Leadership Eastside (LE) is a two-year leadership program for community members that live, work and/or volunteer on the Eastside. The organizations mission is to promote connections, develop and enrich leaders, and be a catalyst for communities to address important issues and meet the challenges of a diverse and dynamic region.
Every year LE asks the Eastside community to nominate candidates for the program with experience in leadership gained through their work or volunteering experience and passion for their community. Candidates go through a screening process and class members are selected to represent the diversity of the community. In the first year, the class participates in regularly scheduled Leader Days, learning the principles and practices of Adaptive Leadership. In year two, participants advance to Learning Laboratories and devote time and passion in teams to create and implement a project that benefits a need in the community.
Imagine Housing is privileged to have members of their team participate in Leadership Eastside’s two-year Leadership Enrichment Program. Earlier this year Ann Levine, Executive Director, and Eric Dow, Imagine Housing’s Board of Directors, graduated from the program. Suzanne Koval, the Director of Assets, and Jeff Churchill, the Vice President of the Board of Directors, will be graduating this spring. Molly Statham, Resident Support Supervisor and Sara Cox, Operations Coordinator are finishing their first year of the program.
Class members gain a powerful set of leadership skills during their participation in the Leadership Enrichment program. The unique environment brings together leaders from the community, government, for profit, and nonprofit sectors to teach Adaptive Leadership, a framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. The class learns to be able to individually and collectively take on the gradual and meaningful process of adaptation to bring about a real change to present circumstances.
After practicing these skills in our personal and professional lives, classes work in cohorts to implement change at a community level. Some of the many projects have addressed issues around homeless, youth mental health, early childhood reading, youth job preparation, and basic needs. Imagine Housing is fortunate that in all of these and most other projects directly benefit the communities we are serving. For example, Imagine Housing’s Board of Director Vice President, Jeff Churchill’s cohort has focused on Kindergarten readiness. Their campaign is built around understanding what level of awareness exists around Kindergarten readiness and its importance. They have developed a partnership with Eastside Pathways, a non-profit that mobilizes the community to support children cradle to career. The campaign has created and implemented a survey to distribute across the Eastside to get a better understanding of the community’s belief on the importance of Kindergarten readiness. This directly relates to Imagine Housing’s Supportive Services focus on Early Childhood programming and gives us a foundation to work from when implementing our programming.
One of the more powerful skills gained from the LE experience is the partnerships developed through networking. Jeni Craswell, Imagine Housing’s Director of Philanthropy, happens to be the President of the Board of Directors for Leadership Eastside. It was through LE that she was first introduced to Imagine Housing through networking with Ann during her first year in the program. Imagine Housing was also fortunate to welcome Eric Dow to the Board of Directors through the same outlet.
Networking has introduced and strengthened Imagine Housings relationships with other non-profits and businesses. It has provided us the opportunity to develop new relationships with non-profits, government and the for-profit sector to better serve the needs of our residents. It has been a great outlet for the Eastside to learn about the organization and its mission. Recently, a Red Vines Board Member, Quiana Ross, represented Imagine Housing on a panel discussing the basic needs of the Eastside to the Leadership Eastside audience. She highlighted the work of Imagine Housing as well as the needs of the Eastside, providing a great perspective for everyone in the room. Red Vines is its own separate non-profit organization by Imagine Housing. It owns and operates Andrew’s Glen and Andrew’s Arms.
We are lucky to be able to partner with such a great Eastside resource as we work to not only provide service supported affordable housing to the Eastside, but to also be able to shape the leaders of the community. Through networking and relationship building, we are able to spread the word not only of our work, but also of the needs that exist on the Eastside. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Leadership Eastside and working, together, to build a stronger Eastside.
~Molly Statham, Resident Support Supervisor at Andrew’s Glen