New and Aspiring Leaders

I heard so many positive comments about the 2011 UPCEA Annual Meeting in Toronto.  Congratulations to Judy Ashcroft, Jenny Stine, and their planning committee on their hard work and for creating a great platform for our annual meeting.

One of the “new things” offered at the annual conference was the New and Aspiring Leaders Certificate Program which was the brainchild of our own Judy Ashcroft.  This program was very well attended and was a smashing success.  I had two of my own staff members, Carol Fleming and Sarah MacDonald, who participated in the New and Aspiring Leaders Certificate Program and given that not everyone was able to attend this event, I’ve asked them to contribute a guest post about the first New and Aspiring Leaders Certificate Program. Carol and Sarah, take it away.

One of this year’s new initiatives at the UPCEA Annual Conference is the New and Aspiring Leaders Certificate Program. We knew as soon as it was announced that we wanted to participate, and we’re very glad we did. We won’t bore you with the complete program description, but as a teaser: “New and aspiring leaders in professional and continuing education will enhance their leadership abilities and build their professional networks during this participatory professional development experience.” And after three days of sessions, networking, lunches, and laughter, we can say without hesitation that those descriptions are absolutely correct.

There so much information we could share about our experience in this new professional development opportunity, but one of our favorite sessions was the Lessons Learned panel on Wednesday afternoon. Judy Ashcroft, Pat Book, Jim Shaeffer, Amy Heitzman, and Burt Bargerstock shared some words of wisdom, lessons learned, and concrete advice, and we wanted to share some of the best nuggets of that session with you (without embarrassing our fearless leaders, of course).

Judy described, almost mathematically, the inverse relationship between control and responsibility. The more responsibilities you have, the less control you have over each of them – which means you have to let go of knowing all the details.

Pat advised us not to wait for a particular job title, or for someone to explicitly give you the authority to do something – if something needs to be done, just do it.

Jim told us not to protect and insulate ourselves from the “unknowable future,” and that Execution is the new Strategy.

Amy suggested that we get used to hiring people who are smarter than we are; and because we are different in continuing and professional education, we need to get used to be transparent.

Burt reminded us (by channeling a little Foucault) that our institutions are mechanisms for the transmission of power, so we should always be mindful of the politics that surround us.

Each leader shared plenty of other wisdom, including some that we can’t repeat here, but we wanted to give you a taste of the incredible leadership development opportunities we have been able to participate in over the past few days. This was an incredibly empowering experience, and we look forward to putting what we learned into action immediately. Thanks to Judy, Mary Angela Baker, Stacy McCracken, and so many others for putting together such an incredible program. And to our fellow NAL-ers, we look forward to continuing to connect with you over the next year to Do What Matters.

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