What would encourage Kansans to care more about local elections, issues? By Jill Sandberg Editor’s note: The spring issue of The Journal, a quarterly publication published by the Kansas Leadership Center, will be released in April. The Journal regularly attempts to take a closer look at key state issues in hopes of helping Kansans think more [...]
More than 50 leadership development practitioners from around the globe are coming to Wichita to explore the Kansas Leadership Center ‘big idea.’ When Kansas Leadership Center President & CEO Ed O’Malley participated in a Harvard leadership development seminar last spring, little did he realize that casual conversations would lead to an international gathering this fall [...]
Nearly two years ago, I embarked on a mission to turn our community’s attention to gang violence. I’d moved on from a journalism career but thought the best way to intervene was through the credibility I’d earned from years as a solitary but loud occupant of our community’s conscience.
I had modest success but looking back, I didn’t make the progress I could have, and I have no one to blame but myself.
This happens with most of us engaged in civic leadership. We’re so busy evaluating others that we overlook how our zeal, certitude and myopia may be sabotaging our efforts. The Kansas Leadership Center calls this “understanding your part of the mess.”
Most Wichitans can say, “This isn’t our mess.”
We weren’t lingering in the street at 2 a.m. Sunday morning when, according to The Eagle, bullets began piercing the night air in Old Town last weekend leaving one person dead and four other people wounded. We weren’t hanging out in an area where a 2003 parking lot shooting killed a 25-year-old man; where another parking lot shooting in 2006 wounded six people; and where a 2008 stabbing critically injured two men and a woman in their 20s.
We may not have contributed directly, but this is our mess.
As a former state government reporter and political aficionado, what’s happening inside the State Capitol often interests me. But I’ve found this year’s session of the Kansas Legislature particularly intriguing for studying civic leadership.
Lawmakers began their annual 90-day session in early January with many difficult issues on their plate. Not only must they redraw the state’s legislative and congressional district boundaries, but Gov. Sam Brownback has laid out an ambitious agenda that includes flattening the tax code and revamping how we fund schools.
These issues represent deep, daunting challenges for lawmakers. Making progress on them will require skilled leadership, the kind that helps people navigate uneasy change and figure out what’s essential and what’s expendable.
After attracting nearly 100 interested organizations from across the state, the Kansas Leadership Center’s Academy for Team Leadership – offering the winning organization up to $1 million in leadership training – has narrowed its list to seven finalists.
The finalists are:
The Kansas State Dept. of Education/KS Assc. of School Boards/ESSDACK – Interested in improving graduation rates (statewide focus).
USD 259/260 – Urban and suburban school districts interested in creating (and implementing?) a new model for the 21st century high school designed to have larger numbers of students graduate prepared for college or career.
Kansas Action for Children – Interested in reducing infant mortality in Kansas.
Thrive Allen County – health in southeast Kansas
Dodge City Community College – Interested in working more collaboratively in the region to improve the quality of life and economy of southwest Kansas. (This is similar to the SEK Project 17 effort, but focused on SW KS.)
Lawrence Public Schools/United Way of Douglas County – Interested in increasing high school graduation rate (local focus).
Visioneering Wichita Health Alliance – Interested in improving the health and quality of life of citizens using identified priorities of the alliance.
KLC plans to announce the winner by mid-February.
I mention all this not just because it’s fun to reminisce, but because KLC is rolling out “The Art and Practice of Civic Leadership Development” to a new cohort of Kansans in their 20s and 30s this year. You can read the details about the program here: http://www.kansasleadershipcenter.org/artandpractice.
If you think you have the passion and capacity to nurture leadership in others, I’d definitely encourage you to look into it.
If you’re a civically engaged person looking to move from the comfortable center of your ability to the edge of your potential, you still have a chance to enroll in the cutting-edge civic leadership development program, Your Leadership Edge.
The innovative program has brought Kansas Leadership Center theories and principles to select cities across the state, and is coming to Newton Feb. 10, 15-16 and 29th. Act now before the class of 60 fills up.
Indeed, interest group influence peddling, the steady loss of middle ground, a decline in media clout have fueled our current, caustic political atmosphere.
But the problem isn’t the most important part of the equation, challenged teleconference host and KLC President and CEO Ed O’Malley. What we choose to do about it is.