Anyone Can be a Leader and Everyone Deserves to be Heard.

by: Megan Orbin – Woof Boom

I graduated from Ball State University and found full time employment at Woof Boom. I was excited to work for my company but that required staying in Muncie. I was a reluctant resident.  Emergence helped change that for me. Suddenly I was spending hours with community members from diverse backgrounds with different opinions, talking and sharing ideas, all the while becoming more and more confident to speak up.

Emergence gave me the confidence to step deeper into the community that I once avoided.

As an introvert and the low man on the totem pole, I initially sat down & kept quiet.  The environment that Tisha, Mitch, and the other facilitators worked hard to cultivate allowed me to feel comfortable to share my thoughts.

Emergence gave me the confidence to step deeper into the community that I once avoided.  When the opportunity to join Altrusa International of Muncie was offered to me, I agreed immediately.  I haven’t been a member for an entire year yet, but that didn’t stop me from agreeing to Co-Chair a Committee with the eventual plan of Chairing said committee next year.  I am lucky to have found something similar to Emergence in Altrusa as the club is another supportive group of community members.

To steal one of Tisha’s favorite phrases. I feel like my toolbox is full of techniques and skills to lead within my community and workplace. I am grateful to my company, Woof Boom Radio, for sending me to Emergence and I will forever be grateful to Shafer Leadership Academy, who helped me begin this journey.

 


 

Emergence is Shafer Leadership Academy’s core leadership program. Topics during the interactive sessions, include learning and leadership styles, effective communication, consensus building, conflict management, civic leadership and personal mission.

Emergence is built for busy professionals, who want the depth of an extended retreat but don’t have the time. This year’s class will begin with a full day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 7, and continue each Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. through Tuesday, May 19. On Tuesday May 26, will conclude the program with another full day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Scholarships are available, and participants from SLA Member Organizations receive discounts.

 


 

Learn more and register for Emergence and other SLA programs.

Questions? Email Shafer Leadership Academy or call the office at 765-748-0403.

 


A More Confident Sue

Sue Godfrey dropped out of the workforce to raise children. She had left a management position and re-entered office life through an entry-level role. Sue enrolled in Shafer Leadership’s Emergence program, and there, she regained her confidence.

Now the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Indiana, Godfrey is an advocate for the eight-week, highly interactive Emergence program. It outfits participants with confidence and a command of their leadership style, she said. Registration for the 2019 Emergence Class — which kicks off Tuesday, April 2 — is open through Friday, March 29.  

I see ‘aha’ moments in the people I lead as they go through the program,” said Godfrey, who joined the Shafer Leadership Academy Board in 2018. It works to serve everyone who both aspires to be a leader and those who may not see their own leadership skills, but others around them do.

Emergence is Shafer Leadership Academy’s core leadership program. Topics during the interactive sessions, include learning and leadership styles, effective communication, consensus building, conflict management, civic leadership and personal mission.

Emergence is built for busy professionals, who want the depth of an extended retreat but don’t have the time. This year’s class will begin with a full day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, and continue each Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. through Tuesday, May 21.

Scholarships are available, and participants from SLA Member Organizations receive discounts.

It’s worth it,” Godfrey said. Emergence graduates get to know each other well and continue to support one another beyond the program — especially those, she adds, in close quarters.

My husband, Stuart Godfrey, is also an Emergence graduate. He and I often discuss issues of leadership, and a frequent conversation is around the idea that ‘you aren’t leading if no one is following,’” she said. “If no one is following, then you’re just taking a walk.


Learn more and register for Emergence and other SLA programs.

Questions? Email Shafer Leadership Academy or call the office at 765-748-0403. 

 


Meet Our New Team Member

Shafer Leadership Academy served 3,000 more participants in 2019 than in 2015. That’s a 900% growth in the people, organizations and communities it empowers with personal and professional leadership skills.

“Growth without direction, however, is unwise,” said SLA Executive Director Mitch Isaacs. To support the organization’s expansion, SLA hired Jeff Robinson as its first director of development. The Muncie native — responsible for growing SLA’s partner base across East Central Indiana — will start January 6th.

“Jeff brings a powerful blend of skills, experiences and connections to this role, and we are confident he will sustain and deepen meaningful partnerships with corporate and public partners,” said Isaacs, who transitioned from board membership to executive director in 2015.

The addition to SLA’s lean, two-person team, Isaacs said, allows him to focus on strategic priorities and program director Tisha Gierhart to build a robust calendar of inclusive leadership development options.

“It’s an exciting time SLA and our bold dreams and hopes for this great region. With Jeff on board, we feel poised to deepen and enhance the region’s leadership capacity and expand our rewarding, productive partnerships.”

