Ensuring the Future - Lanterman Leadership Institute Helps Develop Future Community Leaders Capable of Tackling Tough Challenges Faced by the Service System
Most of us who find ourselves in leadership positions got there without ever having consciously made the choice to become a leader.
Yet, when you become a leader, you take on a great responsibility. You essentially promise to change the world for the better, and as a leader you cause this change to happen, through people.
As a leader, you want to be a great one, but most leaders aren’t born great, they learn to be great.
Executive Director Diane Anand shares, “In keeping with the instrumental role that parent and professional leaders played in the founding of the regional center system, Lanterman has always sought to continue that tradition by empowering our clients, families, service providers, staff and other professionals to be the new leaders that this system needs – to be part of the solution and provide leadership in dealing with the current challenges facing the developmental services system.”
Introduced over 15 years ago, the two-day Lanterman Leadership Institute assists participants with developing the leadership skills necessary to be the future community leaders required in this critical time.
Maureen Wilson, director of Training and Development, says, “The Leadership Institute brings together a diverse group of people, which adds to the richness of this interactive and experiential approach to leadership development. Through a program that combines lecture, group exercise, self-assessment and feedback sessions, participants build the self-confidence needed to be effective leaders.” As part of the Institute, participants evaluate their current leadership abilities, analyze the community’s need for leaders, and establish personal leadership goals and an action plan for further development.
Lanterman community members who are interested in taking on a leadership role within the Center must develop their background knowledge of the regional center system, participate in preparatory opportunities, including attending the Service Coordination and Advocacy Training where they will learn how to navigate the special needs system through presentations covering an overview of the regional center system, developing a partnership with your regional center, Lanterman values in action, and advocacy and the legislative process. Participants in the Leadership Institute also have already assumed leadership roles in the community, such as support group facilitators, peers support partners, and legislative advocates.
The parent and professional leaders that founded the regional center system didn’t have the benefit of a Leadership Institute that helped them learn how to lead, they learned in the real world by fighting tooth and nail for the change that they wanted to see in the state of California so it would be a better place for their sons and daughters with developmental disabilities.
“We are at a crossroads, and now more than ever, well-trained and well-informed parent and professional leaders are needed to ensure that the direction the regional center system takes is the one that helps preserve the entitlement to services and supports for current and future generations that were so hard fought for by those first parent and professional leaders. Continuing down the same path and pursuing the same strategy is no longer working, so what it means for this new generation of leaders is that they are going to have to be open to change and innovation that will ensure that this system continues into the future,” explains Anand.