iLEAP Fellows explore the program themes of Collaboration, Global Partnerships, Leadership, and Digital Media and Communication through four modes of learning: skills-based seminar trainings, professional shadowing and site visits, personal inquiry, and teaching out and partnership building.
Each week, Fellows engage in seminar trainings facilitated by experienced adult educators who are steeped in the central themes of the program. Held at the beautiful and inspiring iLEAP Offices in the Good Shepherd Center, these seminars range in length from 90 minutes to multi-day and occur 4-5 times each week. Of the dozens of seminars that Fellows take, topics include: principles of social innovation, group dialogue and facilitation, modes of leadership, trends in philanthropy and giving, cross-cultural communication, digital storytelling, etc. While there are didactic elements in the seminar trainings, the learning environment is conversational and collaborative. The personal and professional experiences of each Fellow are highly valued and they are encouraged to bring this life experience into the conversation.
After a few weeks into the program Fellows experience professional shadowing and site visits with other leaders from Seattle-based social enterprises, institutions, agencies or organizations. Professional shadowing is a unique opportunity to witness the day-to-day challenges and opportunities of leading change in the United States. Fellows are also able to share their experiences with those working in Seattle on a peer-to-peer level. Fellows also go on a number of site visits to local organizations and businesses. Over the course of the program Fellows visit dozens of places and meet with leaders to share ideas and learn. Past visits have included: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington Cash, Goodwill Job Training Center, Agros International, Landesa, Northwest Center, and FareStart.
One of the things that makes the Fellowship unique is the high value we place on the process of personal inquiry and reflection on one's own leadership. While there are a number of technical and "skills based" elements to the Fellowship program, our graduates consistently say that it is the opportunity to take a step back from the high pace of their day-to-day leadership challenges at home, and come into guided dialogue and inquiry that holds the greatest meaning to their time in Seattle. Fellows are given space to be able to refind the connection to their work and vocation and explore questions around such issues as authenticity, leadership, personal sustainability, work/life balance, and creativity. Fellows meet regularly with iLEAP's advisors and coaches in one-on-one sessions that build on each other and seek to inspire a lifelong practice of personal inqiury for social action.
Teaching Out and Partnership Building
Over the course of the program, iLEAP International Fellows have regular public speaking engagements and both intentional and unstructured opportunities to network with the global development sector in the Western Washington region. Each Fellow can expect to give at least three or more guest talks at a local university, speak on radio and/or television, and participate in panels and/or deliver talks to the greater Seattle community. Sharing their work and the honest stories of inspiration and challenge that come with any change endeavor is an opportunity for iLEAP Fellows to be teachers and pro-active during their time in the program. Through these public events, Fellows are able to meet new people who are interested in their work--this serves as the foundation for future conversations and, eventually, an opportunity for global partnership and connection.