Cultivation Tomorrow’s Leaders in our own Backyard
William Van Faasen
Reprint from The Boston Sunday Globe | November 24, 2002
Ask someone to name a great leader, and he or she is likely to answer Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, of Nelson Mandela. Recently, however, the image of leadership too often has been of failure at the top – in corporations, government, and religious institutions. We desperately need leaders whose vision is based on strongly held principles that give them the courage to take positions that can cut across the grain, positions that respond to all parts of a community and not just their own self-interest.
Occasionally, a natural-born leader comes along who has “it” – that combination of charisma, intelligence, and values that holds great promise. But we don’t have to sit around and wait for that rare individual to arrive. We already have the tools to prepare the next generation to shoulder the challenges facing us today. The year-old Emerging Leaders program at the Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMass/Boston is designed to do just that.
The UMass program calls upon senior executives at corporations and nonprofits to nominate young professionals with five to ten years experience in Greater Boston who have demonstrated potential and want to enhance their leadership skills and opportunities.
I know from personal experience that this program will work. I went through such training as a young businessman in Detroit. Leadership Detroit taught us that leadership is not finding out where the crowd is headed and then catching up to get in front. We met every month, working on education, health, criminal justice, and other important issues. We ended up socializing and came to understand perspectives other than our own. In the process we came to know ourselves better, too.
Former Leadership Detroit participants have made their marks on virtually every sector of the Detroit community. So, too, can Greater Boston benefit from the UMass/Boston Emerging Leaders Program.
The UMass program is diverse by race, gender, and profession. It reflects the face of the city and changing makeup of our population, to tap the potential of all groups to make our region a better place to work and live. It also reflects the voice of the city – of labor and management, for-profit ad nonprofit, government and corporate. The point is to move people out of their natural comfort zone and provide opportunities and friendships outside their traditional circles.
National or international crises aren’t the only situation that call for leadership. Steering a corporation, government or community organization requires skills that should not be left to chance.
The nine-month program starts each January with a weeklong seminar critical issues facing the region. Fellows learn about resources, networks, and ways to identify and achieve common goals.
They meet monthly from February through September and work in teams to produce and present to the mayor action plans to address particular Boston-area problems. With teamwork there is buy-in, and people say involved.
An effective business leader doesn’t enter a meeting possessing the answers; he or she engages in the process and helps solutions evolve. Knowing the importance of an outcome that responds to the needs of all. The collaborative model assumes issues can best be addressed by leadership that is diverse and collaborative. This has not been the operating style in Boston. Collaboration is not necessarily easy, but it is the best way to get thing done. Power-driven solutions are imposed on people; collaboratively developed solutions are embraced by people.
This program isn’t about getting on the fast track to corporate or government achievement, though it certainly can’t hurt a person’s opportunity for professional advancement. Rather, it is about community betterment. It understands that business leaders have an obligation beyond their companies. It recognizes that connecting rising corporate stars with young professionals from government and nonprofit entities and getting them to work together on problem solving can result only in the improvement of the community.
At UMass/Boston, the Emerging Leaders selection committee is about to choose its second class of fellows. Among that group of “emerging leaders” may well be Massachusetts’ new leaders for a new century. They will probably have a lot to say about the kind of community we are and the way we live
William Van Faasen is chairman, president, and CEO of Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
Nurturing a New Generation of Business Leaders by Rick Friedel
Boston Business Journal | March 1, 2004
Conducting business today requires innovative thinking and a seemingly contradictory combination of a broad perspective and laser-like focus. Competition has become global in scope, more diverse in type and, yet, more specialized in terms of what is required to meet the unique needs of every customer.
More than ever, a new generation of leaders is required to expand a company’s ability to engage and compete in today’s world. This future leadership must possess a deep understanding of the impact of economic, social and cultural drivers on market and customer behaviors. Developing that leadership can no longer be left to chance, which is why the Emerging Leaders program in the College of Management at the Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMass Boston is so important.
Nourishing the next generation of leadership right here in Boston is critical if we are to remain a world-class hub for the finance, education, technology, communications and health care industries. As today’s business leaders, we must teach the executives of tomorrow how to collaborate effectively with others in an unprecedented fashion. We need to build in them the confidence to infuse their academic learning with their unique personal experiences. We need to instruct them on how to consider the impact of their decisions on a variety of diverse constituents, each with their own specific concerns.
Companies often invest incredible amounts of time and money in technical, sales and product training, but too often they fail to focus resources on developing leadership skills. The Emerging Leaders program adds substantial value to everything that companies do in-house to identify and develop leaders, and the program does it in a remarkably cost-effective way.
For example, in 2003 AT&T’s Leaders Engaging in Accelerating Learning program was set up to enhance the managers’ abilities to thrive, and not get bogged down, amid the complexities surrounding today’s commercial enterprise. Many companies are developing similar programs to prepare tomorrow’s business leaders. But companies, no matter how progressive, cannot do it alone.
