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Somerville Starts 'Leadership Academy' to Train 20 Community Leaders

It will be the first city in the nation to offer "adaptive leadership" training to residents, according to an announcement from the city.

The city of Somerville is launching something called the Somerville Academy for Innovative Leadership, or SAIL, in an effort to train 20 community members in "adaptive leadership," according to an announcement from the city.

The announcement says the one-month course will make Somerville "the first municipality in the nation to offer adaptive leadership training to residents."

Hugh O'Doherty of the Cambridge Leadership Associates, a lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, will lead the course, the announcement says.

O'Doherty, originally from Northern Ireland, has, among other things, worked with the Northern Ireland Mediation Network and has addressed the United Nations Global Forum on Re-Inventing Government, according to his online biography. The announcement says he has taught leadership at a number of schools and is an expert in conflict resolution. 

According to the Cambridge Leadership Associate's website, "Adaptive Leadership"—trademarked—"is a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. It is being able, both individually and collectively, to take on the gradual but meaningful process of adaptation. It is about diagnosing the essential from the expendable and bringing about a real challenge to the status quo."

The announcement from the city says it's "an approach that looks for the root cause of issues and involves all stakeholders in problem solving."

The city will choose 20 people to take the course, either residents or employees of Somerville non-profits, who all have "a demonstrated interest in community engagement and leadership," according to the announcement.

In return, it asks that each student spend 30 hours giving back through community engagement.

The class runs from March 31 to May 4, and it involves two long Saturdays, with class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in addition to four consecutive Thursday evenings, with class from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Classes will be held at Tufts.

Those interested in applying should visit surveymonkey.com/s/SomervilleLeadership or contact Meghann Ackerman at (617) 625-6600 ext. 2120 or resistat@somervillema.gov.

Joe Beckmann February 27, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Is the city paying for this, or is it a result of the beneficence of the Kennedy School and, perhaps, the Mayor's participation in Kennedy School "innovations?" What city departments are involved? Ideally DPW where they may find some insight into why they should clear streets from snow.
Maria February 28, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Sounds to me like a good way for the city to train people in their way of thinking. The city indoctrinates you, so that you can go out and work for the 'community' (i.e., city), and you'll tow the party line. I would also like to know who is paying for such nonsense while taxes, fees, etc., are all going up. And where are the Aldermen? Why do we always find out about such things when they are starting? Don't the Aldermen have any input in such things?

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