Palmer Award Finalist: Obinna Ejimofor

We received so many wonderful applications for this year’s Palmer Award, we wanted to share the work of those who were among our finalists. Today we learn about Obinna Ejimofor, Institute graduate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.


On the path towards his vision, Obinna understands that his continued education will be in both the medical field as well as learn more promoting farmworkers’ rights. And he has made great strides in both areas!

Having spent time with Novant Health, Obinna performed and participated in duties that helped to improve patient satisfaction outcomes and conditions in the medical field. He tells us more about his experience, writing that “…the philosophy of care demonstrated by Novant Health also correlated with my core values as a leader.” He is committed to providing a remarkable patient experience, and was able to support this through innovative patient-care design, proper execution of health-care policy, and performing assessments of clinical standards and compliance. Through his work with Novant Health, he was also “reminded of various lessons learned from my time at LeaderShape Institute, such as the importance of leading with integrity and having the time, commitment and audacity to believe in the impossible.”

Obinna has also been expanding his knowledge and experience with and for farmworkers.

  • While interning in the Clinical Resources Department, he has facilitated projects with other healthcare administrators that challenged his understanding of medicine in the context of community benefit.
  • Worked at Student Action with Farmworkers, a local non-profit located in Durham, North Carolina. This organization specializes in advocacy rights and educational workshops that benefit the farmworker community and Latinx population.
  • Through Student Action with Farmworkers, Obinna conducted monthly workshops for Levante Leadership Institute students. They discussed topics on race, healthcare, financial literacy and higher education.
  • Held a fundraiser that raised over $500 in donations.
  • Lobbied for farmworker rights to local legislators.

Obinna shares, “Understanding the plight of farmworkers and acting as an ally that can help voice their concerns will allow me to better serve the community and provide effective medical assistance. I intend to accomplish this while also staying true to my core values of growth, humility, and happiness.” It’s clear to us that this is exactly the direction he is headed.

Palmer Award Finalist: Annika Kulkarni

We received so many wonderful applications for this year’s Palmer Award, we wanted to share the work of those who were among our finalists. Today we learn about Annika Kulkarni, Institute graduate from the University of Illinois.

“My vision was to provide more opportunities for diversity within music. As someone who studies music, I’ve realized that a large part of the profession and curriculum is centered around Western history and culture. By promoting music of different backgrounds and cultures, not only can we aim to be more well-rounded musicians and listeners, but we also become part of a wholesome society that accepts peoples of all backgrounds and promotes diversity.” – Annika Kulkarni

As Annika worked to get closer to her goals, she found that not only brought exposure to music beyond the Western culture, she also saw a sense of community develop. Some of the steps that Annika has taken towards her vision include:

  • organized student concerts to promote cultural music and artistic talent (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth)
  • joined Crescendo, a musical organization that aims to support underrepresented minorities within music and to provide volunteer and service opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion
  • through Crescendo we went to the local elementary school to educate children about different art forms from different cultures and what kind of instruments they used
  • donated money from a back sale to a local theater nearby the promotes arts education

Annika’s vision has influenced her academics as well – as a part of her senior thesis. She is eager to help provide fine arts students with access to leadership workshops and experiences that will help them consider what it means to be an artistic leader and to discover the role of diversity and inclusion in their fields of study.

Our Year in Review

As the year comes to a close, we cannot help but to reminisce over some of the many moments we celebrated in 2017.

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 2.57.05 PM.png

Our programs traveled near and far (and even overseas) to leave an impact on the leaders of tomorrow. See the full map here!

DukeFullGroup 5x7-2 (1).JPG

In August, we had our 70,000th participant complete The Institute. Think of all of the amazing visions that are bringing endless possibilities to this world.

We partnered with 17 organizations to spend the day with their staff developing their skills in the area of resilience.

We partnered with 50 organizations to help participants create change in their communities by starting something extraordinary.


We connected with seven presenters for our webinars that covered topics ranging from leveraging positive change to building creativity , and sustainable partnerships to conversations that matter.

Interested in hearing these wonderful people speak about these topics, head over here. Want to see some of their work in a graphic, head over to our Facebook album with even more webinars!


Join us in reflecting, connecting, and acting on the past few #Day7 themes here.

July: #BeABeliever

August: #EmbraceFailure

September: #TimeToReflect

October: #FindYourCreativity

November: #PracticeGratitude

December: #GetJoyful


Join the conversation from our monthly Twitter chats here.

July: To Lead, Live and Spark Inspiration

August: To Lead, Live and Take Time to Reflect

September: To Lead, Live and Practice Self Care

October: To Lead, Live and Activate Your Strengths

November: To Lead, Live and Celebrate 2017