Brooke took a class that changed her life.
It was a management communication class where the professor incorporated experiential learning through community consulting projects. Having a voice, completing a school project that had the potential for real impact (Brooke wrote a grant for Big Brothers, Big Sisters), made a difference in how she related to her work, herself, and her community. Brooke’s grant wasn’t awarded–welcome to the real world, but her eyes were opened.
Fast-forward a few years, Brooke has graduated and stayed in Tucson working at a community hospital. Her experience completing a community project had pulled her off campus and into the community where she developed relationships that helped her put down roots. Most of her classmates left town (Tucson has real brain drain). But like many Millennials, Brooke wanted more. She took every leadership opportunity that came her way, considered getting her MBA, searched out of state for new positions, but nothing looked that exciting. She wanted more. Something different. She wanted hands-on leadership and learning all at the same time.
Yes, Brooke is a little dreamy, but that’s vision–the ability to imagine more and DO more.
So, long story short, in 2013, Brooke convinced her former professor (Robin) to leave her position at UA and start a business–the opportunity Brooke imagined. Ouila, LeadLocal! LeadLocal’s first few years were dedicated to Leading for Good, a semester-long leadership program for college-age students. Leading for Good brought on apprentices to learn innovation and leadership strategies while completing a project for a local business. The twist…the program added a mentorship component that provided the apprentices with a project mentor who was a young professional in the community. In exchange for mentoring a team of college-age students, the young professional participated in LeadLocal’s Leadership C-Suite. Leading for Good allowed Brooke and Robin to meet amazing young people and help community organizations and small businesses. The program opened doors to work with teachers and schools in the K-12 system, libraries, and other cultural institutions–and it was here that we recognized a larger need.
As we move deeper into a network economy, business as usual just doesn’t exist. Institutional trust is eroding (big banks, Volkswagon, Wikileaks, you get the picture). It makes sense, but, frighteningly, Everyday Joe’s access to knowledge, power and education are tied to some of these institutions. As public trust erodes, these institutions find themselves with fewer and fewer resources — think public schools, libraries, museums. The writing is on the wall.
Change isn’t a bad thing, but it can be scary and that fear can lead to inaction or wrong action. We humans are creatures of habit. Too often when things don’t work, we double-down on the same actions and thought patterns that got us into the mess in the first place. When it comes to change and growth, everyone needs a little help. So, we asked ourselves:
How can we help people in organizations lead change from where they are?
How can we support smart growth within institutions so all people in our community get the good stuff?
Our answer, pivot our practice and share what we’ve learned through experience. We accepted our last cohort of Leading for Good apprentices in July 2016, and since then have been focusing on supporting more broad scale change working with school, libraries, museums and other organizations in the learning ecosystem. We are sharing all of the practices we’ve used here at LeadLocal and in Robin’s 25+ years of teaching. We are offering our tricks and tools for authentic learning, innovation, and leadership through trainings and retreats that help reveal the intrapreneurial potential of individuals and organizations that seek to grow and change with the times.
It took us almost four years, but LeadLocal found its calling. We are a think, learn, and DO tank that provides training and professional learning opportunities to make a positive impact. With a mission focused on learning and leadership, we have extensive experience in developing students, educators, non-profit leaders, and corporate employers.
Our hands-on, innovative methods were developed through our work building successful programs and providing sustainable solutions that support local schools, businesses and the 21st century workforce. Both locally and nationally, we’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of organizations including Starbucks, Maine State Library, Sunnyside Unified School District, Tucson Unified School District, Nogales Community Development, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Pima County Joint Technical Education District, IBM, and Macerich Properties, among others.
While life pre-LeadLocal sometimes seems like a dream, the truth is we both accrued extensive business consulting and organizational development experience before jumping into this adventure. That experience (plus Robin’s years of teaching, training, and coaching—from Pre-K to Executive MBA) creates our foundation of knowledge and expertise that we are excited to share to help catalyze growth for individuals, teams and organizations that make the world a better place.