That’s why we are fortunate in New England to have the Center for Collaborative Leadership creating an environment where professionals with diverse backgrounds, from across many sectors, can come together to explore and refine collaborative leadership models. Each year, a “class” of approximately 40 fellows is exposed to training unavailable elsewhere: guiding change, developing communication skills, working in teams, managing diversity, dealing with risk, understanding the political process, resolving conflicts, honing networking skills, building personal brands and learning about the crucial issues facing the city.
The fellows divide into teams and work on significant issues facing the Greater Boston community. In the fall, they present their findings to the mayor and other business and civic leaders. Last September, one team reported on the need to reduce the waiting list for individuals who need to learn English in order to function in their workplaces. This year, a team working with the Boston Municipal Research Bureau will look at the city’s tax structure, and another, working with Boston Medical Center, will examine societal and health issues facing children.
The Center for Collaborative Leadership is a good example of the type of organization that is required to appropriately nurture and educate the future’s brightest leaders. It’s why we support it, and why companies like Nstar Inc., State Street and Citizens Bank do as well.
Exceptional growth opportunities are available to the organizations that can fully integrate this new generation of leaders. And the Center for Collaborative Leadership is a hothouse for business talent right in our own backyard.
RICK FRIEDEL is the AT&T Corp. regional vice president for New England and a board member of the Center for Collaborative Leadership.
Reprint from The Boston Business Journal - November 17, 2006
By Marshall N. Carter
Our region and our city are poised for significant leadership changes as more of our current leaders retire or move on. It is critical that outstanding individuals be ready and willing to take their places. Iconic names from the past, from Richard Hill to John Larkin Thompson, guided our community with distinction and made notable contributions to civic life. But the new leadership will not and should not look like that of old. It must be more inclusive and respond to national and regional demographic changes. It must also be more collaborative—a characteristic not always the norm in Boston. It is clear that building such leadership cannot be left to chance.
read more »
June 25, 2007
Emerging on top
UMass program takes top honors
The UMass Boston Emerging Leaders Program won top honors last week in an international competition featuring leadership development programs. The European Foundation for Management Development in Brussels voted the Emerging Leaders Program as its choice for the “Excellence in Practice” award. EFMD is a global organization devoted to the continuous improvement of management development and has over 600 member organizations from business, academia, and research centers in the United States, Europe and Asia.
March 2, 2008
On Sunday, March 2 Channel 7’s Urban Update featured members of the 2007 Emerging Leaders Program cohort, Sonal Gandhi, BRA; Michael Rawan, Sovereign Bank; Trevor Dunwell, Raytheon; and Director Pat Neilson about the success of the program and about the 2007 group project on “Why Young Professionals Stay in Boston.”read more »
September 2008, Volume 13, No. 1, page 6
The Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMass Boston has received a grant for $25,000 from State Street Corporation to work on a project to solicit and publish the voices of emerging leaders.read more »
Reprint from the Boston Business Journal | October 24, 2008
Philanthropy File | Mary Moore
With Boston struggling to retain young professionals, the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s Emerging Leaders program found that corporate philanthropy might just be the way to keep them here.
Seven teams of Emerging Leaders explored whether civic engagement could be the glue to bond peers their age to the Boston region.
Massachusetts lost 300,000 residents between 2000 and 2007, many of them between 25 and 40 years old, said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.
The Emerging Leaders project was not about young professionals gathering on Saturday mornings at a soup kitchen, albeit commendable volunteerism, but rather exploring how they can leverage their executive-level skills and apply them to the nonprofit sector.
The teams each worked on different niche projects with various corporate and nonprofit partners, ranging from The Bank of New York Mellon and the Massachusetts Business Roundtable to Hunt Alternatives and the Catalogue for Philanthropy.read more »
On April 28, 2009, Marsh Carter, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange Group and Deputy Chairman of the parent company NYSE Euronext, met with the UMass Boston Emerging Leaders Program Alumni and Fellows to discuss the current state of the economy. The attendees explored with Carter ideas on how tomorrow’s leaders can prevent future economic downfalls. See pictures from this event.
Reprint from the Boston Business Journal | May 29, 2009
By Mary Moore
A report issued by the Massachusetts Business Roundtable shows that Boston-area companies are incorporating social responsibility initiatives in their business plans not just because they are good for the community, but also because they help recruit and retain workers.
This marks a shift in corporate philanthropy since the Roundtable released its Primer for Strategic Corporate Philanthropy in 2000, which noted that corporate responsibility was beginning to evolve from community impact to bottom line impact. The most recent report shows that the evolution, indeed, has taken place.
Boston struggles to maintain its college grads as they move into the workforce, and the Round Table report underscores that philanthropy is a factor making some local companies more attractive to younger workers.
