But For Leadership Florida…

Leadership Florida builds statewide community.

We spent the weekend at the annual meeting of Leadership Florida in Orlando.
We’ve attended every annual meeting since I graduated from the program 15 years ago.
Its a mental boost that comes at a time of the year when I’m looking for a reboot.
Leadership Florida is a statewide program that gathers, trains, educates and then nurtures leaders from all walks of life. There are programs for emerging leaders ages 25-40, educators, executives, elected officials and a general class program that always includes a wide mix of people from all parts of our state.
It’s extremely competitive to get in the program and members tend to become very invested and loyal to the organization.
Why?
Because Leadership Florida is transformational and the annual meetings are fun and educational.
We’ve hosted some amazing minds through the years: Tom Brokaw, Colin Powell, Ken Burns, Geoffrey Canada, Jon Meacham and more.
This year we heard from conservative icon Arthur C. Brooks, former U. S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, early childhood advocate and retired journalist Dave Lawrence Jr., “Homeless to Harvard” author Liz Murray, best-selling author Brad Meltzer, social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, Chief Disney Veterinarian Mark Penning and provocative demographer Ken Gronbach.
As usual, the takeaways were powerful.
Secretary Duncan outlined five national goals for education to consider: the U.S should lead the world in access to Pre-K (currently we hover between 28th and 30th), raise the high school graduation rate to 90 percent; commit that 100 percent of our high school graduates are ready for university classes. We currently spend $9 billion a year on remedial education; raise college completion rates and commit to retrain every worker whose job becomes obsolete.

Mr. Stevenson, whose life is soon to become a movie (and who has an HBO documentary debuting this week)  urged us to get “proximate” to the people in our communities who need us most. Proximity allows us to better understand the issues, strengths and challenges in our communities. Who can argue with that?

Mr. Meltzer talked about heroes and urged us to thank the heroes in our lives, sharing special stories about President George H. W. Bush and his 9th grade teacher Mrs. Spicer who said three words to Brad that changed his life: “you can write. “
And Ms. Murray, whose life was a Lifetime movie, told us how her experiences on the streets forged her character and made her strong.
Powerful stuff.
These kinds of weekends inspire and fuel us as citizens, volunteers and leaders in our communities.
These special people push us to think, read, study and ultimately act.
If you are a leader, I urge you to apply to one of Leadership Florida’s programs. The experience is a game changer and it’s a gift that keeps giving. Because each year, we get to gather with now more than 1,000 leaders from all over this great state and learn from each other and from our guest speakers.
We come back restored, energized and committed to make our part of Florida a better place.
Visit http://www.leadershipflorida.org for more information.

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