We are excited to announce the new class of the Jackson Leadership Fellows Program — our second — an initiative at the heart of the Foundation’s work. The Fellows Program is intended to provide a small cohort of young professional leaders in the Puget Sound region with training, mentoring, and networking to build their skills. The program is values-based: it is founded on the principles that anchored Senator Jackson and that we believe translate to a younger generation. Their enthusiastic, community-oriented, and passionate outlook invigorates all of us. And we intend to keep them connected to the Jackson Foundation and the Jackson legacy. We know you will be excited to learn more about who they are and how they will contribute to our region – and our nation – in the years ahead.
The 2017 class is diverse in so many ways, with Fellows drawn from the government, non-profit, academic, philanthropic, and business sectors. We are certain the variety of viewpoints represented will help generate new ideas and new ways of solving problems. The Fellows range in age from young 20’s to 40. They share an enthusiasm for their careers: this year’s class is engaged in natural resources management, climate, and renewable energy as well as rule of law, human rights, political communication, racial equity, and civil discourse. It is that tremendous commitment to success – coupled with a desire to give back to the community – that has already made them stand out.
We hope to contribute to the continued development of these exceptional young leaders. We will keep you informed on the work they are doing together and individually in the spirit and tradition of Senator Henry M. Jackson.
Talk about inspirational! I had the chance to sit in on part of the Center for Women and Democracy’s Leadership Institute, an annual short course for dynamic young leaders – all professional women from the region – that the Center conducts. The participants are impressive: they range from graduate students in engineering or international studies to human rights activists, global health experts and philanthropic sector analysts. I was fortunate to speak briefly to the group about Senator Jackson because one of our own Jackson Leadership Fellows, Jaime Hawk, is a long-time board member of the Center and chose the Leadership Institute as the place to concentrate her individual project time for the Fellowship.
Using the Foundation’s Nature of Leadership publication, which focuses on the enduring Jackson values that we believe are widely applicable for new generations of leaders, Jaime pulled together a panel for the community engagement part of the Institute’s curriculum. The panel, “Leadership for the Public Good,” featured Jaime in a conversation with a few of her compatriots from the Jackson Leadership Fellows program – Tamara Powers-Drutis, Laura Stewart, and Michelle Frix. All four Fellows have been working together to become more effective and successful leaders, and they discussed the influences on them – many pointing to their mothers as key – and the mentors and inspirations they have drawn upon. Framing the discussion around what motivated these successful women in their own lives and careers, Jaime elicited the passion that drives each of them on a daily basis. They shared reflections on their journey, how and why they chose public service, and the turning points that shaped their careers.
As Jaime put it, working in the public sector is more about “finding the kind of job where I can be passionate about what I do – for my 60 hours a week!” Tamara agreed, saying that she also thought about “where are gaps that her passions can fill” in the sector as she pondered her own career path. Laura captivated the audience with her personal story of activism from her earliest days as a child in Swaziland, where she was drawn to environmental justice because of inequities around her, disproportionately hurting her community. Michele, now Chief of Staff at the Seattle Foundation, spoke of her own journey, emphasizing her personal decision to “go deeper” into a field – rather than be a generalist – and her immersion in Latin America studies at the Jackson School as a vital first step on that road.
One of Jaime’s mentors for the program, Foundation vice president Linda Mason Wilgis, attended the panel discussion and was equally moved at the honesty and heartfelt remarks by the Fellows. “It was a privilege to hear [the Jackson Fellows] share with other young leaders their passions and what has inspired them to make a difference in the world and in their local communities. I continue to be amazed at the depth and breadth of their experience and intellect at such a young age.”
As part of the Jackson Fellows program, the Foundation was fortunate recently to host a discussion with the Fellows and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on leadership. The Attorney General is a valued member of the Foundation’s Honorary Council of Advisors. Ferguson, whose parents deeply admired Senator Jackson and instilled Jackson values in their son, made time for a one-on-one dialogue with the Fellows.
