March 2nd was Leadership Impact Day for the Executive Leadership Program (ELP). Students in the program do significant community service projects as part of the Leadership for a Just and Humane World course they take. Working in teams, students join with community partners to correct a social injustice in a sustainable way.
The projects are a distinctive part of the ELP and, in turn, the Leadership EMBA and the Health Leadership EMBA programs since students in those programs also participate in the ELP. The projects have significant impact because our students use their considerable talents and influence to address the social injustice they take on. The students typically have 15-20 years of work experience and significant managerial responsibility in their organizations. The groups also work with other organizations focusing on the same societal challenge, thereby leveraging their own efforts.
I had the opportunity to attend the presentations for three of this year's six projects.
"Computer Moms," designed by Aaron Posey, Mark Seidl, and Irene Sacristan Sanchez, joined with a community center to set up computer literacy classes for immigrant women who in some cases could not speak English. Several of the women were able to attend the presentations, and their willingness to attend on a Friday morning shows their appreciation for the training!
"Project Oasis," developed by Chris Jonsson, Gregory Kavounas, Tim Onders, Kumil Turczanski, and Tess Wilkins, also partnered with a community center, to provide access to affordable and healthy food. They worked with a group of Hispanic women, and again some could not speak English, to provide information on healthy and affordable foods and to organize a buying group to stretch their purchasing power. Several other partner organizations were mobilized, including some food industry firms.
"E3: End Elderly Exploitation," was a project to raise awareness about the financial exploitation of the elderly, with a "Did You Hear About Margaret?" campaign. It includes billboards, radio ads, brochures, and posters. The group partnered with Crime Stoppers and a number of law enforcement agencies. The group designing the program included Richard Arriola, Kim Baldwin, Jeff Hoevet, and Pete Segall. One of the partner agencies was the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, and Sheriff Paul Pastor attended the presentation, along with Sgt. Ed Troyer. They were excited about the opportunity to partner on the project, and reminded the audience that a previous ELP group had partnered with them on a project raising awareness around physical abuse of the elderly.
In each case, our students identified an important societal challenge to address. They designed a sound response to the problem, and identified organizations in the community to partner with. The result was a sustainable solution. That is the IMPACT in Leadership Impact Day!