LeaderShape Welcomes New Trustees in 2017!



The LeaderShape board is an amazing group of individuals who provide guidance and strategy for the organization since its incorporation 29 years ago. Some of these individuals have been with the organization throughout its existence providing wisdom and connection to our past. Some of them have been with us for only a few years, providing their expertise and guidance when their busy lives allowed. We are so fortunate to have them represent the organization serving as our loudest cheerleaders.

As a part of a review that was conducted a few years ago, the board instituted term limits as a way of insuring that new blood and energy was brought into the group consistently and efficiently. With those limits, we have thanked a handful of trustees for their contributions as they step off and welcomed some other folks willing to fill their shoes. This past year, LeaderShape added a few individuals to the board. We thought you might like to know who they are.

Dr. Jeanine Ward-Roof serves as the Vice President of Student Affairs at Ferris State University in Michigan. Jeanine has been a strong supporter of LeaderShape when she was at Clemson and Florida State. Given her responsibilities, she is not able to serve as a Co-Lead Facilitator of the Institute as much as she used to, but she still keeps her eyes and ears open for opportunities and good people to send our way.

Dr. Jamie Washington serves as a principal of the Washington Consulting Group based out of Baltimore. He is perhaps the most widely respected and known facilitator in the area of social justice within higher education. Jamie has served as a Co-Lead Facilitator of the Institute for at least a dozen years, making sure to include LeaderShape every summer. His laugh is legendary.

Dr. Deneece Huftalin serves as the President of the Salt Lake Community College system. SLCC is one of the largest community college systems in the United States so she has her hands full on a daily basis. Deneece has been involved as a Co-Lead Facilitator just a little longer than Jeanine and Jamie, always bringing her sense of humor and self-deprecating stories to the curriculum.

Dr. Tisa Mason serves as the President of Valley City State University in North Dakota. Tisa has a long and successful career working in student affairs at various institutions. Two areas of expertise that Tisa brings to LeaderShape involve her work with Fraternity and Sororities on a national level as well as her work with campus activities.

We are so happy and fortunate to have these four amazing LeaderShapers on the Board of Trustees! As you can see, our emphasis this year has been adding individuals from the field of higher education as we continue to reach more and more colleges and universities wishing to partner with LeaderShape. We look forward to their guidance, wisdom, challenges, and energy.

Please visit our website at www.leadershape.org to see the other trustees on the board and learn more about the organization.

Friday 5: The View from NYC – 5 Leadership Learnings from the NYC Marathon

It is a treat for me to get to live in the Big Apple. I mean, the city has almost anything to offer at any time of the day. As a vegan, I get to have 213 vegetarian and vegan restaurants at my fingertips. As a lover of Broadway, Hamilton is playing right up the street (though getting tickets offers its own challenge). And as a person who loves to observe people, a simple ride on a subway offers its own special drama every time I take a trip downtown. Though, there’s one special event that only happens once a year in NYC and I try not to miss it. It’s the NYC Marathon.

Now, let’s not get confused.  I don’t run the marathon. I stand on the sidelines to watch and cheer on the runners. I’m on the official “Olympic standing there team” (anybody else remember the Friends episode where Joey says that about Chandler’s lack of foosball?). I think training and running the marathon might offer its own lessons in leadership and possibility – particularly for my 44-year old body – but standing on the sidelines gives me a unique, front row view of hope, resilience, struggle and strength, and it’s the one thing in NYC that I don’t miss.

This year while watching the marathon (I got to combine two of my NYC loves…one of my favs on Broadway, 2016 Tony Winner Cynthia Erivo who plays “Celie” in the Tony winning revival of The Color Purple ran the marathon) many ideas begin to pop in my head about lessons of leadership that we learn just by watching these incredible runners, and I thought I would share 5 of them with you:

