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Showing posts from 2013

Alumni blog goes on holiday!

Happy holidays and warm wishes to you during this season. As a programming note, we will be taking a break on posts until January. Think of it as an opportunity to go through our previous posts!

We hope everyone has a chance to reflect on the things they are thankful for and to think about how we will improve ourselves, our communities, and our organizations in the new year. We look forward to returning in 2014 and to continue supporting you in ways big and small!

Educator Corner: Better Meetings, Better Results

Educator Corner is a feature on the blog that will appear regularly. Each entry will feature 1 of the 9 Leadership and Civic Engagement educators from around the state providing space for their thoughts on what may be useful for leaders and followers practicing in their communities and organizations.

In the past few months, I have attended many meetings. They are how many things get done, whether at work or in community. Some meetings have gone well but others have not. When meetings get bogged down in details or go off track on unrelated items, everyone suffers. It begs the question: what makes some meetings successful? And, what can each of us do, whether convener, facilitator, or participant, to make our meetings more effective? To start I suggest the following three tips:Develop an agenda - if you're not the chairperson, you can offer your help. Thinking through what has to be done, considering the order of items to lead discussion logically, and writing it down goes a long way…

Alumni action: John and Joni Burkel providing turkeys for presidential pardon

Did you know that the President traditionally pardons a turkey every Thanksgiving at the White House?

This year, two alumni of Extension's Emerging Leadership Program are providing the bird! John and Joni Burkel are making the trip to Washington, D.C. with their fine feathered friend. John is the current chairman for the National Turkey Federation and Joni has long been involved in turkey promotion.

You can follow the story at the Minnesota Turkey Facebook page.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alumni meet to learn about emotionally intelligent teams

Recently, alumni from several University of Minnesota Extension leadership cohorts and friends gathered to go deeper into learning about Emotionally Intelligent teams. Participants had been a part of:McLeod for TomorrowMinnesota Agricultural Rural LeadersBridging Brown CountyConnecting Nicollet CountyAssociation of Minnesota CountiesNational Extension Leadership Development
Individuals had a chance to determine strategies for increasing and developing the 7 core skills that are essential to generating sustainable productivity and emotional and social well-being in teams.

Opportunity: Extension Citizens' Advisory Committee

The University of Minnesota Dean's Office is seeking nominations for Extension's Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC provides a grassroots perspective on the operations, strategies, and impacts of Extension across Minnesota. Committee members
serve as the eyes and ears of Extension's diverse clientele in communities throughout Minnesotasupport Extension's public relations and advocacy goalsand provide greater awareness and access about Extension programming.

Potential candidates should have:
knowledge of or experience with Extensionan interest in education and researchpassion for the future of Extension in Minnesotaavailability to attend two annual meetings and an ability to speak up and share their perspectives.
If this interests you or sounds like someone else from your cohort, visit for more information and the online nomination form.

Perspectives on Leadership - Who knows what could happen?

This is the last video in this week's series about how leadership can make a difference in communities. If you have your own inspiring story to share, leave it in the comments!

Even the smallest of communities can remain vital when residents know their assets. Christina and David Lien contribute to Flom, Minnesota with lessons learned from the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program.

Perspectives on Leadership - Another inspiring story

We know that leaders make a difference in their communities and wanted to highlight some of the work being done. This is the second in this week's series about Extension leadership alumni who are putting their skills, connections, and ideas into play.

It takes a lot of partnerships to create a healthier community. Kerry Ward used the contacts she made at McLeod for Tomorrow, a Leadership Education Program, to make a difference.

Perspectives on Leadership - Check out these great stories

We know that leaders make a difference in their communities and wanted to highlight some of the work being done. Over the next few days, check back to watch a new story from alumni of different Extension leadership programs for a daily dose of inspiration!

Deanne Bryce re-imagined her restaurant business after participating in the Bridging Brown County Leadership Education program and learning how other businesses in the county had followed their passion.

Opportunity: Resilient Communities Project

Here is an amazing opportunity for your community to benefit from the research and resource of the University of Minnesota.

The gist: The Resilient Communities Project is a year-long partnership between the University of Minnesota and one local community in the state. Students and faculty from across the University collaborate with the partner community to address the self-defined sustainability-related needs of the community through course-based projects. Everything is oriented to creating on-the-ground impact and momentum for a community looking to move towards a more sustainable and livable future.