In a thought-provoking, memorable session, Ferguson couched his lessons of leadership in terms of his former hobby of chess, a sport he dedicated himself to for several formative years before embracing the law and politics as a career. “If you lose, you have no one to blame but yourself,” he began. “You were outplayed. You made a mistake. Take responsibility for your actions,” he advised. Mistakes will happen: what is important is taking ownership of them and being accountable to others. He also suggested analyzing one’s losses carefully. “The path to improvement is a careful scrutiny of the games that you have lost,” he stressed.
Continuing the chess analogy, Ferguson told the young Fellows to “imagine a position in the future and think of the possible moves to get there.” It is important to take calculated risks, he said. “As a leader, you should be willing to go to that position and accept the consequences.”
Turning to leadership and team-building, Ferguson believes that: “Your team watches you closely. If you have a leadership role, they are watching you.” This engenders in him a sense of responsibility and the importance of modeling ethical behavior. “You set the tone,” he reminded the group. “True leadership also means true listening,” he counseled.
The Fellows peppered Ferguson for advice and input that stems from their own professional dilemmas. When faced with complex situations, Ferguson told them: “Be true to yourself. Don’t compromise.”
The Fellows deeply appreciated the opportunity to engage with a leader like Attorney General Ferguson.
I had the privilege this week of attending the first screening of a remarkable film made by two young people, Laura Stewart and Julian Kane. Laura is one of our Jackson Leadership Fellows, and the film was her project for the Fellowship. Julian is a graduate student at Antioch University. The film, “Our Story: Climate Justice and Environmental Justice,” showcased over twenty people from our community here in Puget Sound, voices that are not often heard in the debate and discourse on climate and the environment. Laura’s intent in creating the film was to bring to the front of the table those communities disproportionately impacted by climate. She interviewed leaders and activists at environmental, labor, and educational organizations who collectively raised the climate justice flag and conveyed a deep sense of urgency. Laura and Julian were both brimming with enthusiasm and pride – as they should be – for the film that they created, for the stories they illuminated, for the discussion that their work engendered. “We are two young people of color, and we just did it,” Laura proclaimed.
The film is inspiring, in part because it is made by and gives a megaphone to many young people, often people of color, finding allies in their efforts to save the planet from climate warming. It is also a call to action for all of us who want to see communities of color empowered. Short interviews in the film include Running Grass, from the Three Circles Center, Jourdan Imani Keith, from the Urban Wilderness Project, Aiko Schaefer with Front and Centered (Communities of Color for Climate Justice), and Sudha Nandagopal, from the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment.
Roger-Mark De Souza, an expert on democracy, environmental security, climate and international development, and a frequent Jackson Foundation partner through his role at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., moderated a lively and thoughtful discussion with those present. “What side of history do you want to be on?” one of the participants asked the film audience. “We have an obligation to chart a cleaner future” for ourselves and our children, another argued. The film also stimulated a broader dialogue about privilege, elites, and diversity. Audience members felt the film should be seen widely, and Laura agrees. She is urging people to share it on social media and take ownership of it so it can be viewed as much as possible. There is also talk of a lesson plan, as early viewers felt that the film speaks in an accessible manner for young students.
We are proud of our Jackson Fellow Laura Stewart – she has made a film that will get people talking, and acting, on climate justice. Congratulations!
The Jackson Leadership Fellows 2016 Class was fortunate to have an informal discussion with long-time Seattle community leader, Martha Choe, last week. Martha has held a remarkable and diverse list of jobs– from serving on the Seattle City Council, where she chaired the Transportation Committee and the Finance Committee – to her role as Chief Administrative Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her career also encompassed the private banking sector and a position as Director of the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development in Governor Gary Locke’s cabinet. Our Fellows were eager to hear her thoughts about her approach to leadership and what she’s learned from her many challenges along the road of her career.
Martha made a few key points to the Fellows: first, she said “It’s not about you.” She explained: “You need to create the ownership of ideas among your team members, and know how and when to get in front of an idea, and when to let others shine.” Second, she stressed the importance of candor and vulnerability, noting that it was okay to admit “I don’t know” and indicate that you will start asking the right questions to find out the answers. Listen to your audience, she counseled, and face up to your weaknesses. “Vulnerability can convey empowerment.” She also spoke about the need and often “the courage to make unpopular decisions.” This is part of a good leader’s responsibility, she reminded the Fellows.
