2014 ESR Quaker Leadership Confe

Leading as Servants in the Manner of Friends

August 15-17, 2014

“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.

Now offering online registration and payment! Click below to be taken to the registration form:

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

Keynote Speakers:

Alan Kolp: Servant Leadership: Spirituality Charged Change Agent (VIDEO)

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 (VIDEO)

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.

Bio: Max L. Carter is the director of Friends Center and Campus Ministry Coordinator at Guilford College.  A graduate of ESR (M.Min '75), he was nurtured in the Russiaville, Indiana Friends community, attended Ball State University, and performed alternative service during the Vietnam War as a teacher in the Ramallah Friends Schools.  He earned a Ph.D. in American Religious History at Temple University and teaches in the area of Quaker Studies at Guilford and in the Divinity School at Wake Forest University.  In 1992, he founded the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program at Guilford, a program that has now produced more than 200 graduates and nearly 1/5 of the grantees of the Clarence and Lilly Pickett Endowment for Quaker Leadership.

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.

Bio: Since 2011, Gabriel Ehri has been Executive Director at Friends Publishing Corporation, an independent nonprofit with a 187-year legacy and a mission to communicate Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives. Friends Journal, the monthly magazine, and friendsjournal.org together reach tens of thousands of Quakers, seekers, and fellow travelers worldwide. A Seattle native and lifelong Friend, Gabe is a member of Green Street Friends Meeting in Philadelphia. He lives with his wife and two sons in Philadelphia.

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.

Bio: Matt Hisrich is ESR’s Director of Recruitment and Admissions and a 2008 graduate of the school. He lives in Richmond with his wife and two children and is a member of Richmond First Friends.

Thom Jeavons

Management as MinistryTalking 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.

Bio: Thomas Jeavons serves as a Scholar-in-Residence at ESR where he is pursuing research about transformations in American religion and Quakerism. He is a visiting faculty member at IUPUI, and scholar of philanthropy, nonprofit management, ethics and religious organizations. He was most recently Executive Director of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (2006-2012).  Prior to that he served a variety of Quaker organizations in leadership roles, including appointments as General Secretary of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (1996-2006) and Executive Secretary of Baltimore Yearly Meeting (1979-1988).

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. 

Bio: Gayle Keller McJunkin is the Associate Vice President for External Relations and Director of Development at Carleton College, Northfield Minnesota. She earned a B.A. degree from Wright State University (1977), the Master of Ministry from Earlham School of Religion (1980), and was a fellow in the Lilly Endowment Program for New Development Officers in Schools of Theology (1981-1983). Gayle served as a development officer at Earlham School of Religion and Earlham College (1981-1989) before moving to the Twin Cities. Her special interest is on relationship-based major gift fundraising and multi-year campaigns that meet the strategic goals of exceptional organizations. An active participant in the Minneapolis Friends Meeting (Northern Yearly Meeting), she has served on the Stewardship Committee and is clerk of Liaison and Review.

Pam Leland

Serving WhomComplexities of “Being Quaker” in a Market-Driven Service EnvironmentWhat makes an organization “Quaker”? In its pursuit of financial sustainability, how does a Quaker-affiliated service organization manage mission against margin?

In this interactive session utilizing specific examples and scenarios, we will explore how organizational leaders make decisions in an environment of competing values. We will consider questions such as:

- What are the principles, values, qualities, characteristics and/or behaviors that might indicate or reflect a “Quaker identity”?

- How might different stakeholder groups interpret and apply these values?

- How can organizational leaders respond to the interests and expectations of diverse groups?

We will conclude our time together by identifying and developing specific strategies and tools that can help leaders in Quaker organizations be more effective in a decision environment of competing values.

Bio: Pamela Leland, PhD, currently serves as Executive Director of The Hickman, a Quaker-affiliated senior living community in West Chester, PA. A former university professor and consultant, she joined The Hickman as Executive Director in 2013.  Pam is a member of London Grove Monthly Meeting (near Kennett Square, PA) and currently serves as Clerk of Western Quarter.  Pam can be reached at pleland@thehickman.org.

Diane Randall

Power, Politics and Servant LeadershipWait! Is that even possible to have servant leadership in Washington, DC?  For many of us, our spiritual development inspires faith into political action—from lobbying elected officials to leading change in our local communities.   We’ll talk about the how ideas of servant leadership put into practice can make for great advocates, activists and leaders.  Diane Randall, Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) will share how servant leadership informs the work of FCNL and influences the Capitol Hill offices they lobby.

