2014 ESR Leadership Conference

2014 ESR Leadership Conference
Leading as Servants in the Manner of Friends
August 15-17

“Servant leadership” is a term that resonates with many persons, but upon inspection it means different things to different people. Is it a blend of humility with competence? Is it a heart for the whole rather than unthrottled egocentric ambition? Could it be modeling one’s leadership after the example of Jesus? Or is it a strategy by which the group insists upon the submission of those who lead them?

Advocates of servant leadership have developed clusters of characteristics that give shape to a general understanding of the term. Their work opens constructive avenues for conversation during this conference as Friends consider what servant leadership is, how it can be constructively practiced, and what Light Friends may bring to bear on the topic.

Keynote Speakers:

Alan Kolp: Servant Leadership: Spirituality Charged Change Agent

The calling of the effective twenty-first century leader is to be a change agent. Status quo and “business as usual” modes of leadership signal the death knell for any institution---profit or non-profit. Effective leaders generally will be innovative leaders. Servant-leadership, as a particular form of leadership, resonates with Quaker spirit, especially as Robert Greenleaf experienced and expressed it. The servant-leader is a spiritually charged change agent. As Quakers understand it, a servant-leader is a spiritual leader. Hence, leader is given a charism, along with the charge to lead change. As a spiritually charged change agent, the servant-leader is a transformational leader.

A number of characteristics of the servant-leader can be noted that help in identifying, equipping and encouraging the development of Quaker leaders for the job of being twenty-first century change agents. Servant-leadership is moral leadership. It is leadership that is virtue-based, which is always foundational. The servant-leader enables the creation of a vision and crafts a strategy to facilitate the envisioned change and growth. Servant-leaders know how to marshal and exercise the power necessary to lead change. Servant-leaders have the requisite humility to share the success and the courage to shoulder shortcomings.

Bio: Currently Alan holds the Baldwin Wallace University Chair in Faith & Life and is Professor of Religion. He also has been Pastoral Leader at First Friends Meeting, Richmond, IN and was Dean of ESR and Professor of Historical and Spiritual Studies. Alan teamed with business colleague, Peter Rea, to author two books. They also founded the Center for Innovation and Growth to inspire students to develop innovative skills and mindset. They work globally within the business community to develop innovative leaders who can lead change to make a better, peaceful world. Alan also writes a daily inspirational blog.

Ann Riggs: Serving through Leadership in the Manner of Friends

Using historical and contemporary Quaker resources, we will explore the tasks of a servant leader focusing on three areas: building empathic community with all the diverse stakeholders of an organization, grasping the wider and long-term implications of both actions and inactions, and leading from a base of experience. Using insights from John Woolman, we will look at building insightful connections with all involved as a central leadership task. Using nineteenth century leaders among Friends as role models for learning what Greenleaf calls leadership foresight, we will examine the long-term consequences and implications of taking institutional action or not taking institutional action.  Finally, looking at selected writings about the spiritual experiences of early Friends, we will consider how the substantive changes made recently at Friends Theological College in Kenya occurred by making small changes to the experiences people were having there.

Bio: Ann Riggs has led Friends Theological College, Kaimosi, in Western Kenya from 2009 as Field Staff for Friends United Meeting. She is returning to the United States at the end of the 2013-14 academic year and joining the faculty of Loyola University of Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies. She has served on the Christian and Interfaith Relations Committee of Friends General Conference for many years, was Director of the Faith and Order Commission and Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA 2002-2007and is currently a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. 


Max Carter

Nurturing Leadership:  Not an Art or Science, but Faithful Listening
Guilford College's Quaker Leadership Scholars Program has nurtured many of the creative and energetic young adult leaders currently serving among Friends, yet there is no particular curriculum of leadership studies in QLSP.  Much of the leadership development comes out of an intentional copying of how old Quaker culture used to produce leaders:  modeling, ministering, experiencing, worshiping, and, of course, committee-ing!  In this workshop, we will explore the dynamics of the QLSP program and consider the example of several of the young whippersnappers who have come out of it not only doing well, but doing good.

