2019 Palmer Award Winner

What a joy it is to announce the recipient of this year’s Palmer Award! Please meet and congratulate TahLea Wright!IMG_0616 2

TahLea is a student at Moravian College (PA) and attended the 2018 national session of the Institute in Massachusetts. TahLea’s vision work in the year that has passed since she attended the Institute has focused primarily on empowering students, with special attention to young women of color, to step into leadership and advocacy.

TahLea has engaged in her work on the local level as a Summer Youth Program Coordinator in 2018 and 2019 through the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley with the responsibility of co-creating a leadership and service program for area high school students. In 2018, the focus of the program was Homelessness and Food Insecurity in the Lehigh Valley and TahLea engaged the participants in the program through interactive activities, guest speakers from local non-profit organizations, leadership exercises, and a service project. This program lead to the creation of the Youth Volunteer Council at her college. The mission of this council is to be the premier resource that coordinators and connects a diverse culture of youth to community service within the Greater Lehigh Valley. In 2019, the summer program included a World Café event, giving the students the opportunity to be in round table conversations with non-profit representatives from five different organizations. For a glimpse of how the program unfolded, take a look at a video that TahLea created about the week.

Through the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Moravian College, TahLea had the opportunity to serve as a THRIVE Peer Mentor. Not only did she support her two mentees transition to college and through their first year of college, she was there for them when they applied to serve as mentors themselves. Good news – they were both selected!

IMG_10211Working on the goLEAD program has given TahLea valuable experience toward her longer-term goal of creating a national after school program pairing elementary and middle school students with high school and college student mentors. And her involvement as a THRIVE Peer Mentor has provided a direct line to young women of color, a community that TahLea cares deeply about. TahLea is also Vice President of Gamma Sigma Sigma, a national all-inclusive service sorority, and was named the Outstanding Sophomore Leader of the Year through Omicon Delta Kappa.

Ultimately TahLea wants people to know that they can be successful, feel cared for and loved for who they are, and to believe that they can make a difference as leaders and advocates. We can’t wait to see what is next for TahLea and her vision work!

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2019 National Sessions of the Institute

LeaderShape believes that leadership involves living in the state of possibility, making a commitment to a vision, developing relationships to move the vision into action, and sustaining a high level of integrity. We believe that effective leadership takes place in the context of a community and results in a more equitable society.

It is this definition that serves as the foundation of the Institute. The Institute is IMG_2341an immersion experience that allows participants to work collectively to live in this world of possibility as they explore their values, who they are, and who they want to be.

While together, they will develop a vision that is grounded in their deepest values.

In 2019, we will host three national sessions as follows:

  • May 12-17, 2019: National session of the Institute in Boston, MA
  • July 21-26, 2019: National session of the Institute in Champaign, IL
  • July 28-August 2, 2019: National session of the Institute in Champaign, IL

In 2019, we are also offering a 4-day session of the Institute. We have conducted pilot sessions of this format of the Institute with our campus partners and are now hosting it as a national session. The date for that session is:

  • May 20-23, 2019: 4-day national session of the Institute in Champaign, IL

We recognize that for many participants, finding six days away is not possible and we don’t want time to be a reason someone doesn’t attend the Institute. The 4-day Institute is formatted to provide the Institute experience in a shorter timeframe to help engage more participants. The curriculum for the 4-day and 6-day Institute are the same; the difference being the pace of the days.

If you are interested in learning more about the Institute and sending students
this summer, please contact Vernon Wall at lead@leadershape.org
or call the LeaderShape office at 800-988-LEAD (5323).

Lessons of Yes

If you follow along on social media and/or participate in our webinar series, you know that we’ve been considering how and why to say yes a bit less. Our webinar presenter Jeffrey Cufaude provided helpful tools that can help us determine when no is the answer. (And let us say, these are tools that we can actually implement – they are that good and that applicable.)

What about when you have cultivated the aptitude to say no? What about when you are ready to say yes?

Saying no, and even saying yes less often, gifts us with the opportunity to say YES to the people, challenges, and opportunities that are most aligned with who we are and who we want to be. When looking to saying yes role models, we’re called to Ms. Shonda Rhimes. Her TED Talk, and to a more comprehensive degree, her book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, welcomed us into her journey – and discoveries – of saying yes.

—shonda rhimes

Although Shonda’s experience was to yes to everything over the course of the year, we have been thinking about how to be discerning when we are in a say yes place. How can we hold saying yes and living our life with purpose and in congruence?

While you craft your “yes” areas, we want to encourage you to do so with purpose. With intention. Here are a few areas that we think offer clarity and encouragement to know what to say yes to.

Core Values
We believe that being a person of integrity is one of the most important ways to be in life. It is one of the most important contributions we can make to our lives and our leadership. When saying yes, consider how congruent the opportunity is to your core values.

Cause & Contribution
We find that people do their best work when contributing to the causes that they care about most. What are you working for and toward when your passions and interests are awakened? Say yes to that. Prioritize that. Be in service to that.

It’s important to clarify that you aren’t asking yourself whether you should care about that thing that has been offered to you. It is not possible to truly and consistently care about every issue we face in the world. Care about what calls to you as deeply as you can and appreciate that someone else cares just as deeply about the things that you aren’t centering.  

Being Your Best Self
Saying yes isn’t only about doing, it is also about being. Direct your yeses to where you can be your best self, contribute your best self, and grow into the best version of you.

With Vigor and Energy
There is an old interview with Ann Richards (former Governor of Texas) where she remarks on how she doesn’t believe we are meant to spend our lives in drudgery. She encourages people to enjoy what they can. We hope you can direct your yeses to the things in life that give you joy! That you can approach with vigor and energy, even if that energy includes a little bit of healthy fear.

Say Yes to No
This one is direct from Shonda (Chapter 11 in her book) and explored in the Say Yes Less webinar. No is a complete sentence. It is ok to say no. It’s helpful to be so connected and intentional with what you say yes to that deciding what to say no to is easy.

Whether you are in a Say Yes Less or Say Yes mindset in life right now, we hope you are intentional about your choices. When you find you are saying yes too often or without intention, come back to this post and find congruence in your yeses again!