Bio: Diane Randall is the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. A lifelong advocate for peace and social justice, Diane is a fierce proponent for citizen engagement that advances policies and practices to create a better society for all. Diane joined FCNL in March, 2011 as the fourth Executive Secretary in its 70-year history. She served as a member of ESR’s Board of Advisors from 2003-2011. She travels widely on behalf of FCNL and represents a voice for Quaker advocacy in Washington on the Hill, within the faith community, in media, and throughout the United States. 

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 21stcentury—born from our roots but branching out to new horizons. 

Bio: Jay Roberts is an Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Director of the Center for Integrated Learning at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Prior to his work at Earlham, Jay was the Director of the Poplar Ridge Experiential Learning Center at the University of Virginia. Jay has also worked as a corporate trainer and leadership development facilitator working with clients such as the Federal Executive Institute, Fannie Mae, the National Council of State Legislatures, and Starbucks.

His most recent publications include (2013)“The Campus and Community as a Learning Laboratory: Possibilities and Limitations,” inTeaching Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences, Texas A & M Press, and (2011)Beyond Learning By Doing: Theoretical Currents in Experiential Education, Routledge Press. He is currently working on a new book, Experiential Education in the College Context: The Promises of the Live Encounter, under contract with Routledge Press. 

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. 

Bio: Colin Saxton serves as the general secretary of Friends United Meeting beginning January 2012. He is a recorded minister in Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM) and a member of North Valley Friends in Newberg, Oregon. Colin and his wife Janine are the parents of four grown children.

Prior to joining the FUM staff, Colin served as superintendent of NWYM for over seven years, spent 16 years in pastoral ministry and ten years as an adjunct professor at George Fox University and Seminary. His educational background includes an undergraduate degree in psychology, a master's degree in theology/church history, and a doctoral degree in leadership/spiritual formation.

Rebecca Sumner

Entrepreneurial Ministry and Service: Midwifing a MovementDrawing from her work as a Quaker Church Planter and Program Director for Quaker Voluntary Service, Rebecca Sumner will facilitate conversation and learning around midwifing - or assisting in the birth of - something new among Friends. Together we will explore how applying Quaker practices of listening, seasoning, and discerning in community to an entrepreneurial spirit or drive cultivates new and thriving ministries.

Bio: Rebecca Sumner is the Program Director for Quaker Voluntary Service. In her work, she coordinated the start-up of QVS' new house in Portland, Oregon, and worked on continuing stability for QVS as a new organization. Rebecca became a convinced Quaker in 2008.  Since becoming a convinced Quaker, Rebecca has founded a church and a new movement toward reclaiming our abolitionist heritage.  Rebecca worships at West Hill Friends Church in Portland. Rebecca completed a Master of Arts in Religion with an emphasis on ministry to troubled urban youth at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Master of Divinity at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. She has an extensive background in entrepreneurial ministry/start-up non-profits.  Rebecca lives and works in southeast Portland with her husband Luke.

Panel Presentations:

Panel I: Servant Style Leadership within Organizations (VIDEO)

Jeff Baxter:

Jeffrey L. Baxter is President of Friends Fellowship Community, Inc. in Richmond, Indiana.  Jeff has been with the Community since 1983 and has served as chief executive officer for twenty-four years.  He received his B.A. from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Jeff is a founding member and current Board Chairman of the Samaritan Alliance, LLC, a group purchasing organization serving senior living providers.  He is active in, and past Chairman of, LeadingAge Indiana, an association of not-for-profit facilities and services for the elderly. He is currently President of the Richmond Hospital Authority and is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Reid Hospital Foundation.  Jeff and his wife Melissa live in southern Wayne County.

Miriam Bunner:

Miriam Bunner, B.A., The Ohio State University, is the Assistant to the Dean of ESR.  She has been a Quaker for the past 20 years.  In the late 1990s, she discovered the Alternatives to Violence Project, but wasn’t able to train as a facilitator until 2009.  At the completion of her training the lead facilitator retired, leaving no AVP leadership in the state.  In 2012, with the aid of her daughter and a former facilitator, Miriam rebirthed AVP Indiana and became the AVP USA Midwest Regional Representative.  Currently, she is conducting workshops at the Indianapolis Re-Entry Educational Facility.  Miriam and her husband, Buck, have two sons, a daughter, and a daughter-in-law.

