It is the end of summer as I write my quarterly column, and I hope your summer has been as busy and as blessed as mine.
I am writing this in my home in Easton, Pennsylvania, with a view of the woods and our occasional wild turkey—I always marvel at the precise formation wild turkeys have as they march from one area of the woods down to another, before they disappear. Have I mentioned that it is always the male turkeys who lead the processional? Male turkeys first, females second, baby turkeys bringing up the rear. I guess nature hasn’t heard about equal opportunity.
“Not one down moment. The most energetic, beautiful global participants, who helped one another every day.” This is how I would summarize the fourth annual Leadership Summit at the University of Pittsburgh, July 21–24.
Four years ago, the faculty of a great university came to me with a dream we shared—a Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. Dr. Mark Nordenberg, Dr. Kathy Humphrey, Dr. Lee Patouillet, and Dr. James Maher had a vision of global student leadership.
Dialogue for Civic Engagement
But for them, global student leadership was not enough—civic engagement had to be part of the dream. We asked ourselves: “What would happen if every year 25 university students would be chosen from all over our country, along with 25 university students from all over the world, and come to the University of Pittsburgh?” And from remarkable, distinguished leaders in all three sectors, mentors would be chosen—one for every four or five students—and these student-mentor teams would live together, work together, dream together for four days, engaging in leadership dialogue and providing community service that would change their lives, and ours.
The dream was relived for the fourth time this July as thirteen mentors—including CEOs, nonprofit founders, executive coaches, and a wounded warrior—and our group of global student leaders convened.
Through mentoring relationships, social interaction, and instructional and interactive presentations, 2012 Academy students:
Used critical thinking skills to address challenges offered by civic engagement sites throughout Pittsburgh
Developed personal action plans to improve their community or campus, or both
Developed a collaborative network of great thought leaders
Do I have a structure to improve?
How happy was I yesterday? (Because happiness is part of effectiveness.)
How many times did I try to prove I was right?
Did my day have meaning?
Was I building relationships?
Frances Hesselbein is editor-in-chief of Leader to Leader, founding president of the Drucker Foundation, president and CEO of The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, and former chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
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