  1. Run your race, Keep your pace
    As I stood a few yards in front of the Mile 23 marker in Central Park and watched the hundreds of people move by, I noticed there were runners, walkers, and folks that were barely standing. Again, not being a runner, don’t quote me on this, but the folks who were stumbling or barely standing, probably ran someone else’s race.  By that I mean, they probably trained at their pace, but probably got out with all these other runners and tried to keep pace with others’ who were faster or had trained differently. How many times do we do that in our lives? We compare ourselves to the people around us (usually by looking at social media) and think that our lives and our experiences just don’t measure up.  The thing about that comparison is that it tires us out and has us running a race (or living a life) that isn’t ours.  How can we remember to run our own race, and keep the pace as leaders that is meant for us?
  2. Step out of bounds to help a friend
    I will forever watch the NYC Marathon at mile 23. I think that’s the mile where our humanity shows up – for better or for worse (see note about people barely standing above). The humanity of the runners was being tested the whole 26.2 miles, but Mile 23 tests the humanity of the folks on the sidelines. And both were beautiful. I watched loved one after love one cross the metal barriers that we were held behind to run alongside their friend…in jeans, sweaters, and sometimes boots…just to give them that extra boost of energy to push that extra mile. Whenever are we able to step out of our everyday expectations and normality of our lives to give an extra listening ear, kind word, or assistance to a friend, we should do it.  It doesn’t matter what artificial barriers have been set up.
  3. Listen to Good Music
    I love music. And to run a marathon, I would MOST DEFINITELY need to have a playlist that lifted me up and that inspired me. Many of the runners had on headphones and it made me wonder what was on their playlist over 2 hours into the race. Did they pick India Arie’s “Just Do You” (I would pick that one) or was it the Rocky Theme (that too!)? What was the pump up music that they needed?  What’s the “music” that we are listening to? Not the literal music, but the voices that surround us. Are we surrounding ourselves with people who will lift us up? Or the folks that tear us and our dreams down? I want the most positive playlist I can have in my ear as I run this life marathon.

  4. Get clear on your purpose
    My guess is that everyone who completed the race had a relatively clear goal. The 26.2-mile marker. The finish line. To beat their training time. But then there were the folks who had a purpose on top of their goal. You might be scratching your head and saying, “What do you mean Tanya? Aren’t they the same thing?” For me they are different. The goal might be the thing we are striving to achieve, but the purpose is the why we are even there – to me, it’s the thing that gives life to the goal. At the marathon, I saw runners’ whose shirts read “For Uncle Billy” or that named the number of years they had survived cancer. I didn’t have to know what their individual stories were to know that they were going to complete that marathon because they had their purpose for running as the wind at their back. So many of us in life are going after these goals dictated by society or what it looks like to be successful, but for what purpose.  The clarity of purpose makes a difference.

  5. The “you take a risk you might be rewarded” – MTA, -weather, -life
    This last realization actually happened on my walk away from the marathon and as I was getting on the subway to head back home to Harlem. As I swiped my Metrocard to get on the subway from 86th up to 135th, I saw an MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) worker holding open a side door to the regular turnstile entrance and calling for marathon runners to show him their marathon medals and offering them a free ride on the subway. I immediately thought, “How cool, they are getting a reward for their bravery.” The subways in New York cost $2.75 per ride, so it might not seem like much – but it adds up – but it helped me realize that their reward was so much greater than the $2.75 that the MTA employee was putting back in their pocket. Their very willingness to take a risk many months before to say, “yes, I’m going to run that marathon” was paying off. When they signed up, they had no idea what the weather was going to be or what would be going on in their lives at the time of the marathon, but they signed up anyway and started training. And they were rewarded. It was a gorgeous fall day. They had millions of people cheering for them along the streets of NYC. They got to see all five boroughs of the city in the most scenic way possible. They got random people like me who said “congratulations!” to anyone I passed on the street wearing a blue marathon heatsheet on the day of the marathon smiling big toothy grins at them. And they got a free ride on the subway. We actually never know where our rewards will come from when we take a risk, but I do believe they are always there (even if we have sore muscles or might get bumped and bruised in route to them.)

If you’ve never watched a marathon (and don’t think you’ll ever run one), I encourage you to find your nearest marathon and sign up for the “Olympic Standing There” team and take it all in from Mile 23.

Tanya O. Williams is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at LeaderShape and works primarily with the Resilience program. Tanya describes herself as a Social Justice Educator, Life Lover, Possibility Creator, Liberation Seeker and Hope Giver and has been affiliated with LeaderShape for 20 years. And she’s loved every minute of it! You can find Tanya on Instagram and Twitter at @authenticseeds.

Palmer Award Application

Attention 2016 Institute graduates! We are excited to announce that the Palmer Award application is live and ready for you.

The Palmer Award is provided each year to LeaderShape graduates who have participated in a national or campus-based session of the Institute during the previous year (2016). The award is given to recognize the achievements of those individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to bringing their vision to reality after attending their session.

The Palmer Award began as an endowment gift donated to the Alpha Tau Omega Foundation by Dr. Edmund T. Palmer, Jr. This year the fund will provide a $800.00 award to a 2016 graduate of the Institute who has implemented their vision.

Individuals eligible to apply for this award must have attended and completed a session of the Institute in 2016 and can apply for the award here.

Applications are due by 8am PST on Monday, August 28, 2017.
Questions can be directed to Kristen at kbh@leadershape.org.