"This was, by far, the best professional development I have attended in 15 years as an educator. . . .An informative and exciting journey into leadership development. . . . For that kind of cohesion to take place nearly instantly among 40 attendees and two instructors from so many different cultures and backgrounds in such a short amount of time is something truly remarkable and unforgettable. . . . Over the past several months, I have tried to employ the skillful discussion model, with my colleagues and with my elementary age students. A great part of my vocation is to respond to students and faculty members' needs. Skillful discussion moves beyond exchange of knowledge to working together to develop and implement solutions or complete a project. I hope I have worked better at listening to students and teachers as a result and responded more efficiently to their needs." "The dynamics of this particular group were so extraordinary, I feel like when I "see" them [on social media] it's like connecting with an old friend. Several participants have shared links and ideas related to leadership and librarianship through the Facebook group. . . . It was truly an exchange of ideas rather than knowledge being dumped into the brain. The short term results of the institute were a renewed feeling of self-confidence and dedication to serving students in the library. . . .I would tell the next institute class to buckle their seat belts and prepare for a ride! Seriously, I would encourage participants to talk to everyone there, exchange phone numbers, stay late at the dinner table and be mentally present through the entire week." -Jennifer L. Anders, West Jefferson Elementary School, Quinton, AL (read more)
“The ALA Leading to the Future Leadership Institute is an excellent chance to get to meet and learn from other emerging library leaders in an immersive learning environment. I appreciated the knowledge, expertise and advice provided by the Institute leaders - Kathryn and Maureen - in addition to their willingness to learn from us. The positive, interactive and engaging environment of the Institute makes it an ideal place for librarians, from public to academic, to learn from their colleagues, peers and even their own self-reflection. Highly recommended to librarians throughout Canada and the US!”--Terra Plato, Manager: Branch Services, Lethbridge Public Library, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
“The ALA Leadership Institute was an excellent professional development program for me with a new library manager lens. The curriculum was very relevant to my current and future work; it was time well spent. The facilitators were extremely knowledgeable about leadership in libraries and were deft in leading discussions. I learned a great deal from my fellow participants that came from all types of libraries. The passion that they brought to libraries was invigorating and inspiring. On a personal level, I committed to continuing my leadership learning, focusing on how to coach and mentor library staff. I also felt more equipped to obtain and succeed in a permanent library dean position. I highly recommend applying for this immersive leadership institute to other future library leaders.”—Pearl Ly, Interim Assistant Dean, Library Services, Pasadena City College
“It was my hope that the ALA Leadership Institute would be a highly interactive professional experience where I could explore and hone my current leadership skills; while learning new or additional techniques of leadership behavior and theories in a supportive, creative and innovative library-orientated environment. The Institute met and far exceeded my expectations.
It was a think tank of 40 professional librarians who were as passionate as I am about their careers, clientele and purpose. It was an empowering learning experience that left me committed to applying what I learned. The Institute helped me to identify my personal strengths and allowed me to examine my areas of needed growth as a leader, while also allowing me to help the other 39 individual do the same in a collective body through examination of theories, methodologies and individual case studies.
Additionally, I have always tried to be an effective and efficient leader that cares and empowers those whom I supervise or work with to be the best that they can be in whatever tasks or duties that are needed. I have always been comfortable with interactions with the public and staff. I am also comfortable with delegation, evaluation, scheduling, applying ethical standards and behavior. As a result of the Institute, I am incorporating what I learned by applying the leadership models and competencies studied and enhanced, such as crucial conversations and sphere of influences, in my daily work activities, duties and related tasks. I am also further augmenting and developing the learned professional ideologies with additional professional literature, such as the Harvard Business Review, and visual learning through various means, such as TED Talks and professional development webinars on management and leadership.
The ALA Leadership Institute was the best professional development training that I have ever participated in 27 years of working in a professional setting. It has and will continue to guide me in my career in librarianship.”--Rayburne "Ray" J. Turner, Assistant Branch Manager/Reference Services Manager, Otranto Road Regional Branch-Charleston County Public Library, North Charleston, SC
“When I got back to work from the ALA Leading to the Future Leadership Institute in August 2013, I couldn’t stop talking to everyone who would listen about what an inspiring and life-changing time the week at the Institute was for me. Of course we learned about various leadership principles, development and how to engage our staff and communities, but the thing I found unexpected was how much I learned about myself in the process. To truly be a leader with impact, you first have to turn inward and examine what you are doing and how that is being received by those around you to truly make positive change. The Institute gave me tools to do this self-analysis and I already see the effects of these discoveries in the work that I do with those around me.
