Tag Archives: Leadership

Jackson Fellows Reaching More Young Leaders

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.

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Panelists, from left to right: Michelle Frix, Tamara Power-Drutis, Laura Stewart, and Jaime Hawk (2016 Jackson Fellows).

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.

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Linda Mason Wilgis (Foundation vice president) — front row, fourth from left —served as one of Jaime Hawk’s mentors in the Fellows program. She is shown with participants in the Leadership Institute.

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.”

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

Leadership Lessons from a Community Innovator

Shot with DxO ONEThe 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.

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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.”

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

Inspiring Young Leaders

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.”

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2016 Fellows with Anna Marie Laurence, Secretary of the Board, and John Hempelmann, President, in front of the Jackson bust in Everett, Washington outside the Jackson home.

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.

Lara Iglitzin

Executive Director

 

 

Leadership at its best

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.

King County Council Chair Larry Phillips
King County Council Chair Larry Phillips

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.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

 

Inspirational Leadership

In an effort to showcase remarkable and effective leaders in all fields of our society, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation established the Jackson-Van Ness Lectures on Leadership series in 2009.  The latest lecture, featuring Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, commanding general of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State, was inspirational and motivating for the packed crowd at the University of Washington.  The lecture hall was filled with young people in uniform, the midshipmen and women of the University’s ROTC, as well as with other students, members of the community, and representatives from all of the armed forces.

GeneralLanzaJohnedited_047John Hempelmann, Foundation President, introduced the general by explaining that  “the Foundation believes deeply in the power of excellence in leadership.  That is why the Jackson-Van Ness Lectures on Leadership are a special occasion for us, linking and honoring two men who exemplify public service leadership.”  He provided some background on the Jackson-Van Ness series.  “Bill Van Ness was the quintessential staff person for Senator Jackson, embodying quiet integrity, exemplary skills and intellect, and an extraordinary ability to envision and craft policy recommendations that helped Senator Jackson achieve major legislative victories.”

Lt. General Stephen Lanza

General Lanza, who has been described by the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, as “a tested warrior, a proven leader, and an effective, tenacious commander,” is known for his dedication to his corps of soldiers.  Lanza described the challenges facing military leaders: they make decisions involving conflict within a high-velocity environment.  In order to be effective, military leaders must be able to adapt to change and unpredictable situations, such as the recent terror attacks in Paris, or the Ebola epidemic, or Ukraine-Russian fighting.  A true leader will be empowered, engaged and accountable, while anticipating that his or her mission will change in dramatic and unpredictable ways, Lanza emphasized.

General Lanza shared that the military is a valued-based organization.  “I can’t recruit leaders from a head-hunter,” he said.  “We have to build it from within.”  That requires developing trust, character, competence and commitment.  In answering a question regarding the balance between competence and character that Lanza referenced, the general stressed that competence can be taught, but character was essential in ensuring that the men and women of our nation’s military are able to respond effectively in the field as well as at home.

We are pleased to share with you an audio recording of Gen. Lanza’s presentation and we will have a publication printed in the next few months.  In the interim, we would also like to highlight two articles about the event; one, from the University of Washington Daily, and the other, from NorthWestMilitary.com news.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director