Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

#Seencommunitybuilding: Lead Now Pittsburgh

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

#Seencommunitybuilding: Lead Now Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

Change happens at the pace of trust. That was the statement that Aradhna Oliphant, president and CEO of Leadership Pittsburgh Inc., wanted to be reflected in the newest program at the organization. What better way to uplift a community than to support the social activists who are on the ground, doing the real work, often with very little support or resources.

Lead Now Pittsburgh, a fellowship entering its second year, invited 21 activist leaders from around the Pittsburgh region into a yearlong program aimed at providing personal leadership development, social supports, networking and mentorship in 2018. To do this, the organization asked 80-plus community leaders for nominations. From that pool, a jury then selected those fellows, who received a congratulatory letter and some chocolates from Sarris Candy to welcome them to the program.

The fellowship is supported through the Heinz Endowments as an investment for Pittsburgh. (Her husband Grant Oliphant is the president.) "These are important times for our region. If we want to keep and retain talent, we must support and encourage growth," said Ms. Oliphant. The rate of burnout is so high among social activists and social justice leaders that self-care must be built into the program. The first part of this fellowship takes participants out of their environment to California for a weeklong retreat. This is a time where they work with Rockwood Leadership, a social justice organization that has been in the field for 20 years. This allows the fellows time to reflect, to learn, to nuture personal growth, to ask questions and to gather support from others.

"It's very powerful when you can sit with people who are fighting the same fight and nurturing the same seeds," she added. This camaraderie provides a networking opportunity and new knowledge to bring back with them to Pittsburgh. …

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