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New Leaders Council

Kicking Off Our Second Institute

On January 23, 2016, we launched our second institute with a new class of twenty-one fellows. They reflect the diversity of of Houston not only by the usual demographic measures, but also through industry. They work in government, non-profits, and academic settings across sectors such as advocacy, arts, business, civil rights, education, finance, and health care. Twenty-one young leaders have committed to spending one weekend each month for the next five months to learn about life entrepreneurship, communications, fundraising, political campaigns, and new media. Not only will they learn skills to equip them to bring passion projects to fruition, but they also are learning from each other and building relationships.


This weekend, Curriculum Co-Chairs Diana Featherston and Michael Webb welcomed the fellows to the institute. New Advisory Board member Lisa Sanger Blinn welcomed NLC Houston to the Rice BioScience Research Collaborative site. Then, Chapter Director Anne Sung and NLC Houston Co-Founder Brandon Dudley explained the history of NLC.

Most of the weekend was spent exploring personal history and values. National NLC Board Member Leslie Barkemeyer escaped a historic blizzard to join us and help our fellows articulate life goals and visions. She walked them through exercises to reflect on their personal histories, share them with each other, and define their values. Advisory Board member Blake Ellis led a discussion on the history of progressivism. A few fellows closed the first day heading out to grab a drink together at a Midtown watering hole.

Day two started off with Selections Co-Chair Wesley Stewart explaining the capstone projects. Then, Leslie Barkemeyer furthered themes from the previous day. Now that the fellows had reflected on themselves, it was time to create their visions of the future. They created detailed narratives of their perfect day. Then, they listened to each others’ visions and provided constructive criticism.

Finance Co-Chair Shelby Hansen and Texas Expansion Director Andrea Greer led the final discussion about the fellows’ fundraiser. We’re starting the planning now so we can be sure to meet our fundraising goals. The new class has large shoes to fill! Last year’s inaugural class raised enough money to seed three NLC chapters. How many more can we seed this year?

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