Effectiveness and ethical practices often seem to be at odds, in professional environments, whether civic or commercial. The tendency to put organizational needs over the needs of people and their communities can lead to disastrous results. With appropriate training, support, and ongoing dialogue, leaders can find ways to hold the stories of their publics, alongside the story of the stresses and strains of maintaining an institution. Over the years, many organizations have created fellowship programs for emergent leadership, to instill a sense of ethics and integrity of purpose, in young professionals.
The Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program grew out of the Sacramento, California-based Nehemiah Corporation of America. Nehemiah is the largest African American owned housing development organization in the United States. StoryCenter was invited in 2009 and 2010 to lead cohorts of the Leadership Program in digital storytelling and StoryWork, as part of their first retreat. In the two sessions, we supported participants in creating brief personal statement stories, addressing the inspiration for their work and lives. Participants also received their own iPods, loaded with tutorials, stock images, stock audio, and StoryWork resources.
The Nehemiah Corporation is sharing these powerful stories internally, as part of the ongoing Leadership Program's community discussion about story, ethics, and technology.