32   Regional affaiRs           DETROITER June/July 2009                                                                  ...
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2009 Detroiter Magazine Writing Sample


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An article I drafted on behalf of the Detroit Regional Chamber\'s Leadership Detroit program. The article appears in the Detroiter Magazine

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2009 Detroiter Magazine Writing Sample

  1. 1. 32 Regional affaiRs DETROITER June/July 2009 DETROITER June/July 2009 Regional affaiRs 33 Leadership Detroit sessions, like the fall ropes course, offer unique experiences Leadership Detroit’s Mission in team building and “The experience I had with Leadership risk taking. Photo by Detroit was very positive, but at the same Kathryn Stevenson time very sobering,” says Benjamin Jeffers, a 37-year-old attorney with the Detroit- based law firm Dykema. “Participating in the program provided a glimpse into the To provide the foundation for a lifelong commit- Recruitment Committee Chair depth of talent in the region as well as a ment to leadership by creating awareness of key Ms. Nicole Y. Lamb Hale, LD XX revealing look at the passion people have issues that affect the Detroit region and to chal- Managing Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP for Detroit.” lenge emerging and existing community leaders XXX Nominating Committee to bring about positive change in the community and Immediate Past Chair Generation According to Ostach, a resident of through informed leadership. Mr. Robert G. Riney, LD XIX Royal Oak, his biggest take away from About The Leadership Detroit Program Executive Vice President & COO, Henry Ford the program was the ability to have a Approximately 65 individuals annually participate Health System conversation and break down the myths in Leadership Detroit, representing a cross section The Leadership development component of the or negative perceptions about the region. of the community, including business, organized LD’S 30TH CLASS shares a common goal of growing individually as leaders By Larry Jones Others leave the program with an even labor, government, education, media, civic groups, program is derived from research of Kouzes and Posner, authors of The Leadership Development health services and community organizations. T more profound sense of purpose. Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things hey come from backgrounds as associate vice president of educational Mark Ostach, a 27 year-old vice president The program gives emerging and existing leaders Done in Organizations and includes: diverse professionally as they are outreach and internal programs for Wayne of operations at the technology company “We all know what the problems are,” the forum for fostering discussion and sparking ethnically. They share a common State University adds, “There is hope Digerati adds, “It was almost like moving states Belton. “But by participating in problem-solving while providing new views on Inspiring a Shared Vision this program, I came away with a sense how we can lead the region to success. This Every organization and every social movement goal of growing individually that collectively we can work toward into the freshman dorm for the first time priceless experience also provides the opportunity begins with a dream. That dream is the force as leaders within their communities addressing some of the issues that affect in college. By doing the team building of knowing that I can be apart of the to enhance and share knowledge, network with that invents the future. Leaders communicate and workplace. They all would like see the region.” exercise first, it allowed us to build solution.” over 1,800 LD alumni and the foundation to impact their passion and make a compelling case for Detroit rebound economically and have camaraderie from the onset.” change in our communities. Graduates of the program will be looked others to join. The leader enlists others in a that recovery be the springboard to For the past three decades the chamber Over the course of the 10 month program, from common vision by appealing to their values, strengthening the region. For as goes has been churning out leaders in But working collectively has not been up to become effective leaders. When September – May, participants will have the interests, hopes and dreams. Detroit, so goes Michigan. business, politics and social activism via something the region is known for doing. asked about the qualities possessed by opportunity to become an active participant into its Leadership Detroit program. Nicole This group of leaders would like to see good leaders the consensus of those Southeast Michigan’s major issues. Leader- Challenging the Process They are the 2009 class of LDXXX. And Lamb-Hale, the Obama Administration’s that practice changed as they begin to interviewed agreed that self awareness, ship Detroit’s curriculum is designed around Leaders are pioneers. They step out into the no, LDXXX is not the new Vin Diesel new deputy general consul for the U.S. apply what they have gained from the fearlessness, honesty and the ability to the regional priorities adopted by OneD. The unknown. Leaders challenge the process by action movie