If this sounds like something your community is interested in, check out their website for more information and an application packet. The registration deadline is February 14, 2014.

Educator Corner: Building skills to follow

Educator Corner is a new feature on the blog that will appear monthly. Each entry will feature 1 of the 9 Leadership and Civic Engagement educators from around the state providing space for their thoughts on what is happening in their work that may be useful for leaders practicing in their communities and organizations.

I recently visited with people in a community as they discussed their future. The conversation moved to this statement - "If we only had more leaders..." This mindset is one that I, too, get caught up in. But over the past two years I started focusing on teaching skills for following as part of leadership training. So what is it all about?

It's as simple as this. Without followers, who would leaders lead? When it comes to leadership, it is important for leaders to understand the concept of followership in order to be more effective as leaders.

Researchers have studied the relationship between leaders and followers for years. Robert E. Kelley, author o…

Opportunity: Doing Business Online webinar series

If you are a manager, owner, or social media staff of a small business or nonprofit, consider this webinar series. Participants will learn about strategically using online tools to have a more effective online presence. The cost of $40 allows you to attend as many live webinars as possible from the available six.. For information on dates and time, visit the Doing Business Online information page.

Topics will include:Managing online reviewsMobile eMarketingLocation based servicesSocial media for businessGetting listed higher in Google search resultsUsing analytics to inform business decisions

Opportunity: Health Grants and Facilitation Practice

Two neat chances to impact your communities and support your work!

The first is a funding opportunity for community-based organizations that want to use community engagement as a key strategy for reducing tobacco use, heart disease, and preventable cancers.

Why focus on engagement? People are a key ingredient to creating change in their own community. For that reason community members who care about, or are impacted by, the issue at hand should be included in the execution and success of creating community health change. Examples of community engagement include garnering input, cultivating leadership, and growing participation of community members.

The deadline to apply is October 25, 2013 so check out the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota website for more information and the link to apply.

The second is an opportunity to learn and practice an engagement technique for hosting conversations:
The World Cafe Learning Program event is a 3-day practicum and workshop designed to deep…

Alumni Gather, Consider How to Make an Impact

In late September, alumni of the U-Lead Advisory Academy, a leadership cohort provided by University of Minnesota Extension, met in St. Cloud to determine how best to apply their skills in their communities given new trends throughout Minnesota. As part of the day, Jane Tigan from Minnesota Compass provided information about how the state's population and workforce are changing.

If you are wanting to see data and trends for your region, check out the Minnesota Compass site. How might you use this information to inform your work and action?

Opportunity: University of Minnesota Cross-Sector Forum: Leadership to Address Minnesota's Grand Challenges

The Center for Integrative Leadership is hosting a FREE event for those who have participated in leadership programs with education from the University of Minnesota. As an alumni of an Extension cohort, that means you! The event is about bringing together leaders from multiple professions to address the tough issues that stretch beyond a single area or line of work.

The event is scheduled for Friday, October 23, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Coffman Memorial Union on the University's Minneapolis campus.

To find out more, read below. For an agenda and to register, click here.

Across the University, there are many programs intended to elevate the leadership of working professionals. However, for the most part, the University's professional programs are as siloed as participant's day-to-day work environments. We often don't meet our peers from other sectors until crisis necessitates it. As a result, our solutions aren't as innovative as they might be.

Hosted by…

Learn: Resources from the West Central Leadership Academy gathering

On Thursday, June 13, 2013, 20 leaders from the West Central Leadership Academy gathered to reconnect, get some resources, and think about the next steps in their leadership path. Sponsored by the West Central Imitative and the Extension Center for Community Vitality, attendees had sessions on taking an idea into action, using social media platforms for community networking, and grant writing. Some good content was shared and we wanted to let everyone know about it! Watch the video participants saw to hear some thoughts on how ideas become sustained and click the link for some quick tips on how Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can expand your network.

Social Media Summary Sheet

Opportunity: Student Researcher Assistance

We just heard about an opportunity for cities and organizations in greater Minnesota to receive student research assistance. Do you have a project that could benefit from a talented student? For more information and how to apply, check out or read more below.

The Community Assistantship Program (CAP) is pleased to announce a fall 2013 grant program. The grant will allow rural communities to hire a student to work on a project defined by those communities. The deadline for project proposals is June 30th, 2013. Approved project will run from August 27th to January 9th, 2014.