Wanda Coffin Baker:

Wanda Baker grew up at Salem Friends Church in Iowa Yearly Meeting. She graduated from William Penn College (now University) in Iowa, and received a M.Min. degree from Earlham School of Religion. She has volunteered at the Council House and Kickapoo Friends Centers in Oklahoma, was a youth missionary to East Africa Yearly meeting, and taught for two years at the Ramallah Friends Girls School in Palestine, in addition to pastoring for 23 years in Wilmington, Western, and New England Yearly Meetings. She and her husband Doug have 3 children, 2 daughters-in-law, and 2 grandchildren. Currently, Wanda serves as Superintendent of Western Yearly Meeting.

Robin Mohr:

Robin Mohr serves as Executive Secretary for the Friends World Committee in the Americas. She is also a writer, minister, wife, mother, and a member of Green Street Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia. She coined the term “convergent Friends” in late 2005 to describe a movement of the Holy Spirit among Friends across divides of theology, geography, and age and wrote about it on her blog, robinmsf.blogspot.com. Last year she led a series of Living Water workshops in Central America, connecting the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well with stories of Quaker women in history and our own stories of service to God.

Panel II: The Spirit of Volunteerism (VIDEO)

Stan Banker:

Stan Banker is a graduate of Taylor University (1973) and Earlham School of Religion (1976). He has served as a Friends minister for 43 years including 21 years at Indianapolis First Friends Meeting. He also served as associate superintendent of Iowa Yearly Meeting and editor of Quaker Life magazine. Following the 2010 Haitian earthquake, Stan helped form Na Rive (www.narive.org) to provide educational opportunities for Haitian children living in the Dominican Republic. He also partnered to create a fair-trade coffee cooperative of 39 farmers in the Dominican Republic. Stan has led fourteen tours to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.

Kirsten Bunner:

Kirsten Bunner, B.A., 2011, M.A.T., 2014, Earlham College, has been a Quaker most of her life. While at Earlham, Kirsten was involved in advocacy against sexual violence and conflict resolution at the Derry Peace and Reconciliation Center in Northern Ireland. Currently, she is a facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project in Indiana; is a volunteer with the Sierra Student Coalition of the Sierra Club; and works extensively with the fossil fuel reinvestment campaign, a coalition of over 300 college universities that call for college endowments to withdraw funds from fossil fuels and reinvest in local communities and renewable energy initiatives.  Kirsten spends her spare time supporting initiatives that work towards peace and justice in the world.

Peggy Hollingsworth:

Peggy Ann Hollingsworth is a lifelong member of Russiaville, Indiana Friends Meeting.  She continues to fulfill many roles there and in Western Yearly Meeting.  Presently she is a WYM Trustee of Earlham College, as well as a member of the Earlham School of Religion Board of Advisors.  She has served over four decades in leadership with the United Society of Friends Women International and the WYM USFW.  An Indiana University graduate (BS in Education, MLS), Peggy's career was in school librarianship, including 34 years at Connersville HS.  In retirement she continues to participate in several educational and religious organizations in all three of her "chosen" communities.

Aaron Nell:

Over the last ten years, Aaron Nell has worked as a mediator and youth advocate.  Richmond has provided many opportunities for Aaron to employ known gifts and cultivate new ones through volunteering.  Some of those roles have included facilitating non-violence workshops in prisons, accompanying adults with learning disabilities to Quaker meeting, serving as a mediator, and for most of the last year, hosting a poetry open mic at Roscoe's Coffee Bar and Taproom.  Many of these opportunities took root by following invitations from passionate individuals wanting to expand the circle of service and advocacy they believed in.


Friday, August 15th      


5:00 pm


5:30 pm


6:45 pm

Plenary Session: Servant Leadership: Spirituality Charged Change Agent - Alan Kolp

7:45 pm

Anchor Groups




Saturday, August 16th


8:00 am

Open Worship

8:30 am


9:15 am

Workshop 1

10:45 am


11:00 am

Panel Discussion #1 - The Spirit of Volunteerism

12:30 pm 


1:30 pm

Anchor Groups

2:30 pm

Workshop 2 or Optional Service Project

4:00 pm

Free Time

5:15 pm


6:30 pm

Plenary Session: Serving through Leadership in the Manner of Friends - Ann Riggs

7:45 pm

Anchor Groups



Sunday, August 17th


8:00 am

Open Worship

8:30 am


9:30 am

Panel Discusson #2 - Servant Style Leadership with Organizations

11:00 am

Anchor Groups

12:00 pm




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