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Leadership summit shows the path to better leadership is just one leap away.

An intimate group of elected and appointed officials gathered at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Ky., to discuss and realize new insights into their leadership styles. The 2009 Leadership Summit brought together both new members and more seasoned officials for two and a half days of self-discovery.

The summit, titled "The Strength and Spirit of Leadership in Local Government," highlighted the importance of understanding the value of personal empowerment in leading.

Summit facilitator Sylvia Lovely, president of NewCities Institute and the executive director/CEO of the Kentucky League of Cities, encouraged participants to learn from past personal struggles that made them stronger today.

South Miami, Fla., Vice Mayor Brian Beasley agreed.

"I would say that the most powerful lesson for me was the importance of focusing on issues that are most imperative over those of importance," Beasley explained. "As I dwell on that lesson, I think also of the mistakes that I have made during my first year in office trying to solve all of our city problems within a day instead of prioritizing."


Trainers Eric Boles, president of Edge Learning Institute, and Barbara Mackoff, author of five leadership books, emphasized how essential understanding personal strengths is to good leadership. Through small group discussions, participants worked together to identify their core leadership abilities and support each other in remembering individual strengths.

"I like this summit for its smaller groups," Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson of Gary, Ind., commented. "They are very comfortable."

Boles underscored the importance of not only recognizing one's fears and hesitancies, but also taking the extra step to "jump off the lily pad" and make a change. Participants learned that the paralyzing effect of fear is necessary to overcome. By doing so, an individual can develop into a stronger, more successful leader.

In a related session, Mackoff worked with participants on recognizing their personal leadership skills through self-reflection and understanding how other leaders perceive them. In preparation for her seminar, Mackoff had each participant reach out to a colleague and request that that colleague write them a letter detailing the participant's core leadership skills.

Nervous energy led up to the opening of the letters. One participant laughed, "I have no idea what might be inside this envelope." But, as each participant began to read, smiles spread across the room.

In his seminar entitled "City Trends and the Resilience of the Community," Ron Crouch, director of the Kentucky State Data Center, introduced the idea of a wider perspective in analyzing individual community trends. Crouch aimed to persuade the participants with statistics of the unifying trends throughout the United States (and the world) in terms of the role of government, urban versus rural realities, and the potential for the future, among other themes.

"All of this has been so valuable," said Mayor Billy Paul Carneal of Springfield, Tenn. "A really wonderful experience."

During the summit, participants were reminded that self-affirmation is a positive step toward confident leadership. The summit ended with the participants in high spirits, inspired by the seminars, each other and their visit to the Muhammad Ali Center.

Before the final lunch, the participants shouted in unison, "I am the greatest. You are the greatest. We are the greatest."

Details: For more information about the annual Leadership Summit, visit the NLC website at or contact the Leadership Training Institute by phone at (202) 626-3170 or by email at
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Title Annotation:Sylvia Lovely from NewCities Institute; Vice Mayor Brian Beasley; National League of Cities; Eric Boles from Edge Learning Institute
Author:Rosen, Lillie
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Conference news
Geographic Code:1U6KY
Date:Sep 21, 2009
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