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There you will find updated information about the Center for Creative Leadership's initiative to make leadership development affordable and accessible to people everywhere.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Community Leaders Speak

Some 60 community leaders from North Carolina attended three simultaneous Leadership Essentials programs held at the Center's Greensboro campus on November 24 & 25, 2008*. A video created by Josh Weinstein of Inside Cinema captures some of the participants' voices on the impact the program and importance of leadership development for nonprofits.

Evon J. Smith, Executive Director of Goler Community Development Corporation, was a participant in the program. She wrote to us about her experience:

"I suspected the leadership class was worth every minute! Each tool helped everyone in my group think differently about our emotional communication at work and our interactions with others in our personal life. It was great! The people that were in our class were wonderful and contacts we would not have the opportunity to make otherwise. I got more out of the class than I expected. Our facilitators connected with the class by presenting the information in so many different ways you could not miss getting it. Many of us stated that we wish we had a week to delve deeper into the cases where we could apply the tools learned over and over. Please never underestimate the value that this opportunity has for community leaders, especially those in the non-profit industry. "

* The program was sponsored by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Revolutionary Effects of Leadership Development

Written by Amon Anderson of Acumen Fund - Nairobi, Kenya

I’ve been studying, working with and thinking about leadership development for the last seven years, but I never stop being surprised. This summer, I led an idea session for the Center for Creative Leadership to brainstorm how leadership development could be applied in the context of poverty. But in this group of East Africans, West Africans, and North Americans, we could barely agree on semantics—leadership for the base of the pyramid, bottom of the pyramid, leadership for the majority, leadership for all… But no matter what we called it, we all could agree that not only did the poor have little access to leadership development tools, but the research and resources at hand had limited relevance to someone living in poverty.

That is not to say that there aren’t leaders. I have had the honor of meetings leaders born into poverty and raised through adversity who demonstrate true leadership irrespective of socio-economic status. Living in Ethiopia, I met Solomon, a young man who lost three of his limbs when the Addis-Djibouti railway overturned on route to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia’s second city. Solomon ended up in one of Mother Theresa’s clinics and tried a variety of prosthetic options, none of them feasible for the life he would lead in Ethiopia. He decided to pack it up and return home. Solomon wanted to start his own business and I worked with him over a period of months to figure out how he could make it happen. Solomon left his old community, where people saw him as half the man he once was, and established one of the most successful video rental shops in his new neighborhood. His business has grown quickly because Solomon has impressed and befriended those around him, and he’s not done yet. He’s sending home money to his mother, employing boys from the street and he dreams of opening a proper internet cafĂ©. After such a devastating accident, many in Ethiopia take to the streets as beggars—either by choice or by force—but Solomon chose a different path. His optimism, courage, and work ethic helped him found his shop and attract a growing number of customers each day.

For me, leadership is about unlocking human potential. In my work with the Cherokee Gives Back Foundation and the Acumen Fund, I have struggled to find entrepreneur-leaders and provide them with the financial support needed to succeed and alleviate poverty through market-oriented solutions. But finance is only part of the picture. I have participated in two Leadership Essential programs, designed by the Center for Creative Leadership’s Global Voices of Leadership initiative, and experienced first-hand the impact of “leadership development for the majority.” I see immediate potential to introduce these tools to a broader audience in East Africa, but I see an even greater opportunity/challenge. How do we take this concept of leadership development and apply it to the people living in the villages and slums. In East Africa, the “pyramid” looks more like the Eiffel Tower—a needle at the top and large in its foundation. I believe that realizing the human potential of this “foundation” will require creativity and a cross-disciplinary effort. But I also believe in the power leadership development to transform the paradigm. Solomon is one of those extraordinary leaders who succeed, no matter the odds. There are many more out there like Solomon, and with appropriate and accessible leadership development, the effects could be revolutionary.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Caribbean Health Leadership Institute

Brendan Bain, Director of The Caribbean Health Leadership Institute (CHLI), shared this report on their work and impact. CCL prepared faculty at CHLI to offer leadership development for public health leaders in the Caribbean.

“Behind Every Cloud…”
Brendan Bain, Director

October 25, 2008

When AIDS came to the Caribbean, who would have thought that it would lead to the birth of a leadership training program for Caribbean health professionals? And who would have envisaged the establishment of a partnership for this purpose between the leading Caribbean university, a top American Public Health school and one of the best leadership training centers globally? In an unusual sequence of events, the advent of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS epidemic and the establishment of a multi-disciplinary HIV/AIDS group at the University of the West Indies (UWI) have led to an international partnership for the establishment of the Caribbean Health Leadership Institute (CHLI) with funds provided to UWI through a cooperative agreement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It is relevant to note that at the dawn of the new millennium, the Caribbean had the second highest prevalence of AIDS in the world, second only to Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2007, although case rates had fallen, the region was still second globally and ahead of all other regions in the Americas. (According to the UNAIDS 2008 report, the estimated adult prevalence rate of HIV infection in the Caribbean was 1.1% in 2007.)

