Leadership Development Institute 2016

Each summer, NEACAC's Governing Board (consisting of the Executive Board, Committee Chairs, Assembly Delegates, and some invited guests) meets for a Leadership Development Institute to learn about NEACAC and NACAC, conduct Association business, think about leadership roles, and come together as a team.  New Delegate Cristan Harris reflects on her first LDI, and gains insight about what goes on at this special retreat.

Cristan Harris, The Williams School

The 2016-2017 NEACAC Governing Board met on the beautiful campus of Lasell College in Newton, MA from August 2-3. Most striking about this group were the number of new people to the Board, myself included, so ice breakers and orientations seemed just as important to the core of LDI as the other content presented.

As might be expected in the final months of NEACAC’s 50th year, the two-day meeting included a nod to the organization’s past, including the discussion of whether or not it might make sense to formalize the role of historian on the Governing Board. The majority of our time, however, seemed very much focused on NEACAC’s future, from the accuracy and inclusivity of its mission, vision and strategic plan, to a “pre-mortem” exercise that examined how to avoid crisis, to a preview of what’s likely ahead in both the 2016 and 2017 Assembly. We also spent time combing through the new NEACAC website, and we were given opportunity to share feedback about the organization of information and content included. The program concluded with a Governing Board Meeting highlighting reports from the Executive Board in addition to the formation of ad hoc committees looking at expanding ways for members to get involved in the organization, both through volunteerism and more formal mentorship programming. Delegates and committee chairs received training on their respective roles in the year ahead, as well, including an introduction to Robert’s Rules of Order.

A true highlight of our time together was the opportunity to both meet informally and learn from NEACAC’s two candidates for national office. Deb Johns and Bob Bardwell joined our Tuesday night reception and social activities in addition to offering formal presentations on both the Coalition Application and the Reach Higher initiative.

On a personal note, I also appreciated the time we invested in reflection. We shared lessons in leadership for the benefit of the whole group, in addition to taking time to remember a mentor and write them a thank you note. We were also challenged to step up to the plate as a mentor for someone else in NEACAC and to formalize that outreach with an additional note.

True to the nature of our field, we also made time for fun. Our thanks to Lasell for the lovely reception they hosted in the Hamel Visitor Center. My personal favorite, however, was trivia night, which included such inspired team names as Twin XL and Prior-Prior Pants on Fire. There’s nothing quite like admissions humor.

More than anything, LDI energized me for my first stint as a delegate at the 2016 NACAC Conference in Columbus, but, what I am most excited for is the 2017 NACAC Conference in Boston. I can’t wait to get involved and hope you will consider volunteering your time as we host what will be the greatest national conference NACAC has ever seen! Get ready!