Leadership Institutes for Public Life
Leadership Institutes for Public Life train participants in the classic Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) practices: One-to-One Meetings, House Meetings, Collective Reflection, Research Actions, Negotiations, Evaluation. These practices dis-organize our current culture of isolation, and create a new culture of relational Power. They enable our people to tap into deep pools of energy and imagination, the sources of new solutions, new ideas and new "lenses" on the world.
The Institutes are designed to develop leaders who will serve as catalysts in addressing economic, social and environmental issues that affect our community. It trains new leaders to participate in the decision-making process in the socio-political arena. The training is also an opportunity for people to claim their voice and recognize that they have the power to effect positive change.
It is the goal of the Training Team and Reflection Group Leaders that the Leadership Institute will enable you to strengthen your own institution and contribute to the common good in specific ways:
1. You will experience how to strengthen your institution by building relationships across age, culture and economic barriers, and to identify the forces that shape the lives of individuals and families in your community.
2. You will learn how to move your institution toward a greater fulfillment of its mission in shaping/transforming the rest of the community through discovering the unmet needs of your members.
3. You will build relationships with people from a cross section of MACG institutions, and gain insight into how people from diverse backgrounds can come together to work for the common good.
4. You will gain skill in identifying the uses of relational power in the public arena that express the values of your institution.
5. You will learn to lead by living out your values and intentionally building a network of meaningful relationships inside and outside your institution.
6. You will hear and learn about actual leaders’ experiences of organizing within their own institutions, and collectively with other institutions in the public arena.
When Portland Organizing Project leaders voted to disband and reorganize in 1998, one of the main reasons for building a broad-based organization was the need to broaden the number of leaders engaged in public life. Leaders felt the need for training more leaders within congregations, labor union locals, community organizations, and education associations - the civil sector organizations in order to build more power to mediate for families.
A group of leaders led by Nancy Phelps (Redeemer Lutheran), Chris Kresek (St. Rita) and Dick Harmon (IAF staff), designed and experimented with multi-hour sessions focused on teaching the universals of power and organizing through family stories and group reflection.
Over the years, these institutes have been taught, critiqued, edited, and transformed by dozens of leaders in Portland, Spokane, Seattle, Central Washington and Edmonton. As they continue to evolve, the purpose is always the same, to teach more people in our communities to participate in public life through the basic cycle of organizing - story, reflection, research, action and evaluation.