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.