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Julia Fabris McBride: A Civic Culture Where Everyone Leads

by | Sep 13, 2022 | Newsroom

Dear KLC partners and friends,

Thank you for the positive energy and well-wishes so many of you have sent our way in the wake of Ed O’Malley’s move to Kansas Health Foundation. Congratulations, Ed!

So, yes! KLC is in transition. The board of directors has asked me to fill the big shoes of the founder as they undertake a thorough search for our next president and CEO. The board has engaged the Bryant Group to assist them in the search. You can expect us to share a job description shortly.

Meanwhile, this is the perfect moment to pause and appreciate all that Ed accomplished in 15 years at KLC. The list is long. Today, I am most grateful for the clarity of his vision for KLC, and for the dedication with which he built the talented, optimistic, and committed team, KLC’s staff, board, and contracted teachers, coaches, facilitators and writers who remain to carry that vision toward fruition.

KLC is strong, forward-looking, and as ambitious as ever.

  • Our mission is to foster civic leadership for healthier, stronger, more prosperous communities.
  • Our vision is a civic culture that is healthy, productive, and well-positioned to make progress on the toughest challenges and thrive.

Watch a video version of the rest of Julia’s letter below.

When Everyone Leads, We Make More Progress on our Common Challenges

When Everyone Leads Book Cover Image During the 10 months prior to his departure, Ed and I co-authored a book called When Everyone Leads: How Tough Challenges Get Seen and Solved. It is due for release in January and available for pre-order now from Bard Press (or call me to get an advance copy and talk about how you might use it to develop leadership capacity in your organization or company).

When Everyone Leads is part leadership manifesto, part call to action, and a whole lot about how to build cultures where everyone can see and seize their moments to lead. We dig into the KLC leadership principles, making our case for why today’s toughest challenges require all of us to step up to the activity of leadership. The book is chock full of examples (inspired by real people and situations) and tips for recognizing and navigating leadership traps and pitfalls. When Everyone Leads has cartoons, charts, and clear direction about what you can do right away to make more progress on what you care about most.

For that is KLC’s purpose: We are here to help you make more progress on what matters. We don’t claim to have all the answers. But we do have experience, research to back up our claims, and useful clues about what works and what doesn’t when you’re facing a tough, adaptive challenge. We still have a lot to learn, of course, and it energizes me to know that you are reading this letter, signaling once again, that there are many people who believe in the KLC mission.

You Can Help Build a Civic Culture Where Everyone Leads

When we take the time to engage new voices, we make progress. When we reach beyond our bubble, we see more perspectives and more options. When each of us owns our part of a problem, we find new ways forward. When we consciously connect across difference, we unleash potential and expand possibilities. Progress on today’s toughest challenges requires us to find ways to move in the same direction, differently. Progress requires a culture where everyone leads.

We are in this work together. You have a part to play in making the KLC vision a reality. Let’s see and seize more moments to lead. Let’s build a civic culture where people who think differently about big issues can talk productively and find common ground, where people from different backgrounds create healthy community together, where even those with wildly divergent values can collaborate to craft public policy that works for everyone, that serves the common good.

You have caught the spark. You see the possibility. You see that we can build cultures – in Kansas and beyond – full of people who understand that we each have the power and the responsibility to lead. We are all responsible. Not just the people at the top of the hierarchies. Not just the boss. Not just the governor. Not just the president or the CEO. To build communities where everyone thrives, we each have a part to play.

Julia Fabris McBride
Interim President and CEO
Chief Leadership Development Officer

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