The LEAD Academy began with participant applications and acceptance last spring. The nearly 50 participants selected are now immersed in the Mentor Connect phase. The Academy follows a blended learning approach, where participants follow a prescribed program of books, articles, videos, and other activities. They are currently working with NCBC mentors throughout this process, which will take an estimated 30 hours. They have also taken the StrengthsFinders test and will cover the results during an in-depth workshop. All Mentor Connect activities foster individual self-awareness and personal development.
The next big step comes in August, the Monday before the NCBC gathering in Chicago. A full-day leadership conference will provide active practice in applying leadership skills introduced in Mentor Connect. Skills to be taught include:
· The individual’s responsibility to present a willing attitude;
· The need to work cooperatively within a team;
· Building trust among your peers and with your supervisors;
· Leading a project successfully; and
· Leading with your strengths.
Sandy Smith, California Eastern Bankruptcy, has served as the LEAD Academy chair during the planning process. The LEAD Academy workshop faculty includes:
· Beverly Griffeth-Bryant, Illinois Northern Bankruptcy Court;
· Lisa Haney, Tennessee Western Bankruptcy Court;
· John Kohler, Wisconsin Western Bankruptcy Court;
· Barry Lander, California Southern Bankruptcy Court; and
· Gina Walton, Washington Western Bankruptcy Court.
Leadership, like any other skill, develops with individual self-reflection, guided development, and follow-up opportunities. After the workshop participants will create an individual action plan for further leadership development, and continue their work with mentors, court supervisors, and their peers.
Lessons learned from this pilot year will be instructive in moving the LEAD Academy forward into what promises to be a valuable education program for NCBC members.