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A Word from the Executive Director

A Good Tired ... and Why I Drink so Much Coffee (It's not Why You Might Think)

My parents used to refer to being a "good tired." I didn't fully understand it then but knew it meant they had worked hard toward something worthwhile; and at the end of the day, even though they were tired, they felt good.

These days at Leadership Oakland, I fully appreciate the concept of being "good tired." Not only is this the busiest time of the program year but we recently rolled out a new strategic plan that the Board, staff and I are looking forward to executing. Stay tuned for details and how to get involved with shaping the future of this great organization.

Some of the highlights of what's keeping us at LO so busy-

The Cornerstone Program (or why I drink so much coffee) - Applications are now open for the class of LOXXVIII. That means Starbucks throughout the region are rejoicing as I meet with prospective applicants, corporate sponsors and community partners. I love conversations with people who are positive catalysts for change and growth in our region.

Taste of LO  - Our signature event of the year which attracts more than 300 professionals! Thank you to everyone who helped in gaining sponsorship commitments. We are officially sold out of tables. Although if you've been to Taste of LO before you know it's not your typical sit down/table event. And there are still plenty of individual tickets available. 

Junior LO  - This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Jr. LO, the three-day, summer program for current juniors in high school who will be seniors in the fall. Applications are now available. There is no cost to participate for the student, thanks to our sponsors Genisys Credit Union, Oakland Community College, Oakland County Economic Development and Cross Roads for Youth.
LO Day of Service - The class of LOXXVII is showing up in a big way for their Day of Service project. This year, they will be partnering with Monarch Wings, a local non-profit, to rehab a safe house for female survivors of human trafficking. If you've watched the news lately, you know this is a huge issue for our region and one that LO is honored to help combat.

Those are just a few highlights of the exciting things happening. And if you see me at Starbucks be sure to stop and say "hi."

Leadership Oakland's Biggest Event Returns to The Townsend Hotel. Don't Miss Out!

Taste of Leadership Oakland
March 23, 2017 | 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham

Network and learn more about Leadership Oakland
"Taste" is our signature event bringing together hundreds of professionals for a night of fun, great food and conversation to support LO programs and scholarships. The evening features an extensive silent auction, honors for inspiring leaders and plenty of opportunities for easy networking. New this year -- the first Annual Best Class Ever Award.  Don't miss out on this special evening! Tables are SOLD OUT, but individual tickets are still available.

Single Tickets: $40
Dine Out to Support LOXXVII's Day of Service

This year's project is a partnership with Monarch Wings to remodel a  sa fe  house that can house up to 16 women survivors of Human Trafficking.
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 28, when Granite City in Troy will donate back to Leadership Oakland for the LOXXVII Day of Service. If you have a business lunch or want dinner with friends or family, plan to go to Granite City in Troy next Tuesday and present the Dine 2 Donate flyer. They will donate 20% of your bill to the Day of Service. Please share with all your friends, family and coworkers.

See you Tuesday at Granite City!
699 W. Big Beaver Rd. - Troy, MI
Now Accepting Applications for our Cornerstone Program 
Who will be in the next Best Class Ever?

Hear what people are saying about their Cornerstone experience:

"Leadership Oakland provides the perfect opportunity for established and emerging leaders to become reinvigorated and more connected with the community... LO helped me understand and appreciate the responsibility we all have to help "become the change we want to see" in this region."
     -Michelle Crockett, LOXVI, Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone

Early Application Deadline is April 5, 2017

BOC register for boc

April 4, 2017 | 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

With the world whirling at warped speed most days, how does a leader keep up and stay relevant? Perhaps no one knows that challenge better than Joyce Jenereaux, former publisher and president of the Detroit Free Press and Joyce successfully navigated the digital revolution to transform the traditional newspaper to meet the needs of today's hyper-connected society. Recently retired and on to new ventures, she'll share the leadership and business lessons she learned along the way.

Location: MSU Management Education Center
811 W. Square Lake Road, Troy, MI 48098

Cost of Single Session: 
$32 Leadership Oakland Alumni Association (LOAA) Member
$36 Non-LOAA Member/General Public

The room was packed with emerging and seasoned professionals who came out to network and have an open discussion about "young professionals". Jennifer Korman, LOXIX (Mercedes Benz Financial Services), moderated the morning's breakfast discussion with well thought out questions and conversation starters. If you weren't there, you missed our panelist tips and strategies for getting to the top, building a network and for including work life balance.

Thank you to our three panelist: Talisa Norton, LOXXVII (All Pro Color), Sara Stoddard, LOXXIV (Oakland County Homeland Security Division) and Jordan Twardy, LOXXV (City of Ferndale).

