Public colloquium on leadership and politics marks launch of new school at ASU


February 23, 2017

Academic scholars from prestigious universities, a former senator and a political analyst, among others, will discuss leadership and politics after election 2016 for the launch of Arizona State University’s new school.

On Friday, March 3, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership will host a public colloquium, “Leadership and Politics in America After Election 2016,” to mark its launch. The school will empower scholars to develop and advance elevated discourse regarding the fundamental questions of life, freedom, politics and public service. The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership launch image The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership will host a public colloquium to mark its launch. Download Full Image

Panelists will discuss the significance to particular patterns and results of the 2016 national elections, public policy and the common good in the early years of a Trump administration, and the traditional concern that republics or democracies tend toward self-destruction in factiousness or even civil war.

“This colloquium is the first of many school events that will feature prominent experts and diverse views about crucial questions of American politics and society, as well as international affairs,” said Paul Carrese, director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. “By restoring a curriculum of great debates about politics, economics and the big moral questions, ASU is innovating and building a foundation for students to become public servants and leaders in civil society.”

The colloquium will exemplify the new school’s themes of understanding the principles of America’s civic culture, political and economic order, and higher ideals of political leadership and statesmanship.

Delving into the great works of political thought, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership will elicit vigorous debate in politics and civil society while developing statesmen and stateswomen for 21st century leadership and public service. In fall 2017, the school will offer its first courses toward a Bachelor of Arts degree or minor in Great Ideas and Leadership.

Find the complete event listing at the ASU Events site here.

Panelists include: Morris Fiorina, Stanford University and the Hoover Institution; Daniel Kessler, Stanford University and the Hoover Institution; William Kristol, The Weekly Standard; Jon Kyl, former U.S. Senator from Arizona; Harvey Mansfield, Harvard University and the Hoover Institution; Susan Shell, Boston College; Catherine Zuckert, University of Notre Dame; and Michael Zuckert, University of Notre Dame. 

Amanda Stoneman

Science Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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Thunderbird and the American Express Leadership Academy: Plumbing solutions for developing countries


February 23, 2017

Editor's Note: From May 8-13, 2016, Thunderbird and American Express hosted their annual American Express Leadership Academy at Thunderbird’s Glendale, Arizona main campus. The 30 program participants from 10 different non-profit/non-governmental organizations represented 6 different countries: Kenya, Malawi, Palestine, People’s Republic of China, Uganda and the United States. Forty percent of the participants were from outside the U.S.

Thunderbird’s annual program, launched in 2009 through a partnership with American Express, has now served over 200 managers from nearly 70 organizations. Its goal is to help emerging leaders become more effective leaders for further impact on the NGO’s goals and missions. 2016 American Express Leadership Academy at Thunderbird 2016 participants of the American Express Leadership Academy at Thunderbird Download Full Image

“One of the philanthropic goals of American Express is to focus on the development of social sector leaders,” said Thunderbird professor Mary Teagarden, the academy’s academic director. “These participants are on their way to positions of senior leadership.”

This is the second in a series of articles highlighting how three organizations from the 2016 academy experienced its value and impact. Read part one here

Individual participants aren’t the only ones gaining from the Leadership Academy. Indeed, the companies they work for and managers they work with are also seeing the benefits of participation.

Citizens in developed countries often do not give a second thought about their indoor plumbing, until it stops working. But imagine living in a country where even a basic toilet is considered a luxury and the norm is a plastic bag that is tossed aside when done.

Sanergy, based in Nairobi, Kenya, is out to change that by helping entrepreneurs bring sanitary toilets to remote locations lacking any facilities. Sanergy’s Fresh Life toilet initiative provides a turn-key solution for the entrepreneurial business owner, from toilet facility fabrication and installation, to business services and marketing assistance to generate demand. In addition to entrepreneurs, Sanergy sells to multi-unit landlords, creating an upsell opportunity to potential residents and schools. 

These small-scale, concrete, high-quality, permanent toilet structures offer business owners and residents sanitary facilities on a pay-per-use basis. Pay-per-use is common in Kenya, even though most available facilities are either pit or open toilets common to the less-developed areas of the country. About 40,000 people currently access Sanergy’s network of over 900 toilets.

As a growing non-profit, Sanergy knew it needed to increase its ability to train and support new managers and had this as an organizational priority. So, when a previous participant nominated Sanergy to the American Express Leadership Academy at Thunderbird, the company jumped at the opportunity.

Lindsay Stradley, one of Sanergy’s co-founders, said selecting the participants wasn’t an easy task.

“[It was] hard to choose because you want everyone to have this type of opportunity,” she said. Ultimately, Sanergy founders nominated managers Sarah Atieno, Eric Muchira and Dennis Koome to take part in the academy. “They are each in leadership positions, but are young and without much experience or formal leadership training. They had huge potential, and we wanted to help realize this potential.”

At the academy, Atieno, Muchira and Koome worked on creating a training and support plan for new managers, something Sanergy is focused on as a company priority. 

“We wanted to push them to be inclusive leaders, in order to be open to their team members and to inspire these same team members,” Stradley said.

Since returning from the academy, each has taken on new roles in supporting managers by holding monthly manager discussion breakfasts, planning quarterly off-site strategy days and helping define leadership within the organization. The result has been better morale and comradery among the managers. 

“Part of what Sarah, Eric and Dennis valued [about the academy experience] was the sense of a cohort and building connections with other inspiring young leaders. In many ways, their experience has helped us replicate this within our diverse workforce,” Stradley said. “At one of the recent breakfasts, we focused on a specific tool [managers] can use with employees...in this instance, career conversations…and how and why these conversations are important to their teams.”

So, was the experience and benefit worth participating in?

“One-hundred percent, without a doubt,” she said. “The American Express Leadership Academy has been life-changing for them in how they relate with their coworkers and direct reports. For example, many of Eric’s team members have only a high school education and are manual laborers. Prior to Eric’s attendance at the Leadership Academy, many of his team were intimidated to give any feedback. But after applying what he learned, Eric now solicits feedback in a way where his team sees he is really listening and is invested in their feedback.” 

Due to their success with the academy, Stradley reports they’ve already recommended the academy to another non-profit organization.

“It’s hard to overestimate the value of what they were exposed to and how they were inspired by the cohort they worked with. A lot of the work they’ve done [since returning] and the way they’ve approached it and the success they have had can be tied back to what they learned,” she said. “And we’re all better for it.”

Read more about Thunderbird's American Express Leadership Academy

Manager, marketing and communications, Thunderbird School of Global Management


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