Emerging Leaders Founding Director Honored as Program Celebrates 10 Years
October 17, 2011
For ten years, UMass Boston’s Center for Collaborative Leadership has worked to identify and develop new leaders for the Greater Boston area through its Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).
In those 10 years, more than 400 young professionals from more than 150 nonprofit, government, and private sector organizations have participated in a week long seminar, monthly forums with leaders in the community, and civic engagement team projects. Those projects have covered such issues as corporate social responsibility, poverty and homelessness, and discussions about race.
More than half of the fellows have been promoted or moved to a new job since completing the Emerging Leaders Program. The center is also achieving its goals of enhancing leadership skills and increasing knowledge of civic issues: 40 percent of those surveyed in 2011 reported being on a nonprofit board, with 60.9 percent of those not currently serving on a board expressing interest in joining one.
“I’m very proud of the program,” says Sherry Penney, ELP's founding director. “I think it’s made a really important contribution to the city and the region. The center stands for the concept of collaborative leadership–that we work better as a team than as single heroes and single stars.”
Jodi Wolin, director of development for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and a 2006 ELP graduate, says her professional and personal networks have expanded tremendously since her participation in the program.
“I have an exciting position at a new organization and am successfully applying my leadership skills to this role,” Wolin says. “I am also grateful for the many dear friends I've made through ELP and the alumni network.”
Former participants and business leaders will celebrate the Emerging Leaders Program's tenth anniversary at a gala at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on November 5.
Penney will be honored alongside New York Stock Exchange Chair and former State Street CEO Marshall Carter and State Street Executive Vice President George Russell, Jr. (State Street provided an initial grant of $250,000 in 2000 to help launch the program. Program fees pay for the program today.)
For each class of 40 to 50 participants, the Emerging Leaders Program aims to have a group as diverse as Boston’s population. In the first 10 years of the program, 40 percent of fellows were people of color and 55 percent were female. Sixty-two percent of participants have come from the private sector while twenty-five percent have come from nonprofits and thirteen percent have come from government agencies.
“We’ve created a pool of leaders for the future of Boston which is much more diverse—leaders for the corporate world, nonprofits, and boards of directors,” Penney says.
That is why the Boston Business Journal is honoring Penney with a lifetime achievement award at its second annual Leaders in Diversity Awards event on October 21 at the Westin Copley Hotel.
“It makes me feel good,” Penney says about receiving the award. “UMass Boston has a very strong commitment to diversity. I was attracted by that. When I became chancellor [in 1988], we had an African American Institute. We added the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, the Institute for Asian American Studies, and the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy moved from Boston College. We became a doctoral-granting institution. We as an institution were helping change the pool of applicants.”
Penney served as chancellor from 1988 to 2000 and director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership from 2000 until 2007. She currently serves as an internal mentor to many of the fellows in the ELP, and holds the Sherry H. Penney Endowed Professorship in Leadership in the College of Management.
As for what the future holds, Penney says the Center for Collaborative Leadership is working with its Board of Advisors on a strategic plan. She would like to add an international component to the ELP, with international participants or trips to locations such as China. She would also like to see the program use webinars to reach out to a larger group of people.
The gala for the Emerging Leaders Program will take place at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library on November 5. The cocktail reception and silent auction begin at 6 p.m., with dinner and the program following at 7. Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation, is the keynote speaker. Call 617.287.3890, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.leaders.umb.edu for information. The RSVP deadline is October 21.