In 2001, an organized HIV/AIDS Response Program (HARP) was started at UWI, a multi-campus university with a student population of over 40,000. Four years later, UWI HARP Regional Coordinator, Brendan Bain, a specialist in Clinical Infectious Diseases and Public Health, was invited to start a regional coordinating unit (RCU) within UWI HARP as part of a new multinational Caribbean-wide training program for health care professionals and community-based workers – the CHART Network Initiative ( In 2007, UWI HARP competed successfully for a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the establishment of CHLI, to be linked with CHART. The five-year grant is valued at approximately US$2.1 million, with funds coming from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) via CDC.

The CHLI program aims to add to the cadre of competent, confident and committed leaders and managers in the health sector of the Caribbean and to engender positive change in health systems that function in relation to HIV/AIDS and other health issues. The program is being administered by UWI in partnership with the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and is patterned after the successful National Public Health Leadership Institute program run by staff at UNC. The curriculum is delivered mainly by distance learning and includes two three-day residential retreats. The distance learning component of the CHLI consists of a series of Internet-linked seminars, referred to as webinars. In order to take part in the webinars, scholars arrange their schedules across the time zones and the sessions are facilitated by UWI and UNC faculty.

In December 2007, in preparation for the launch of the first learning cycle, three members of the new CHLI academic team attended the 10-day Leadership beyond boundaries program at CCL in Greensboro, North Carolina. The three: Peter Figueroa, Chief of Epidemiology and AIDS, Ministry of Health, Jamaica; Michelle Harris, Lecturer in Public Health at the Jamaica campus of UWI; and Jose Ortega, Professor of Public Health at the UWI Barbados campus. The exposure gained at CCL provided them with new ideas, approaches and materials as they prepared to lead and interact with the first CHLI scholars.

In April 2008, 23 persons from 12 countries, including the mainland nations of Belize, Guyana and Suriname, were welcomed into the first 10-month learning cycle. The group included leaders of governmental and non-governmental organizations at forefront of the response to HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, deans of two medical schools and senior health administrators.

The first residential retreat was held at the Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica in June. The guest speaker was Stephen Blount, Director, Coordinating Office for Global Health at CDC Headquarters. The UWI Vice-Chancellor and the new Director of the Caribbean CDC GAP, Dr. Shirley Lee Lecher were special dinner guests. Joining the Caribbean Faculty were Edward Baker and Stephen Orton from UNC and Karen Dyer from CCL. Former PAHO/WHO Country Representative, Veta Brown, a retired therapist, Mr. Peter Carr, a former PAHO/WHO representative, and Earl Wright, Director of Mental Health Services in the Jamaican Ministry of Health, were present as mentors.

Peter Figueroa gave the opening presentation. His memorable words were, “Life is a journey!” “Success is a journey & not a destination!” “Leadership is a journey and not a destination!” Stephen Blount spoke about the challenges of Health Leadership in a changing world. He highlighted changes in the Global Economy, in International Relations with new players and structures and the reality of climate change as a few of the environmental realities facing health professionals and Governments. He referred to the several Public Health Challenges in the Caribbean, including chronic non-communicable diseases, injuries, HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse and food security.

The agenda allowed for periods of personal reflection and self-assessment using the Change Style Indicator® from the firm of Discovery Learning and the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO-B®) questionnaire. Many of these experienced leaders were using these self-assessment tools for the first time and several expressed gratitude for the insights they gained from their use. Participants reflected on their learning styles and were introduced to the basics of Peter Senge’s systems thinking approach.

The group of 23 scholars was then divided into five smaller teams. Each team was assigned a mentor and was set a seven-month challenge to work on an Action Learning Project based on a current health issue in the Caribbean. The groups will report to each other at the second retreat, to be held at the Accra Beach Hotel in Barbados in early December.

CDC Headquarters has responded superlatively to the first year of CHLI. In their first feedback report, CDC’s reviewers’ commented that the program demonstrated “excellent project vision and goals and a continuation plan of action which is based upon the solid year 1 accomplishment.” They described it as a “contemporary blend of adult education approaches, technology and practices [that] will make for a powerful learning experience” and stated that it “seems to be rapidly building on the success of other proven leadership and management development programs.”

In February 2009, CHLI will enroll a second cohort of 35 scholars, with invitations being put to persons from 17 countries. The first cohort of scholars will be encouraged to form a Caribbean Health Leadership Alumni Network. The vision is to foster a culture of life-long learning among these leaders and to encourage an intergenerational relay of leadership skills and practice.

The CHLI faculty and staff are enthusiastic as they continue to develop CHLI. We wish to thank UNC and CCL for their partnership in this unique Caribbean initiative.