Leveling the Playing Field by Giving Back

Leveling the Playing Field by Giving Back

Notes from the Field

Incredible energy is created when a diverse group of nonprofit leaders come together to engage in The Leadership Challenge®! They learn from each other and discover their commonalities. And perhaps one of the best take-aways is when they find resources in each other, as participants share the mission of each of their organizations. Such was the case when 20 leaders from 13 different nonprofits in the Cincinnati area recently came together for a Masters Give Back offering of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop.

As participants explored The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® and dove deep into the results of their LPI® reports, it was clear that The Leadership Challenge continues to liberate the leader in everyone. One participant, for example, shared that when she came into the workshop she didn’t think of herself as a leader. But as she read through her LPI report and shared the insight she was gathering with others at her table, the light bulb went off that illuminated her leadership attributes. She stated, “I didn’t know I had leadership qualities until I completed the LPI. I just thought I was a worker bee.” While another leader called The Leadership Challenge “work-life enhancing.”

The inspiring participants in this program are community leaders who are:
  • Providing hope to those with mental illness 
  • Creating a safe haven for women 
  • Liberating seniors to live life outside of nursing home institutions 
  • Teaching young members of the Girl Scouts lifelong leadership 
  • Bridging the gap between food waste and hunger by converting 6,000 pounds of perishable food weekly into meals 
  • Caring for young children who are disabled and giving them hope and job opportunities 
  • Transporting seniors, providing meals and advocating for seniors 
  • Allowing the blind and visually impaired to live independently 
  • Increasing the success of young parents and those who have been incarcerated 
Some of the participants represented agencies that have been in existence since 1873, while others were only recently formed within the last three to four years. This difference in years of service made no difference to participants as they engaged in meaningful discussions about leadership and how to continue to make a difference in the community. They found the workshop to be a “great opportunity to get to know the leader within.” And it is my belief that it is this “leader within” that will continue to lead others to greatness.

It is always a good day when leaders leave one of my workshops saying, “My leadership skills have been challenged, and I feel that I will be able to move forward with ideas and actions for positive change.” Thanks to Wiley for continuing to provide a mechanism to level the playing field and giving all leaders access to development. I can’t imagine what our world would be like if these agencies did not exist, and if we didn’t have exemplary leaders to lead them.


Valarie Willis
, one of the original Certified Masters of The Leadership Challenge® and the LPI®, is principal of Valarie Willis Consulting, in Loveland, OH where she focuses on strategic management consulting. An accomplished speaker, facilitator, consultant, and executive coach who has worked with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, associations and nonprofits, Valarie can be reached at val@valariewillisconsulting.com.

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