sequel, but rather a group Department of Commerce (LD class of program. resolve problems were hallmark attributes. priorities include economic prosperity, educational searching out opportunities to change, grow, preparedness, regional transit, race relations and innovate and improve. This practice asks partici- of seasoned professionals, and up and 1999); Tony Snow, the former press “It’s difficult to move forward if everyone “Effective leaders posses the ability to quality of life. pants to examine their own leadership style and comers, who have participated in an secretary under President George W. Bush clearly communicate a well-defined how they challenge the status quo. intense, introspective and informative (LD class of 1985); Mary Kramer, Crain’s isn’t moving in the same direction,” offers The Leadership Detroit trustees play an integral 10-month program to groom the region’s Detroit Business publisher (LD class of Dotson Peabody, a resident of Grosse vision,” says Ostach. role in program planning and development. Below Modeling the Way next generation of leaders. LDXXX or 1990); and current Michigan Governor, Pointe. “But I do think that the direction are the committee chairs: Leaders go first. They set the example. They we are currently taking is a “Good leaders also need to always ask the model the way through personal example and Leadership Detroit 30 Trustee Chair (as in the 30th class to “There is nothing currently available that is comparable positive one.” question what’s next?” offers Jeffers, a Mr. David O. Egner, LD XIX dedicated execution. Leaders’ actions are far resident of Plymouth. “And they definitely more important than their words and they must complete the program), to the experience you get from participating in the have to be able to produce tangible President & CEO be consistent with them. Leaders who model represents one of the “Real change is going to take Hudson-Webber Foundation Leadership Detroit program” - Benjamin Jeffers, LD XXX some time and right now results.” the way are able to promote consistent progress more reflective and Program Chair and build commitment within their organization enthusiastic classes in we are on precipice,” says Ms. Michele A. Samuels, LD XXIII In all, everyone agreed that the nearly and community. recent years. Jennifer Granholm (LD class of 1998) were Belton, a native Detroiter. “The challenge Vice President, General Auditor and Corporate this region faces is right before us and we year-long program was well worth it, Compliance Enabling Others to Act all beneficiaries from participating in the and that they would indeed recommend Each year, a diverse group of applicants program. can not afford to wait to do something.” Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Leaders know that success is not achieved participating to friends and colleagues. alone. They encourage collaboration and em- are granted entry into the Detroit Regional Networking Chair Chamber’s leadership “boot camp” in So how did this year’s collective of Farmington resident Dr. Ezzeddine adds, Mr. Douglas Brown, LD XXVI power others. Leaders inspire others to believe “It is very important that we coalesce and “There is nothing currently available Director of Development they can make a difference. These leaders know hopes of producing the next batch of professionals, representing an array of that is comparable to the experience you work towards a common goal.” ASTI Environmental the importance of “we” and that teamwork and visionaries to move Detroit and by communities and ideas launch their quest get from participating in the Leadership collaboration are essential to success. relationship the state, into the future. to becoming better leaders? The answer is Marketing/Communications Chair Participants from this year’s class Detroit program,” says Jeffers. Ms. Renee Prewitt, LD XXVI simple: they went camping. Encouraging the Heart “If I could do one thing with the found their way together as a result of President, Prewitt Group Strategic Communications Leaders celebrate accomplishments and recog- different paths. Some were nominated by Belton, who describes herself as a human knowledge I’ve gained through Leadership “One of the key aspects of the program Selection Committee Chair nize others as vital members of the team. Lead- employers, others referred by colleagues “Leadership Detroit billboard,” adds, “This ers must encourage the emotional commitment Detroit, it would be to make a positive was how it began,” says Cara Belton, a Ms. Laura L. Rodwan, LD XXIV and business associates and the remainder program breaks the mold.” of their followers to the cause. This practice difference,” says Paige Dotson Peabody, 44-year-old vice president at Rodwan Principal, Rodwan Communications LLC the 41-year-old CEO of Esquire Properties. Communications. “Starting the team drawn by the appeal from word-of-mouth. teaches leaders to recognize individual contribu- Larry Jones is a freelance public relations tions to the success of every project. building at the beginning was vital But all claim to have benefited for the strategist and writer. Echoing the sentiment, fellow classmate because it set the course for our time better from the experience. Dr. Ahmad Ezzeddine, a 40-year-old together during the next 10 months.”