn't it be great if everyone did have a healthy disregard for the impossible and lived their dreams. What an amazing place it would be to live and learn.

As we begin over 40 sessions of The LeaderShape Institute in the month of May, let's hope that all of us can continue our quest to lead with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible and that maybe someone sitting in those 40 learning communities will be the tipping point that makes it all happen. Maybe that someone is you. You never know...

Take a few minutes to enjoy Larry's speech. We should all be very proud.