Advancing Strong Leadership 2013 Has Begun
Advancing Strong Leadership 2013 started with an intensive few days of training in early March. All 24 participants attended the 2 1/2 day training which focused on new trends in the developmental disability field, leadership skill assessment and best practices. Participants are identifying a mentor who will support their development over the year-long program. In addition they are working on organizational-change focused Leadership Challenges and on personal leadership development goals.
"Our overall purpose is to be responsive to the needs of people with developmental disabilities, in North Carolina specifically. So we have a lot of different projects. One of the things that is a fairly recent project that really excites me is a youth leadership project which just got off the ground a few weeks ago. A while ago Holly Riddle and I were in a room, looking around and seeing people of a similar age, and wondering, 'Where's the new leadership going to come from?' It's really important that, as the baby boomers age out and retire, we find people to replace us, and so we just got a group together a few weeks ago – I think there are 25 in that group – and over the next several years they'll meet together, they'll work together, they’re being mentored by different agencies around the state with the hope that over the next 30 or 40 years, these folks will provide leadership within the state. It's based on a model that was started at the University of Delaware, but I believe that we were the first State that's done that at the State level, rather than the national level, and we actually had folks from the University of Delaware take part in the initial training. And they said, 'It's innovative; it's cutting edge,' and there's a lot of interest in the country in what we're doing in North Carolina."
The goal of the Advancing Strong Leadership Initiative is to offer participants the opportunity to come together with a faculty of national experts on progressive supports for people with disabilities. The initiative will emphasize innovation and collaboration and offers a formal self-assessment of leadership strengths and needs, group problem solving, lectures/presentations, small group work aimed at accomplishing personal and organizational goals and activities designed to identify and enhance individual leadership skills. Participants will be asked to submit an Individual Leadership Challenge in advance of the first meeting. This organizational leadership challenge will become the subject of a great deal of work during the year-long training.
The project will target emerging and future organizational leaders in the intellectual/developmental disabilities field with the goal of creating a cohesive group of emerging young leaders. Up to 25 individuals who have made a demonstrated commitment to the developmental disabilities field and have held increasingly responsible positions in support of people with developmental disabilities, will be selected for participation in this year-long leadership development effort.
Activities will include two and a half-day and one-day workshops, webinars, reading assignments and discussions and mentoring. The goal of the Initiative is to identify and support emerging, early career leaders and provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to become transformational leaders who will have significant impact on the lives of North Carolinians with developmental disabilities and their families, on progressive disability policy in North Carolina, and on the intellectual/developmental disabilities field nationally.
In addition, all participants of the Advancing Strong Leadership in Developmental Disabilities Initiative will be assisted to identify a mentor who will play an important role in supporting their development over the project period. The role of mentors will be to assist participants to understand their individual strengths, address areas of need, and progress toward achievement of their leadership challenges. Support will be provided to mentors in undertaking their mentorship roles.