The Roundtable issued the report in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Boston Emerging Leaders Program. A team from the Emerging Leaders Program started working on the report last summer, interviewing 20 Massachusetts companies about their corporate social responsibility activities—predominantly large companies and representing a cross-section of industries.read more »
The Boston Globe
Op Ed by Perri Petricca and Sherry Penney | May 30, 2009
Read article on line at Boston.com
WITH THE slowed economy, major law firms across the country are now paying first-year associates not to work at their firms, but, rather, to pursue full-time work for a nonprofit for a year. This sophisticated, coordinated Corporate Social Responsibility strategy to recruit and retain talent while making a philanthropic contribution to the community makes good business sense.
In the past, businesses large and small would engage in philanthropy based upon a sense of responsibility to their community. Today, with greater competition for customers and for talent both nationally and internationally, Corporate Social Responsibility is proving to be a powerful tool not only for community engagement but for bottom-line success.read more »
The Massachusetts Business Roundtable (MBR), in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Boston Emerging Leaders Program, released a report that documents a significant shift in corporate philanthropy. The Spring 2009 Report, Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Recruitment and Retention: A Primer, concludes that corporate social responsibility (CSR) has emerged as a critical strategy for employers looking to recruit and retain talent. Members of the 2008 team who worked on the primer include: Bridget L. Hindle, Sovereign Bank; Cuong P. Hoang, Mott Philanthropic; Chris Lavoie, AT&T; Raj Menon, NSTAR; Quintina Palmer-Woods, Brown Brothers and Harriman; and Shaké Sulikyan, Pine Manor College. To learn out more about the findings, please see Boston Globe Op Ed: A core value that helps the bottom line, and the Boston Business Journal: Study: More CEOs say good works boost recruiting.
“If you’re going to show up, you might as well run the meeting.”
“If you’re nervous, you’re in the process of learning something.”
These were just two of the pieces of advice from Jeff Taylor, the Bay State entrepreneur (and UMass graduate) who founded the billion dollar job search website Monster.com. He left Monster in 2005 to start a new project called Eons, a web site designed to cater to the millions of Americans aged 55 or older, and, in 2008, he started Tributes.com, a site for obituaries resources.
“We’re here to think about possibilities,” he said. “You have two choices: be insane or be an entrepreneur. When everyone thinks you’re crazy and you still think you have a good idea, you’re an entrepreneur,” he added. “Nervous excitement, getting the endorphins going, makes the ideas bigger.”
Taylor advised the Emerging Leaders on how to get traction for their ideas, using musicians as an example. Musicians are entrepreneurs, starting small, building momentum, adding more and more elements, he said, and, by the end of his talk, he had the entire audience on its feet, clapping rhythmically, waving arms, and, yes, dancing.
His own career, he explained, has “gone in and around, up and down, not in a straight line. It doesn’t matter how you do it; you just have to do it.”
Perspective is important. “The internet has been around for 5000 days. We have changed the world. What will happen in the next 5000 days?,” he asked. You have to keep your eye on the big picture – in Boston and in each of our lives.
On December 8 the Office of University Advancement at UMass Boston hosted an alumni event for State Street employees at the UMass Club. The event was held to celebrate the on-going partnership between the UMass System and State Street Corporation. State Street CEO Ron Logue spoke highly of the caliber of UMass grads now working at State Street, and about the worker loyalty to the company. Logue recognized that the UMass Boston Emerging Leaders Program was the obvious next step in developing the future leadership of State Street. On hand for the celebration in addition to Ron Logue was UMass President Jack Wilson, UMass Boston Chancellor Keith Motley, and College of Management Dean Philip Quaglieri. State Street ELP Fellows in attendance included R.J. Donofrio, Stephen Finocchio, Lunie Jean Philippe, and Pauliina Swartz.
Described by JD Chesloff of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable as “the gift that keeps on giving” is the report written by ELP alumni from the 2008 cohort for their team project on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The team was asked to survey businesses, corporate philanthropy leaders and trade associations about how they are using CSR and corporate philanthropy strategically to recruit and retain employees. Based on the information, they were asked to write a report to provide models and recommendations to corporations hoping to successfully use CSR as a recruitment and retention strategy. The report received some positive press, and most recently, the latest edition of the American Bar Association’s CSR Journal features the CSR report as the first story. Members of the 2008 team who worked on the primer include: Bridget L. Hindle, Sovereign Bank; Cuong P. Hoang, Mott Philanthropic; Chris Lavoie, AT&T; Raj Menon, NSTAR; Quintina Palmer-Woods, Brown Brothers and Harriman; and Shaké Sulikyan, Harvard Medical School. For more information about the primer see News: ELP Corporate Social Responsibility Team works with MA Business Roundtable to Issue a Report.
Sherry Penney, Founding Director of the ELP was interviewed by Byron Barnett of WHDH-TV’s Urban Update. The interview focused on the Program’s Anthology, Voices of the Future: Emerging Leaders, published in the summer of 2009. The anthology contains 20 essays written by ELP alumni. Three essayists were also interviewed for the program: Ron Bell, Office of the Governor, Dr. Chi Huang, Lahey Clinic, and Mary Tolikas, PhD, Wyss Institute. The air date was March 7 on WHDH-TV, channel 7.
copyright 2008 UMass Boston Center for Collaborative Leadership
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