Women2Women - Winter 2018 - 14

Growth2Go

BUILDING LEADERS IN OUR COMMUNITY

By Toni Eckert, Associate Director of the O'Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership
& Public Service and Director of Leadership Berks, Alvernia University

A

community's greatest currency is measured not by dollars and
cents, but by how it invites, welcomes, and encourages groups,
organizations, and individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures,
education, and experiences to find their place at the leadership table.

Since 1985, Alvernia University's Leadership Berks Program has been
inviting people to the leadership table through its mission: to develop,
support and connect leaders - for life. One of 3,400 community
leadership programs nationally, the program boasts more than 850
alumni representing all walks of life, and over 175 service learning
consulting projects for area nonprofit and community organizations.
For up to 35 individuals annually from September-June, Leadership
Berks' unique 9-month leadership model, provides best practices
in organizational leadership - both for-profit and not-for-profit
- as well as board governance, greater sensitivities for inclusion
of diverse populations and viewpoints, and an intimate familiarity
about the community's assets, challenges, and issues. Including site
visits, tours and learning sessions held at locations throughout the
community, the program is designed to engage and empower each
individual to develop deep relationships among peers from different
socio-economic backgrounds and cultures, an introduction to a broad
network of over 75 influential leaders and content experts, and a
comprehensive, issues-based and physical orientation to Greater
14 Women2Women Winter 2018

Reading and Berks County. Moreover the program provides a platform
by which participants are invited, encouraged, and guided to put
their leadership, community issues, and governance education into
practice by assuming project and class leadership roles, and upon
completion, make meaningful, volunteer leadership commitments
to serve area nonprofit and community organizations. Throughout
their learning experience, individuals are provided the opportunity
for personal reflection regarding their perceptions about themselves
and their community, how they have grown personally and professionally, and the ways in which their efforts have had an impact in
all aspects of their lives.
For sponsors and employers, the program develops individuals
who are prepared to return to work with increased organizational,
leadership, and problem solving skills as well as an expanded network
of professional contacts and relationships with key leaders. These
competencies serve to enhance workplace projects and initiatives
through an enhanced ability to make better-informed decisions and
lead and manage more effectively.
For not-for-profit organizations and the community at large, the
program provides capacity-building through the completion of
volunteer service learning consulting projects valued at $6-$10,000,
and a pool of highly qualified, and well-informed volunteer leaders



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Women2Women - Winter 2018

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