Leonard Kaplan Leadership Institute Reflection by Lisanne Bluemel

 “How many of you are completely comfortable with calling yourselves a leader?”

The Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program began with two insightful days at the Leonard Kaplan Leadership Institute located at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). Similar to other fellL.Bluemelows, I was not sure what to expect when we first entered the beautiful headquarters in Greensboro. However, the facilitators Marin Burton, Susan Reinecke, Monique Steele, and Preston Yarborough took great care of us from the beginning. During the first day, we laid the foundation for successful leadership by discussing mental modes, personal values, leadership outcomes (Direction-Alignment-Commitment (DAC)), and feedback models (Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI)). These models were explained with the help of discussions, group activities, and many visual components – so every learning type was able to grasp the essentials. As one may realize, the staff at the CCL seem to appreciate acronyms – however, our facilitators explained those in a very comprehensive and applicable manner. Monique encouraged us to challenge ourselves with a half-marathon, Susan underlined the advantages of a long college stay (also called life-long learning), Marin illustrated the importance of positive feedback in ALL relationships, and Preston described how difficult but also exciting it can be to adapt to a new situation (even if it is soccer). All participants felt the energy and passion with which these facilitators were supporting our ‘learning curve.’

The second day of the training focused on the potential challenges that we might face as leaders and in particular within our internships. The facilitators included great TED talks, which made us aware of the ‘danger of a single story’ and a lack of emotional intelligence. Group challenges encouraged us to think in growth instead of fixed mindsets and finally, we were able to talk about our foreseeable concerns and challenges during our internships. Overall, I think it was really helpful to have the common ground of leadership to identify a group spirit that we can expand and rely on throughout the summer and our time in Greensboro.

These two days at the CCL, including many caffeinated beverages and delicious food, also enabled us to really get to know each other. In particular, the diversity, experience, and knowledge of the group facilitated our learning process and intensified our conversations about meaningful topics like the weather…No, of course I am not serious. The weather will not be on my conversational plate for a long time. Instead, I am going to ask about the most beautiful thing you have ever seen, which skill you would like to gain, and if you had any ‘lollipops moments’ in your life.

In summarizing this experience, I think that it made me definitely more aware of my leadership potential and I am looking forward to the summer in Greensboro!

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi (2009). The danger of a single story. Retrieved from

Dudley, Drew (2010). Everyday leadership. Retrieved from

Lisanne Bluemel is interning at The Global Opportunities Center. 

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