Due to my exposure of the concepts covered in the Institute, I was appointed to a Public Innovation Team with a few of my colleagues and we have been tasked with taking what we have learning about how to engage both staff and community to lead special projects, especially embracing the ALA Harwood Institute principles to turn outward and ask what our communities want from us. I have also been mentoring several members of our staff on the concepts we covered at Institute so they can pay forward this knowledge to those working with and around them as well.
Overall, the Leading to the Future Leadership Institute was such an amazing experience for me. Maureen Sullivan and Kathryn Deiss were such knowledgeable and engaged facilitators and continue to be open to working with us on any issues or questions that arise. I also met and developed relationships with 39 librarians from across the country full of energy, talent and vision. After being around this amazing group, I definitely feel good about the future of our profession with up and coming leaders like these. Thank you so much for this incredible opportunity!”—Nikki Winslow, Spring Valley Library Branch Manager, Las Vegas, NV
“The institute reinforced my belief that leadership is about building relationships. Through these relationships we can interact with others – whether in the workplace or in the community -- to provide them with the resources that can help change their lives and their communities. As a public librarian, my focus is on what our library can do to encourage informed citizens to build strong communities that they will want to continue to live, grow and serve in in the future. The institute gave me direct learning tools to take back to my workplace and make an impact. These tools came not only from the Leadership Guides but from the small group interactions that occurred at the institute.
The Leadership path is a journey. I found strength in the larger fellowship discussions at the institute – that no matter the focus of that particular person’s library profession – academic, public, school, special – the leadership skills needed were the same. This idea – that all leaders share the same skill set, no matter the professional focus – was a strength I took away from the institute. I have developed more confidence in myself and feel more comfortable inside my “leader skin” since attending the institute. Many thanks for this wonderful experience.”—Robin R. Clark, Library Director, Sump Memorial Library, Papillion, NE
Additional comments from Leadership Institute participants:
- The ALA Leadership Institute really helped me to understand and learn the concept of intentional leadership.
- The mixture of librarians representing various libraries provided thoughtful engagement.
- Identifying my own personal vision statement separate from my organization's vision statement has helped solidify my values as a professional librarian. Since the training at this institute, I feel a stronger sense of purpose and renewed focus in serving as a library branch supervisor.
- I was pleasantly surprised at the way the group connected in such a short period of time and by the richness of the conversations.
- This is the best Institute on the topic of leadership that I have ever attended! I left with practical tools that I can use immediately. The participants were some of the best thinkers in the profession. I learned a great deal from their rich experiences.
- I left with a wealth of information and resources that I will refer to for years to come.
- I found working on case studies with the other participants to be extraordinarily helpful.
- There was a good mix of talking, listening, working a problem. Then we had great conversations over breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- I enjoyed the mix of individual, paired, and small group discussions/activities. It accommodated a variety of learning styles.
- Maureen and Kathryn worked extremely well together and displayed a wealth of knowledge. They were both attentive to individuals and group process. They adapted to the flow of conversation and interests while still getting us through the materials.
Participants were asked in their evaluations to highlight the "best thing" about the Institute. Responses included:
- Connecting with other colleagues knowing that we all faced similar quandaries.
- Building a network of colleagues through formal, in-session discussions and in-formal conversations.
- The interactivity and networking; getting to know colleagues and hearing their experiences and perspectives.
- Professionalism and pacing of the program to meet the needs of the group.
- How I could use what I learned right away.
- Learning from faculty and peers in an isolated setting away from day to day allowed me to focus on content.
- Exploring the case studies with the table groups in the context of the principles we had previously learned. Very good real-world application to solidify the concepts.
- The opportunity to network with peers who face similar challenges.
- I foresee using several of the strategies, ideas and techniques in my daily practice.
- This program has helped me think much more deeply about my own leadership challenges and desires.