Memberships Exceed Expectations

In 2019, SLA transitioned to an annual membership model. In one packaged price, members access the nonprofit’s diverse blend of coffee talks, lunch & learns, signature programs, monthly coaching sessions and more. Robinson said he is eager to support SLA’s existing 25 member organizations — including Ball State, Ivy Tech, Muncie Power Products and Ontario Systems — while reaching out to find new partners across Delaware County.

“I’ve watched Shafer Leadership Academy grow into one of the most well-respected organization in our community, and I have seen the transformational change its programming has had on many friends, colleagues and organizations,” Robinson said. “SLA is making a difference in our community, and that is the driving force behind everything I do. I enjoy seeing others succeed, and that’s what Shafer Leadership Academy is all about — helping others realize their full potential.”

An Active Member of the Muncie Community

Robinson has spent much of his career in roles that elevate Muncie. In November, he won the District 2 seat on Muncie’s City Council. Prior to joining SLA, he served Cornerstone Center for the Arts as associate executive director since 2014. Before that, he worked at the Muncie Visitors Bureau as a special projects director and project coordinator. The 2006 graduate of Ball State University also worked as a sales manager for Horizon Convention Center.

Robinson is on the Muncie/Delaware County Chamber of Commerce’s Image Committee and is a member of Muncie’s Bridge Dinner Planning Committee. He served on The Star Press Editorial Board from 2014-16, and M Magazine named the avid volunteer one of Muncie’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2016.

Learn more about Robinson and Shafer Leadership Academy’s blend of leadership programs for all ages, backgrounds and interests at shaferleadership.com.

Click here to learn more about our membership options. 

Current members contact Mitch to renew your membership.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


Humans Can’t Help It

From the dawn of time, human beings have organized themselves into tribes. Anthropologists tell us that early humans formed bands of 30 – 40 people all hunting, gathering, and living together.  While early groups varied according to environmental and cultural practices, the concept of tribe is a near universal. 

For as long as we’ve existed we’ve relied on each other to survive.

More recently, psychologist Abraham Maslow described belonging as fundamental to the human hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow intimate relationships and friendships are foundational human psychological needs.  

Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong.

Tribes

Technology and civilization haven’t eliminated the tribe. If anything, tribes are more important than ever.  In his book Tribes: Why You Need Us to Lead, Seth Godin, explains how tribes are something more than bands of people looking to survive.  According to Godin a tribe is “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”  Godin emphasizes that tribes are grounded in a shared interest and supported by a common way to communicate. Most importantly, Godin tells us that tribes need leadership. It is the leader’s responsibility to provide “connection and growth and something new.”

Tribe SLA

Shafer Leadership Academy introduced our membership option this year. We were a little uncertain about how our supporters, participants, and stakeholders would respond. It took an act of courage by our board to change our model in hopes of providing people a way to connect and grow. It turns out that we were on to something as our membership model outperformed projections by nearly 80%. 

I think that’s because an SLA membership taps into our ancient need for a tribe.

By providing our members a place to gather 2 – 3 times a month to think about leadership, we are providing community leaders a place to gather in service of a shared interest.

The people, and organizations, who attend our programs come together because they are passionate about improvement. They seek to improve themselves, their workplaces, and our community.  .

Our members are forming a tribe. It is a tribe of like minded people who passionately believe that quality leadership can impact every corner and quarter of community.  It is a tribe of people who understand that how we think about ourselves, and how we treat others, truly matters.  It is a tribe of people who realize that as President Kennedy once said, “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Our is an unsettled tribe. Our is a tribe that is constantly seeking to connect with others. Our is a tribe who seeks to promote growth within themselves, their organizations, and their community.  

We invite you to join our tribe.

Now is the time to think about a 2020 membership in Shafer Leadership Academy.  Now is the time to consider what tribe you will join next year. Now is the time to find other people, and organizations, who share your values. Now is the time to gain new tools. Now is the time to grow and connect. 

Click here to learn more about our membership options. 

Current members contact Mitch to renew your membership.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


The Right Room

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Harvard University to complete a course through their School of Extended Education. I signed up for the class because I keep finding myself in a role I never expected to play – consultant. Shafer Leadership Academy’s public classes in leadership have opened doors to providing those same classes privately to interested organizations. As our reputation for offering content both publicly and privately has grown, organizations have come to us asking us to help them solve specific problems.

And as a nonprofit organization we like to help.

As result, when funding became available through the Ball Brothers Foundation, I jumped at the opportunity to take the “Consultant’s Toolkit” last month in Cambridge. I know enough about consulting to realize that there is so much more to learn, and what better place to go than Harvard to learn it?

From Greens Fork to Cambridge

To be honest, I was as intimidated as I was excited to attend. As a first-generation college student from Greens Fork, Indiana there was a part of me that didn’t feel qualified to even step on campus. Harvard, after all, is a world renown haven for stunning intelligence, deep history, and rich tradition. I was concerned that it would be too esoteric and inaccessible for my Midwestern tastes.