Thank you to our breakfast sponsor:

Now Accepting Applications for the 10th Junior Leadership Oakland Program

Junior Leadership Oakland is the place that encourages and empowers young adults to develop their full potential through three, full-day interactive workshops.

The program will take place on June 19-21, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at Oakland Community College's Auburn Hills Campus.

Program Objectives:
  • Create opportunities for students to realize their leadership potential
  • Expose students to a wide variety of career paths
  • Provide access to a network of professionals
  • Foster a commitment to community involvement
The program is open to all students in the Metro Detroit area that are entering their senior year of high school. An application, reference form, and a personal goals statement is required.

The program is free to all selected students thanks to our sponsors who are committed to developing our future leaders.

Download the  application program flyer for more information.

2017 Junior Leadership Oakland Sponsors

Oakland Community College
JusticeLOXXVII: Justice Session

On Wednesday, February 8, LOXXVII participated in their Justice session at the Oakland County Courthouse. The class had an opportunity to get an overview of the criminal justice system, hear about cyberspace minefields and to sit in on a few court cases. 

The class also met in the Judge's quarters with the Honorable James Alexander and the Honorable Nanci Grant. This experience allowed them to ask specific questions about what they had just witnessed. 

The day was designed to expose the participants to the practical operations of the justice system. In addition to interacting with the judges and the courts, they also heard from the Oakland County Prosecutor, Jessica Cooper, Federal Prosecutor for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade and learned about the role of mental health during a presentation from Lisa Dunn, LOXXVI, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority.

Class members were provided unique optional experiences, such as a Police Car Ride-A-Long and an Oakland County Jail tour.

"Even as an attorney, I learned many new things and thought the session was a great experience."  -LOXXVII class member

Thank you to our session sponsors: 

Alumni Spotlight

Kayla Roney Smith, MSW, LOXXV
Executive Director
Hazel Park Promise Zone and College Access Network
2017 Elite 40 under 40 Winner

I was referred to Leadership Oakland by a board member of my organization and took advantage of the Cornerstone Program as soon as was possible, which was very early in my career and about a year into my tenure as Executive Director of the Hazel Park Promise Zone Authority. This particular board member recommended LO to me - and to the other board members for financial support of my participation - because he had witnessed the impact of the program on a colleague of his and felt that sending me would benefit both me and our organization. I was immediately interested, viewing the opportunity as an ideal way of learning more about the region I had recently become part of.

The Cornerstone Program was transformative for me from our very first session - our weekend retreat. Leading up to the retreat, I was excited to head back to Northern Michigan, not far from where I grew up, but I was unsure as to what the dynamic would be among my fellow LO participants. I wondered what we would have in common and whether I would truly connect with my classmates. The first night of that retreat, and one activity in particular, ended up setting the tone for my entire LO experience.

As the sun set on our first night in beautiful Roscommon, we formed our chairs into a circle under a large tent. From there, in the increasing darkness, we took turns answering one simple question: "what would we like to see for our county?" As I listened to the answers of strangers who would soon become friends, I quickly began to feel at ease - and at home. Their answers helped me begin to understand their values, and I quickly realized we had much in common. These people's knowledge, experiences, and goals were fascinating and inspiring, and I could not wait to learn more.

Two years after my completion of the LO Cornerstone program, I continue to reflect on the question posed during that nighttime activity and how my answer fits into my personal, professional, and public mission(s). In a separate Cornerstone session, we were able to dig deeply into determining what our personal missions were and how those missions shaped our lives. Additionally, the reflective time at the end of each Cornerstone session provided opportunity for thought and discussion around the question of, "so what?", forcing connection of the day's information to issues faced by the region and by each of us as individuals.

In addition to the tools for leadership development, the Cornerstone Program led to the development of important relationships. During and since the program, I have been honored to host LO classmates as speakers, fundraiser attendees, lunch dates, and wedding guests. We serve as each other's thought partners, peer-mentors, and supporters.

A full work day per month can seem like a major time commitment, but LO has been a worthwhile investment in countless ways. The ten month program provided consistent skill- and strategy-building mechanisms, and the continued opportunities for learning and collaboration through the Alumni Association have resulted in continued benefits long after completion of the program. Over the past year, my relatively young organization has been fortunate to receive several honors, and I attribute aspects of our success directly to what I learned through LO programming and through relationships with my LO classmates. To those who have not yet completed the Cornerstone Program, I ask: what are you waiting for? To those who have, I urge you to continue reflecting on that initial question: what would you like to see for your county, and how can you catalyze that change?

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