I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport reflecting upon the International Leadership Association Conference where I met these intelligent young men and women. They participated in a Student Case Competition in the Undergraduate Division, with a $1,000 cash prize on the table. They were tasked with “presenting a specific set of strategic recommendations that address key issues in a real world case involving a contemporary leadership issue of their choice.” They chose Community Policing. I had the opportunity to speak with them during my Discussions Matter roundtable, and they were then kind enough to mention what they’d learned from me during their presentation. I was so proud of these young people. Not for the mention – which was very flattering – but because they approached this topic with lenses that represent both law enforcement and the community. This is the same set of lenses that I’ve maintained in my development of Discussions Matter. Improving the status quo is not a them or us agenda, it is a WE agenda. As they presented their case, they expressed genuine and passionate concern and conviction for seeing positive change, and in working with the Atlanta Police Department to realize that change. They addressed elephants in the room and demonstrated courage that we would all benefit from showing as we work together toward changing the status quo. I listened intently to their presentation and was filled with hope as I observed each of them present. I’m looking forward to seeing their impact. They are our future.
There were 15 teams in the competition. These Gonzaga University students won. I knew they would. In my mind, they’d already won whether provided the award or not. Discussions Matter.