Winning communities will review job applications and select the student who best meets their needs. See

Eligible organizations include community groups, organizations, and local government outside of the seven county metro.

What is CAP?

The Community Assistantship Program provides applied research assistance to community-based groups outside the Twin Cities Metro Ar…

Opportunity: Community Innovation Grants

The Bush Foundation recently announced a new grant program that is seeking to support communities to create innovation solutions to the problems they face. It's called the Community Innovation Grants and wants to support and reward efforts to create and implement great ideas that make places better. Nonprofit organizations of all sizes are invited to apply for funding of up to $500,000. Applications are being accepted May 29 through July 11. How could $500,000 jump start change or a program where you live?

Opportunity: The Policy Fellows Program

Applications are now being accepted for the 2013-2014 Policy Fellows program at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Now in its 23rd year, the program brings together mid-career Minnesota leaders from government, nonprofit, and business sectors for a nine-month professional development experience. Fellows join a 35-person cohort to focus on enhancing leadership skills, understanding their role in public policy, and developing a diverse personal and professional network. Applications are due May 31, 2013 for the program beginning in September. More information at

Candidates from Greater Minnesota are encouraged to apply. Fellows who come from outside the Twin Cities metro area may apply for lodging assistance.

All Fellows are eligible for scholarship assistance. Scholarships specifically for nonprofit sector participants are made possible by generous gifts from the George Famil…

One week left to register for Leading from Within: The Power of Positive Psychology

There is only one week left to register for the Leading from Within: The Power of Positive Psychology workshop. Here are the details:

When: Thursday, May 9, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Brainerd, MN (Land Services Building - 322 Laurel Street)

Workshop fee: $25 in addition to the cost of the book StrengthsFinder 2.0® by Tom Rath

Click here to sign up before registration closes on Friday, May 3.

For an extended description, visit our 2013 Leadership Series page.

Opportunity: The Rural Arts and Culture Summit

Do you care about arts and culture and the ways they can build vibrant communities?

The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is addressing this topic June 5 and 6, 2013 at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Three dynamic, keynote speakers, June Holley, Michael Strand, and John Davis, will provide knowledge, experience, and insight on weaving together art and community. The speakers will examine how art and community can build and play off of each other to help places continue to grow and improve.

Register today by visiting the website, calling at (218) 998-4037, or by sending an email to

Registration open for Leading from Within: The Power of Positive Psychology

Looking for an opportunity to learn, connect with others, and refresh your skills? The first offering of the 2013 Leadership Series is now open for registration. In Leading from Within: The Power of Positive Psychology, discover your talents and ways to grow them into strengths that help you thrive individually and in your community. Incorporating recent science and research, you will learn to harness the power behind positive emotions. The event is set for Thursday, May 9, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Brainerd, MN. To find out more about the event and link to the registration page, visit the 2013 Leadership Series page. See you in Brainerd!

Further your leadership - The Bush Fellowship Program

For those of you looking to take your leadership to the next level, consider the Bush Fellowship Program. Participants receive support ranging from $25,000 to $75,000. Specifically, the program is looking for leaders who are

Passionate about their communities and have a vision for making them better places for everyone
Interested in working with, and learning from, others to make their vision a reality
Committed to improving their work and their effectiveness in enhancing quality of life in their community
Understand that risk, failure and conflict provide valuable learning and are key to necessary to making progress

If this sounds like you, head on over to the Bush Fellowship Program site and read more. The deadline for application is May 24, 2013.

Still not sure? Check out recipient Noreen Thomas, an alum of the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program. Read about her plans here.

Let's dream big to enrich Minnesota communities!

Welcome to the Leadership and Civic Engagement Alumni site!

Greetings! Welcome to the Leadership and Civic Engagement Alumni site - a one stop resource for people who have been through leadership and civic engagement programming delivered by the University of Minnesota Extension. This is a place where you can deepen or refresh your learning and skills, find out about grants and other opportunities for Minnesota communities, connect with other leaders from over 20 years of Extension programs, and be inspired by the work of people like you.

This is our maiden post and we would love to give you a brief tour of the site. This home page you are on is our landing page where we will be posting updated information. If you bookmark this page or add it to your favorites, you can always see the latest.

On the left, you can link to our other pages - find out more about our intentions for the site here.

Click here for information about the Leadership Series in general, or go straight to the 2013 Leadership Series page for information on this year's opp…