Gabe Ehri

Leading Organizational Change
No organization can succeed forever without changing. Leading and managing an organization during times of profound change is challenging, no doubt, but it can be deeply rewarding. This workshop will explore how Quaker principles can help guide leaders in assessing the risks and opportunities present in times of great change. Gabriel Ehri will share from his experience helping a mature, Quaker organization re-envision itself for a new era in communication through partnership building, seeking unity, personnel development, and experimentation. The workshop will also explore whether “Lean Startup” methods can help established organizations make the changes necessary to thrive in their next phase of life. Participants will have the opportunity to share their own challenges in facing change—past, present, and future—and discuss approaches rooted both in Quakerism and professional expertise that benefit their organizations.

Matt Hisrich

Service and Leadership Among Friends: An Inter-generational Dialogue
ESR partnered this year with Quaker Leadership programs at George Fox University and Earlham, Guilford, Haverford, and Wilmington Colleges to host a College Quaker Leadership Conference prior to this weekend’s Leadership Conference. Join with participants from these colleges as they explore what leading as servants in the manner of Friends looks like for them.

Thom Jeavons

Management as Ministry
Talking about what organizations need to be successful, people often make a dramatic distinction between “leadership” and “management.”  In the common view, leadership is the jazzy stuff, the dynamic function where creativity comes into play to generate success.  Management then is the poor stepchild, uninteresting tasks required to support a quest to fulfill a mission.  In religious organizations, “ministry” is seen as the work of sharing the message, providing service, or creating social change, but “management” is usually seen as dull business needed to make ministry possible.

Now, if we believe in the idea of leaders as servants – and vice versa – it is time to reconsider this pejorative view of “management.”  Maybe managing the IT and maintaining the books, keeping up the property, and (even) raising the money, can be forms of ministry as well.

Paul views “administration” as a ministry for which one might have a gift (1 Cor. 12:28).  In this workshop we will explore a vision of ministry and the work of management that sees “leadership” around incarnating values as central to both.  We will then consider how that vision translates into specific behaviors connected to the tasks that fit under various functions of management.

Gayle Keller McJunkin

Fundraising for our Valued Organizations: A necessary evil or a life-giving ministry that expands the life of the giver and the asker?
Our most important organizations are rooted in our communities, enrich our lives, serve our families and the strangers among us, and are expressions of our values and deeply held commitments. These organizations rely on the philanthropic support of generous individuals and the fundraisers who ask for that support. This session will examine the key aspects of successful fundraising, provide practical advice on how to engage donors in ways that build their commitment to and invite them to become investors in our programs. Based on our gifts for ministry and our role as either fundraiser or donor, the workshop will also have opportunities for discussion and small group work on how asking for gifts and making contributions can invigorate and deepen the spiritual lives of the fundraisers and the donors. 

Jay Roberts

Adaptive, Appreciative, and Holacratic: Quaker Leadership for the 21st Century
Paradigms of leadership in organizational theory have gone through substantial change in the last several decades. Much of this change is quite congruent with what Quakers have practiced and preached in terms of governance, ethical decision-making, and organizational dynamics. Yet there has been little connection between these two worlds—the world of contemporary leadership and organizational theory and the world of Quaker ethos and theology. In this session, we will explore three emerging leadership and organizational paradigms and see what they might have in common with Quaker thought and practice. We will also explore, collaboratively, what we, as Quaker practitioners and scholars, might learn from contemporary leadership and organizational theory. Finally, we will endeavor to co-create new understandings of Quaker leadership for the 21st century—born from our roots but branching out to new horizons. 

Colin Saxton

Foresight as Faithfulness: Developing clarity of vision and integrity to move into an emerging future
In the midst of overwhelming change, anxiety, and opportunity, faithful leaders must develop the foresight needed to imagine and articulate the intended future for the communities and organizations they serve.  Anything short, Robert Greenleaf suggested, is “an ethical failure.”

Beyond the ability to see clearly, however, leaders are also expected to act with clarity—making sure their choices and actions align with the guiding vision being shared and pursued. Without such personal integrity, the ability to see the future becomes rather meaningless. Join this discussion around ways can we cultivate the gift of foresight and develop the needed integrity to walk faithfully and lead others into the future. 

The Spirit of Volunteerism
Servant Style Leadership within Organizations

Event schedule and registration form to come.

Contact Mandy Ford, ESR Director of External Relations at fordma@earlham.edu for more information.


Event Date: 
08/15/2014 (All day) - 08/17/2014 (All day)