One of my favorite aspects about the Humanics program is the community involvement. For tonight’s SOC 187 class we had the opportunity to hear from a panel of six different executive directors in our community. Dr. Simmons opened up the discussion by asking the panel what the difference was between managing and leading. The executive directors gave valuable insight and advice for CBO leadership and I love how Kelly Lilles (executive director for Catholic Charities) encouraged us to “be humble leaders and let others shine.” I thought this was leadership gold! She encouraged us to make a point to ask for input, and to get the right people in the right place, which can only get done by getting to know the team your leading.

Another piece of advice that was valuable to me was from Chris Collins (executive director to West African Vocational School). He explained that different programs get implemented to carry out a CBO’s mission, and how leadership is set up to manage the programs, most importantly Chris encouraged us to make the mission the focus every day. Lastly, Dr. Kent Karsevar (executive director of Ronald McDonald House) encouraged us that bottom up leadership works better than top down, and great leaders make people part of the process.

Tonight’s panel was more than just a class, but more importantly it was valuable learning experience to hear from different executive directors on leadership and management.