Leadership Academy

Class 4,  August 26

Communication and Conflict Resolution


Animated, energetic, engaging and expressive marked the presentation by Lynda Van Doran and Polly Livingston who discussed helpful styles of communication on Tuesday.

004In addition to the wisdom of not interrupting a speaker, listening with full attention, even repeating back to the speaker what he or she is saying marks the skill of a good listener. Often a polite response to someone who is negative is helpful and supportive to a relationship, whether it’s a peer, family member or co-worker.

An honest response to a speaker with whom one differs,  presented politely and with diplomacy, can often avert a trigger response from the speaker. Taking care to listen deeply to someone will often strengthen a relationship – whether it’s a professional, political or personal relationship.

Students said they took away from the class a heightened awareness to listen more completely and mindfully to others and carefully choose their responses, asking themselves how their responses would affect the speaker and what kind of outcome it would induce.

Next Class:  Diversity and Inclusion will be presented by Darin Matthews, Director of Con tracting & Procurement, Finance & Administration at PSU. He will discuss ways to honor diversity through knowing yourself and how that impacts policy.

Leadership Academy, Class 3,  August 19

Plan Development and Plan Completion

Alicia and Desiree Lynda and Deb Therese and Carolyn

Tuesday’s class was an upbeat presentation on how to get things accomplished drawing from the fun and highly successful career experiences of PHC Northwest’s dynamic leadership team.  Alicia Anhaack, Controller; Deb Houston, Vice President; and Therese McLain, Contracts and Communications Director all rolled up their sleeves and brought out their best techniques, skill sets, and words to the wise on plan development and completeion.

Among some of their wisdom was “keep it simple by breaking down the work into smaller pieces,” Deb said, adding also “by working backwards from the goal date of a project you will be able to plan a timeline better.”

“Seek support from others who share your goals.  Think outside the box and find ways to get people involved in your goals.  You’re not alone.  Seek out partners,” she said.

Therese said that as leaders, “You are the taskmasters.  You have to reach out to people and build a team.”  She shared the story of how she implemented her vision for a Connecting Communities Coalition in December 2008, which has since evolved into the dynamic group it is today which is sponsoring this, its second, Leadership Academy.

“You have to be an instigator because you bring inspiration,” Therese said, adding “You are also the voice of reason, the connector and the one with the experience.”

Alicia said leaders “make a list of their ideas, generate discussions, build a budget and get the train rolling.”

Using metaphors to strengthen their theme, they urged the students to remember the “Golden Rule,” think of themselves as “a conductor who leads an orchestra,” confront any project like “eating an elephant – one bite at a time.”

Their warm wisdom evoked a round of applause by the group that found their presentation engaging and motivating.

Next week:  Communication and Conflict Resolution. Christina Albo, Director of Programs for Resolutions Northwest, will discuss ways to communicate, challenge, confront with grace and respect, resulting in positive outcomes. 

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Leadership Academy, Class 2, August 12

Commitment and Problem Solving

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Commitment is “the state of being dedicated to a cause or an activity,” and is the first step toward leadership, according to Jim Robell, COO of Eid Passport, Inc.*

In his dynamic presentation of leading-edge professional leadership Tuesday, he drew from some of the latest and greatest literature on the topic from professionals such as Stephen Covey, author of  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Picture1

He prefaced his presentation with the message ”Never, EVER, give up,” and then moved on to describe the commitment continuum, which ranges between apathy and obsession, and is “taking responsibility for your highest priority.”

Among the attitudes of great leaders is calm when others panic. At times of crisis, “they think, then take action.”  He  said leaders set priorities and manage their actions and reactions based on their priorities.

“When taking action and problem-solving, a leader will choose one of three options – to change the situation, accept it, or to leave it,” Jim said, adding that often the situation needs changing, which opens the door for advocacy.

Among his thoughts about change, are, “Necessity is the mother of invention.  Discontinuity brings opportunity. A lot of problems have been solved by others already.  New problems may be great business opportunities, and often good stands in the way of GREAT.”

Concluding his presentation, he said confidence was a key factor in leadership – either too much or too little blocks the best outcome.

Next week, A select group of Portland Habilitation Center NW employees will present  Plan Development and Plan Completion.  They will help you identify an issue you’re passionate about and develop an action plan.

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*Eid Passport is a privately-held company founded in 2001 in Hillsboro. Through its patented identity management programs, Eid Passport, Inc. enables highly secure facilities − such as military installations, government buildings, manufacturing and distribution sites, ports, and commercial buildings − increased security and streamlined access for authorized personnel.

Leadership Academy opens, August 5

Presence.  Empowerment. Authenticity

Desiree and Sean

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The Leadership Academy began this week with the presentation, “Leaders, Leadership and You,”  by Mari Watanabe, executive director of The Portland Business Alliance’s Partners in Diversity, and Yvonne Chang, Chief ‘Empowerment’ Officer of her consulting firm.

The nine-week series began with an introduction to real world leadership –what it used to be and what it is today – and concluded with an inspiring message about the change an authentically empowered leader can make in the world.

The class worked in small groups identifying their perceptions of common stereotypes about persons with disabilities as well as those of leadership. Then, each group presented their perceptions to the larger group, creating a bond among the students that will outlast  the program.

Chang presented her heart-centered code of conduct, which emphasized honest, open, and confidential listening to others.

The insightful and inspiring class ended with an upbeat image of the single most powerful tool of any leader – Presence.  It is that drop of water which falls into a tranquil pond that creates a rippling effect throughout the pond.  Leadership is the effect of that presence on the larger community.

CCC is honored and extremely grateful to Mari Watanabe and Yvonne Chang for their talent, time and awesome gift to our students.  THANK YOU !!!

And, CCC is equally grateful to the students who came, shared and received and are so driven to be the change we all seek. All of you are wonderful!!

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Leadership Academy, 2013


When the CCC became aware of the great need for leadership development  in the disability community, it decided to create a curriculum that provides the accommodations, support, and flexibility needed for people with disabilities to access leadership development programs.

The Connecting Communities Leadership Academy covers a broad range of technical and theoretical topics, including study of great leaders, team building, effective communication, ethics, and public speaking. It welcome individuals with any kind of limitation to participate and become the next leaders, advocates, board members, or valuable employees.

The 2014 Leadership Academy will offer a nine-week leadership development course, which will run from 6 – 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday beginning August 5 through September 30 in The Portland Business Alliance Building, 200 SW Market St., Portland.

Applications for enrollment are now open and will be accepted through June 30. Academy enrollment is limited to 20 students.

The Leadership Academy’s goal is to provide persons with disabilities, through an interactive learning experience, the tools needed to participate as leaders in their local communities. By learning the skills necessary to be informed, involved, and pro-active leaders, students will be better equipped to serve as disability advocates in their local communities and state government.

A team of professional leaders representing local government, business, and educational institutions will present on community involvement, diversity and inclusion, empowerment, goal setting, problem solving, project planning and project completion.