Over the course of her career in different sectors of our community, Martha said she came to realize that “leadership involves people, not just org charts and boxes.” Gaining an understanding of the needs of the people around you – and whom you are managing– will make you a better leader.
She also emphasized one of the key Jackson leadership attributes – the importance of doing your homework. “Learn, listen and understand different perspectives.” She predicted: “You will need vision and reality for the hard and lonely work of leadership.”
In response to a question about the different leadership challenges facing the public and private sector, Martha underlined the integral role of consensus building in achieving results. She concluded with a powerful message to these young leaders in the making – “if you take risks, you will sometimes fail.”
This week marks 20 years for me at the helm of the Jackson Foundation. I’m proud and honored to have served as Executive Director for two decades. During my tenure, I’ve had the good fortune to work with my dedicated Board members and great staff on any number of meaningful activities.
My personal highlight reel includes a 1995 Jerusalem conference celebrating the ground-breaking Jackson-Vanik Amendment — which helped over a million Soviet Jews emigrate from the USSR. That conference attracted hundreds of Soviet Jewish emigres now living in Israel as well as a host of Israeli and American politicians, including the late Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin, who was assassinated only months later. Since I wrote my Master’s thesis on Senator Jackson’s legislation and the story behind it, that conference had tremendous significance for me. The famous Jewish dissident from the Soviet era, Natan Sharansky, worked closely with us on the conference, and our Chairman, Helen Jackson, joined us in Jerusalem. It was unforgettable.
I’ve also reflected on the role that the Foundation has played to strengthen the Jackson School at the University of Washington. Dozens of policy conferences, graduate fellowships, the Jackson Professorship, the Golub Chair, lecture series, the new PhD program, the Helen Jackson Chair in Human Rights – we’ve helped usher in key changes at the Jackson School. As a graduate of the School, it has meant a lot to me to help the University do what it does best: provide first-class education to young people, in this case our future leaders in international policy. It has been a richly rewarding relationship, one that makes me highly value the intellectual depth of the faculty at the Jackson School.
We started supporting human rights in Russia over 20 years ago – after the break-up of the Soviet Union. In the more than two decades since, we’ve watched the ups and downs of civil society in Russia with alarm, and our grant making and programs have changed dramatically in response to events. That’s a sadness to remark upon, given the downward trend in rights under Putin’s Russia. We are still raising our voice on that front, however! Last year we brought a group of civil society leaders from Russia to Seattle and Washington, DC under a grant from the U.S. State Department. This trip was inspirational for the delegation and continues to provide encouragement and ideas for these dedicated individuals back in Russia today.
Lately we have two new programs which have galvanized the Board and staff: the first is helping to lend our resources and intellectual fire-power to the climate change world, focusing particularly on the national and global security implications for the U.S. around climate. The Jackson name lends credence and balance to discussions on this critical issue. We are helping to leverage our work by highlighting the military viewpoint and bringing other foundations to the table. This is a new area for me and it has been wonderful to be challenged to learn more about the climate field.
Second, we have launched an initiative to train a new generation of Jackson-inspired young people, with the launch of the Jackson Leadership Fellows Program. It’s been invigorating to choose and begin to mentor the eight outstanding young professionals who comprise our first class here in Seattle. I’ve been energized by my interactions with each of them and feel it is one of the most exciting initiatives that the Foundation has embarked upon.
It’s easy for me to think of the extended Jackson community as a family – one that includes our Board members, past and present, as well as former and current staff members of the Foundation, and “Scoop’s Troops” – those who worked with Jackson on his own staff or on one of his committee staff positions. It also comprises our many partners and grantees over the years, at the Jackson School, the National Bureau of Asian Research, the Kennan Institute, City Club Seattle, and countless other colleagues. It’s an engaging group and one that has a remarkable cohesion because of the respect for Senator Jackson that unites everyone. It has made this a great place to work.