Another part of me was concerned that I couldn’t keep up. How would I handle myself in a classroom full of bright, motivated people from across the world? What could I possibly have to contribute to the conversation? Would I able to follow along? Would I be able to learn, or would I be lost?

Opportunity Over Insecurity

Then I remembered this quote: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

People who know everything have nothing to learn. There is no opportunity for growth, if there is no room for growth.  When you find yourself in a space where you are unquestionably among intelligent, high performers, then you are presented with an incredible opportunity – the opportunity to grow.

I found myself in the right room at Harvard.

In two short days I learned helpful techniques to improve my consulting practice. I met brilliant people, working in diverse industries. I participated in activities which connected the classroom concepts with everyday experience. I even had the satisfaction of learning that my consulting process is generally “right” even if it needs some tweaks.

Most importantly, I was reminded to not let insecurity keep me from opportunity.

Rooms where we feel smart are safe rooms. They are comfortable rooms, but they are not rooms where we grow. Challenge creates change. Discomfort can encourage expansion.  

And at the very least, there’s nothing like drinking coffee at Harvard Square.

Contact me if you’d like to learn more about our consulting services.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


A Book From Branam

As many of you know our community lost a giant in March, when Dr. George Branam passed away.

You may not know, however, that George was a founding board member of Shafer Leadership Academy.

Coffees with George

In fact, George was a part of the board who hired me. Over the years George and I would meet regularly to discuss leadership, talk about the community, and engage in spirited debate about politics. He would often tell me that if you aren’t a liberal when you are young then you don’t have a heart and if you aren’t a conservative when you’re old you don’t have a brain. I usually responded by saying I wanted to have both.

No matter what we discussed, or when we agreed, I always looked forward to my coffees with George. George had a passion for leadership. He said, more than once, that leadership is everything. He felt that future of our community hinged on the quality of its leadership, and on that point, we always agreed.

At some point in our conversations George would recommend a book or article for further exploration. George was a voracious reader and a lifelong learner. He wanted others to continue learning as well.  George valued self-improvement.

A Book from Branam

So, I was delighted when his wife, Linda, reached out to me a few weeks after his passing to offer books from his leadership library.  I visited their home, had a lovely conversation with Linda which felt a little like the conversations I used to have with George, and left with a trunk full of books.

It took a while to figure out what to do with them.

Eventually, I realized I should do what George always did with his knowledge– I should share it.

So, in honor of George’s spirit, and memory, we offer you a Book from Branam.  We invite you to follow in George’s footstep by contributing to his legacy of leadership. 

We gave many of these books away at our Annual Meeting on Monday but we have a limited number still available at our offices. Many of the books have handwritten notes from George in them, along with underlines and highlights. George didn’t just own these books, he consumed them.

 

We invite you to visit our offices, take a book, read it, and then pass it on.  Just as George always passed his knowledge on to all of us.

George may be gone, but his legacy lives on.

Contact me if you’d like to schedule a time to select a book.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways. 


A Ruler for Your Emotions

People sometimes come to Shafer Leadership Academy with the hope we will help them control others. First, we talk with them about controlling themselves. 

It’s not always the message they want to hear, but it’s usually the one they need to hear.

We can’t lead others until we lead ourselves or, as my uncle often asked me:

What are you doing to keep your side of the street clean?”

A Simple Tool

Emotional Intelligence is defined as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”  

David Neidert, author and facilitator for Shafer Leadership Academy, shares this helpful tool during our upcoming Emotional Intelligence session on April 25th from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM.

It’s called the “RULER Reminder,” and it’s useful when we find ourselves in emotional situations.

RULER stands for:

 


Recognize emotions in self and others by examining face, body, voice tones, and feelings;

Understand how these emotions influence us;

Label the emotions by expanding our vocabulary as precisely as possible;

Express appropriate behaviors in the context and culture; within cultural rules;

Regulate by developing strategies for how you might respond (e.g., positive self-talk, exercise,  visualizations, walking, journaling, etc.)


Keep Your Side of the Street Clean

The RULER Reminder represents four basic dimensions of Emotional Intelligence:

1) Self Awareness;

2) Self-Management;

3) Social Awareness and;

4) Relationship Management.  

Self-Awareness is the first step toward better Emotional Intelligence. It’s how we keep our side of the street clean.

Enhance your Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional Intelligence is a challenging topic. It requires a mixture of thinking, self-reflection and intentional action. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this work alone. We, at Shafer Leadership Academy, are ready to walk alongside you. (or: are ready to pick up a broom. Let’s go clean some streets!

Click here to learn how you can attend Emotional Intelligence: Discovering You on April 25th.

Scholarships are available!


