Good Work: Developing Community Leaders

Advancing Leadership Youth

From age 8 to 18 my parents dragged me along on weekly community service trips, first in DC and then the barrios of west Denver.  I hated it.  I’m pretty sure the routine was both service for them and training for me.
A decade later as a new VP of a high growth company, my boss required me to adopt a children’s charity.  He equipped me for service by enrolling me in Leadership Denver.  The combination of a service requirement and a learning experience proved to be life altering.
Last night we celebrated the 12th class of Advancing Leadership, a community leadership development program launched while I was superintendent in Federal Way. There are more than 500 alumni making a difference in our community.
Yesterday I mentored teams at Startup Weekend Edu, a great learning experience sponsored in part by Kauffman Foundation.
The link between the four is that leadership requires specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes.  Whether organizational leadership or community building, these attitudes and aptitudes can be developed, but it takes focused and sustained effort and investment.
If we want communities that are a great place to live learn, work, and play, we need to be intentional about developing the next generation of leaders.
For more see:

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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