One thing I’ve learned at the Foundation over the course of the last twenty years– while the specific programs may change, the work in international affairs, environment and energy, human rights and public service still are highly relevant in today’s world.
I look forward to working together with all of you to carry on the Jackson legacy. I hope you’ll get in touch.
Our culture celebrates our sports heroes – from Michael Jordan to Derek Jeter to Kobe Bryant. We marvel at their ability to play on, through pain and years, achieving fame and success. Few of us have had the opportunity to publicly celebrate the careers of other, less famous giants in their fields. I’m delighted to cast the spotlight on one such unsung hero, Professor Kenneth B. Pyle, longtime historian and teacher at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies. Ken – retiring after 51 consecutive years of teaching, which certainly qualifies him for MVP – has won numerous teaching awards over the years. Equally important, he’s touched the lives and shaped the scholarship of thousands of young minds at the University. His students speak of him fondly, whether they now serve in the State Department or teach at other universities around the nation.
I’ve had the good fortune to have had Dr. Pyle on the Jackson Foundation Board of Governors during my tenure on the staff. He was a founding member of our Board, having forged a close alliance with Senator Jackson in the days when Ken headed what was to become the Jackson School, and Jackson sought Ken out for advice on China and U.S. foreign policy toward Asia. Ken has spoken movingly of that seminal relationship, which began with Senator Jackson dropping by Ken’s office at the U.W. and peppering him with questions for two hours. Jackson and Pyle shared a concern that there was a national shortage of people who truly understood the workings of Asian and Slavic countries, and both believed that an immersion in the study of these areas was critical to achieve an understanding in U.S.-China and U.S.-Soviet relations. From that moment forward, Scoop and Ken collaborated – in enhancing international studies at the University, in traveling to China together in the early days of détente with China, and in mentoring young students.
We at the Jackson Foundation value the role that Professor Pyle has played at the Jackson School and at the University of Washington for the past 50-plus years. We were delighted to name a recent professorship at the Jackson School in American foreign policy in honor of Anne H. H. and Kenneth B. Pyle out of respect and recognition of Ken’s major achievements in his field and his leadership of the Jackson School, and of his wife Anne’s integral partnership with Ken in that success.At the end of this month, there will be a public program to celebrate the career of Ken Pyle. We invite you to join us for this substantive program, featuring distinguished professor T.J. Pempel, University of California Berkeley, and many top-level colleagues from the Jackson School.
Many of you have heard by now of the Foundation’s exciting new initiative – a young leadership program called the Henry M. Jackson Leadership Fellows. We’ve just launched the inaugural class of this 9-month program, which will include leadership training, mentoring, networking, and substantive work on individual projects.
As we showcased in an earlier message, the class is outstanding. The word “inspiring” may sometimes be overused – but in this case I can honestly say that interviewing the 35 fellowship candidates filled me with hope for a time when our civic life will again ring with bipartisan discourse and engaged, active citizens. As one of the Foundation’s Vice Presidents, Craig Gannett, put it in welcoming remarks to the Fellows, “listening to all of you gives me optimism for the future.”
While we eventually chose only eight fellows, a few bright spots came through during the interview process. First, the candidates showed a tremendous interest in leadership – in all its facets – and a strong desire to learn the skills and attributes of great leaders. Second, they hunger to engage outside of work spheres and to connect more deeply with new colleagues and novel ideas. Third, these young professionals want to involve diverse aspects of our community into their work – both professionally and in their volunteer pursuits. Finally – and perhaps most heartening – they believe that Senator Jackson’s life and achievements can speak to this next generation. While many of the candidates did not previously know of Senator Jackson, they came to the interviews inspired by what they had read about him, especially in The Nature of Leadership book that we make available on our website.
The Foundation embarked on its new Fellowship program in part to reach out to the next generation and inculcate them with the Jackson values. The year has just begun – and yet it is already clear that those values – and the man behind them – remain relevant today.
We hope you will join us at some of the many events this year in which the Fellows will be involved.