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Leadership is Service

You can learn a lot about leaders by the way they talk. Some leaders believe their position entitles them to demand respect and command others. These leaders talk about “being in charge,” refer to “directing others,” or “setting people straight.” They don’t seek input from those they lead. They cast a vision rooted in personal greatness, rather than shared aspirations. 

That’s not the kind of approach we teach at Shafer Leadership Academy.

We believe in change, not the status quo. We believe in the strength of community, not the isolation of individuals. We believe in the wisdom of teams, not in the greatness of a single person. We believe that all voices have something to contribute. 

We Empower and Equip Servant Leaders

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”  

-Robert Greenleaf, father of servant leadership

 

We believe that servant leadership transforms our businesses, organizations and communities. We believe that servant leaders are on a constant journey of self-discovery, while simultaneously striving to better serve those around them. We believe leaders don’t have all the answers, nor do they need to. We believe leaders understand how to tap into the strengths of those around them to solve common problems by creating a shared vision. We believe leaders see themselves as responsible to those they serve. And by doing this, we believe we can control our destiny.

An Introduction to Servant Leadership

For 12 years, Shafer Leadership Academy has offered the Emergence class as an introduction to servant leadership and an exercise in self discovery.

Emergence is Shafer Leadership Academy’s core leadership program. Topics during the interactive sessions, include learning and leadership styles, effective communication, consensus building, conflict management, civic leadership and personal mission.

Among our nearly 450 graduates, 75 percent have assumed a leadership role in the community, 50 percent are serving on nonprofit boards and 40 percent have experienced a job promotion, all within five years of completing the program.

Every year, Emergence brings the best of our community together: leaders from places of worship, from nonprofits, from elected offices, from industries, and from schools. Participants seek to better understand themselves and to serve others.


Learn more and register for Emergence and other SLA programs.

Questions? Email Shafer Leadership Academy or call the office at 765-748-0403. 

 


Inspire a Shared Vision

Imagine a clear eyed, motivated leader traveling down a path towards a better future. Fueled by certainty they move swiftly, taking long strides and feeling more confident with each step, until eventually, they turn around and realize no one is there.

Vision is essential to leadership. Leaders need a clear picture of the future they hope to create. But what happens when a leader has a vision and can’t get others to share in it?

A leader without followers is just a person taking a walk.

Envision and Elicit

According to Kouzes and Posner, the authors of The Leadership Challenge:

“Leaders who Inspire a Shared Vision passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future.”

Leaders are thirsty for a better future. Their vision emanates from a desire to make the world a better place. A vision, at its core, is a dream. A dream of a stronger community, a more effective workplace, or a better family.  When we clearly envision the future, we can describe it in rich detail. In fact, we can’t help but talk about our vision. Eventually we are inhabited by it. A true vision fuels the best parts of our soul and stirs us to action.

But a great vision can’t just stir us, we have to enlist others to the cause.

We must inspire a shared vision. Nothing is accomplished alone. No matter how great it is, without others, a vision is simply an unrealized dream. And while dreams are nice, change requires action. We have to create space for others; we have to listen; we have to truly share our vision if we ever want it to be a reality.

Let’s Create a Shared Vision

Imagine a community of people interested in creating a shared vision. What would happen if we tackled problems together, rather than wait for unsatisfying solutions to be forced upon us?

What would happen if we all learned to Inspire a Shared Vision?

Click here to learn more about how you can Inspire a Shared Vision.

Inspire a Shared Vision, along with Model the Way, Enable Others to Act, Challenge the Process and Encourage the Heart are the Five Exemplary Practices first outlined by Kouzes and Posner over 30 years ago in their landmark book “The Leadership Challenge.”

Shafer Leadership Academy will offer a one day Leadership Challenge course on Tuesday, September 18th at the Innovation Connector.

Scholarships are available.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


You’re Not A Superhero

It’s easy to believe that leaders are superheroes — people with special powers who can swoop in to solve any problem quickly and with few consequences.

The problem is, you’re not a superhero.  

Capes Don’t Fit

I’ve tried on the cape. It doesn’t fit. As a younger man, I thought leading meant having to solve everyone’s problems. Or, even worse, when a problem developed, I pressured myself to tackle it all on my own.

Eventually, I realized that leaders solve problems by building great teams. I had to reframe my concept of a hero.

Enable Others to Act

Real superheroes don’t have super strength, they gather strength from creating strong teams. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, suggest that real superheroes enable others to act.

“Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams,” the book states. “They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful.”

Fonder of the Servant Leadership movement, Robert Greenleaf said the test of a good leader is whether those served “grow as persons.” “Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” he wrote. 

Take Your Leadership to New Heights

Our upcoming program, The Leadership Challenge, will empower you to embrace the five practices of exemplary leadership: Inspire a Shared Vision, Model the Way, Enable Others to Act, Challenge the Process and Encourage the Heart.

Scholarships are available for this program, from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Muncie’s Innovation Connector.

REGISTER TODAY  


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


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