This January will mark six years for the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC).  The journey has included extensive listening, the development of a curriculum and leadership framework, the formation of teaching strategies, a full faculty team, more evaluation work than you can imagine and much more. Our main goal is to equip people with the ability to make lasting change for the common good.  We are changing the civic culture of Kansas to be more willing and able to tackle deep, daunting, adaptive challenges. More than 2000 Kansans have participated in KLC programs. Alumni are exercising leadership on a myriad of issues such as growing stronger local economies, creating cultures of entrepreneurship, tackling poverty and creating infrastructure that supports healthier lifestyles.  Additionally, the organizations alumni hail from – local governments, non-profit organizations, faith communities, schools or community-minded businesses – are benefitting from the leadership of Kansans. While we still have much to learn, our work has generated interest from many inside and outside our state.  As I write, over 50 individuals from across the United States and countries such as Nigeria, Lebanon, Norway, India and Mexico are here spending three days with us to learn about the idea of the KLC and how to create something similar in their community, state or nation. We are now announcing a new initiative – Onward Kansas – that will test our theories and ideas like never before.  Each participant in Onward Kansas will partner with KLC to make progress on a specific challenge.  This partnership will go beyond leadership development and coaching.  We won’t just be advising you, we’ll be joining you.  Your issue will become our issue. Onward Kansas is an individualized experience that provides support for Kansans who are making an impact in their communities and want to significantly improve their influence and effectiveness.  The participant and KLC will work closely together, meeting frequently to leverage the participant’s content knowledge of the issue and KLC’s process knowledge related to adaptive work. A team of support (including a KLC coach, senior staff member, program manager and board member) will be created for each participant.  The team will leverage KLC resources (i.e. facilitation expertise, slots in KLC programs for individuals connected to the issue, communication vehicles, knowledge of the civic context, connection to KLC alumni, etc.) and will share responsibility for planning and exercising leadership on the civic challenge.  Together, we’ll make great progress. This is a special new program for KLC.  We imagine only having a few participants at a time and for the intensive participant experience to last two years.  Think of this as a rigorous, two year, KLC immersion experience for you and the challenge you are tackling.  Working together, we believe the challenge will be well positioned for progress. We hope you will consider partnering with us as we launch this effort. Applications for Onward Kansas are due December 15.  There is no fee associated. Selections will be made by the end of January by the KLC Board of Directors. Contact Keshia Ezerendu, KLC Program Manager (316-712-4961), to apply for this program. Please contact Keshia or myself with questions or thoughts about this new effort.  In addition, please take a moment to “share” this post with others. Onward! Ed O’Malley President and CEO Kansas Leadership Center [email protected] Direct: 316-712-4951