The Jackson Foundation and the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute jointly sponsored a timely conference last week in Washington, D.C., focused on sanctions as a tool of American foreign policy: Do they work? Why are some sanctions more effective than others? When do they fail? What are the unintended consequences of sanctions policies? The conference brought some rigor to often politicized discussions about sanctions. Speakers assessed sanctions from a historical perspective in an effort to determine what has been effective and why. Panelists then explored current-day dilemmas facing Congress and the Executive Branch – specifically, Iran, Russia, and Cuba.
A few themes emerged. One, voiced by Ambassador Daniel Fried, Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the U.S. Department of State in his keynote address and echoed by others throughout the day, is that multilateral sanctions offer the most effective policy. Working together in coordination with other nations is the best recipe for success – with U.N. Security Council sanctions as the “gold star” of sanctions policy. When the U.S. and Europe joined together to sanction Russia for its Ukraine aggression, for example, that policy had a better chance of hitting the desired target. Least effective, on the other hand, are unilateral sanctions – think U.S. sanctions on Cuba.
Second, sanctions historically don’t work well when aimed at regime change or at an authoritarian government. Those sanctions tend to spur a popular backlash in the country being sanctioned. On a panel I moderated that took a historical look at sanctions, Daniel Drezner of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University called this “rallying around the flag.” And Ted Henken, of Baruch College, CUNY, a specialist on Cuba, quoted Raul Castro to this effect, “The more you punch us and kick us, mas revolucion,” he said. “Instead of promoting human rights and weakening the government, sanctions on Cuba have done the opposite,” Henken concluded.
Finally, the conference explored the popularity today of so-called “smart sanctions,” which target financial services as well as specific industries and individuals closely tied with the sanctioned government. According to Ambassador Fried, “Sanctions should hit where they have the right balance of impact: hit the target of sanctions, not us and our friends.” Richard Perle of the American Enterprise Institute and a Jackson Foundation Board member said that “smart sanctions are possible in a way they never could be before” and argued that “they had undoubtedly driven the Iranians to the negotiating table.”
As John Hempelmann, Foundation president, said in his opening remarks, “the issue of sanctions holds special resonance for the Jackson Foundation, given the historic Jackson-Vanik Amendment. That legislation provided a new approach to foreign policy that explicitly linked America’s human rights ideals with economic relations through targeted sanctions on the USSR.” It also gave the sanctioned party a very clear path of what it could do to get sanctions lifted. Forty years later, we heard that sanctions with a very clear policy goal – and incentives to get them removed – will be the most likely to succeed.
Following the event the Wilson Center conducted interviews with some of the panelists on their perspectives on sanctions. View them here.
Larry Phillips, the chair of the Metropolitan King County Council here in Washington State, announced his intention not to seek reelection in Fall 2015. Larry, a board member of the Jackson Foundation, has shown outstanding leadership in our region. His role as an exemplary public official should be acknowledged.
For two decades Larry has been active in transportation, clean energy and jobs creation, providing a reasoned, informed and highly competent voice for our community. Always energetic and passionate about issues, Larry has been an important leader in conserving the natural resources of the Puget Sound that we all value.
We at the Jackson Foundation have been fortunate to have Larry associated with us as well. Two years ago Larry approached the Board with the idea of exploring the connection between climate change and national security threats, an emerging issue. Given the Jackson legacy in both environmental resource management and national security, this was a natural fit for us, and with Larry’s involvement, we have pursued this topic seriously. In June 2014 we partnered with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on a high-level symposium, “The Intersection of National Security and Climate Change,” which brought together 40 leaders from federal agencies, state and local governments, NGOs, business, and academia. Our report was widely disseminated. This past February we joined with the Center for Naval Analyses and its Military Advisory Board for an in-depth briefing to ensure that the military voice is being heard in the climate change and national security discussion and to advance the political process in the U.S. Later this spring we will convene other foundations nationally to inform them on the security implications of climate change. Larry was deeply engaged in these programs.
We know that Larry will remain active as a leader in our region, but we will miss his voice in his official capacity as chair of the Metropolitan King County Council.