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 jobs, but nothing looked that exciting. She wanted something different. She needed hands-on leadership and learning all at the same time.
So, long story short, in 2013, Brooke and her former professor (Robin) left their nine-to-fives to start a business. Ouila, LeadLocal! LeadLocal’s first years were dedicated to Leading for Good, a semester-long leadership program for college-age students. The Leading for Good apprentice program allowed young people to learn innovation and leadership strategies while completing a project for a local organization. The twist…the program included a mentorship component that provided participants with a project mentor who was a local professional. In exchange for mentoring a team of college-age students, the young professional participated in LeadLocal’s Leadership C-Suite.
Leading for Good allowed LeadLocal to connect with 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.
While technology continues to drive market shifts and we move deeper into a network economy, “business as usual” just doesn’t exist anymore. Long standing industrial models and institutional practices are becoming out-dated and institutional trust is eroding (think big banks, Volkswagen, Wikileaks). Institutions find themselves managing with fewer and fewer resources, struggling to adapt. In communities, where public institutions (schools, libraries, and museums) are the only real access to educational opportunities, these institutional challenges impact everyone–especially the most vulnerable. 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 people in our community can get the good stuff?
Our answer: pivot our practice and share what we’ve learned about leading change. Change itself isn’t a bad thing, but it can be scary. And fear can lead to inaction or wrong action. We humans are creatures of habit. If things aren’t working, we double-down on the same behaviors and thought patterns that got us into trouble in the first place. When it comes to change and growth, everyone needs a little help. So, in July 2016 we accepted our last cohort of Leading for Good apprentices at LeadLocal. A year later, Brooke got hitched and moved on to adventures outside LeadLocal.
Since then we have focused on working with schools, libraries, museums and other orgs in the learning ecosystem. It took almost five years, but LeadLocal found its calling. LeadLocal is a think, learn, and DO tank that provides classes, workshops and other learning opportunities to support local leadership and systems change.
With a mission focused on relevant, authentic learning and leadership development, LeadLocal works with educators, libraries, and cultural institutions to expand possibilities. We offer our tricks and tools for growth (authentic learning, innovation, and leadership) that help reveal the intrapreneurial potential of individuals and organizations that seek to adapt with the times.
LeadLocal’s hands-on, innovative approach emerged from years of teaching and working alongside clients and partners to imagine regenerative solutions. LeadLocal draws inspiration and tools from the classroom, design thinking, lean startup, and participatory research. Our favorite (and most successful) projects are those we co-create with our clients and their stakeholders, because tapping into local funds of knowledge uncovers situated and culturally-relevant solutions that can take root and grow.