The Doniphan Leadership Institute graduated its 23nd class June 27 at William Jewell College. The next cohort begins Sept. 7.
Co-sponsored by the EDC and the Pryor Center for Leadership Development at William Jewell College, the program develops advanced leaders from throughout the Greater Kansas City area. A six-month executive training program, the institute focuses on leadership development and vision. Key elements of the program include leadership development theory, 360 Degree Feedback Assessment with Consultation, in-depth group discussions and experiential learning activities.
The program’s strongest advocates are graduates, including those who completed the spring 2018 session in June. The graduates represented a variety of organizations and businesses: international corporations Ingredion and Hallmark; North Kansas City, Children’s Mercy and Liberty hospitals; Mid-Continent Public Library; several foundations; and both Clay County and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department. Clay County and Northland residents were among the graduates and were joined by a resident of Buckner and one from Merriam, Kan.
What They Say
Will Akin, Emergency Division commander for the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, was one of several who praised fellow students, as well as the program. “What I learned from my classmates was absolutely amazing,” he said. “It was something I could absolutely apply to my life.”
Kara Drury of Claycomo and assistant manager for Mid-Continent Public Library, appreciated the chance to learn and take risks. “It was a safe space to be open and learn,” she said. “It’s a wonderful program.”
Greg Garcia, director of emergency services for North Kansas City Hospital and a North Kansas City resident, cited one lesson that proved especially true for him. “One of our discussions included how luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I feel lucky to have been involved.”
Mike Gaudin of Children’s Mercy Hospital was among those who were surprised at the variety of effective leadership styles. “I didn’t expect to learn all of these different ways to be a leader,” noted Gaudin, a Kearney resident. “That really surprised me.”
Sean Milleson, Clay County finance manager, was surprised at one of the program’s takeaways. “I think this will really help me be a better leader,” he said. “I learned to step back and analyze more.” Milleson resides in Liberty.
An assistant Kearney school principal and Kearney resident, Erek Noland cited specific parts of the program like 360 Feedback Assessment with Consultation. “You learn to take time to reflect. After that, you learn to like differences in style. It’s a real eye-opener.”
Liberty Hospital patient accounts Manager Jessica Rhodus also learned to look inward more. “It forced me to step back and consider my values. I also realized a need to step back and focus on my life and how it works.” Rhodus lives in Liberty.
Mathew Taylor, Hallmark section manager and Kearney resident, noted that he has a master’s degree and is honored to work with a number of entrepreneurs and business owners from whom he’s learned a lot. “But my Doniphan classmates really taught me a lot,” he said. “Everyone is unique, and everyone has their strengths.”
Weatherby Lake resident Laura Welch of the Welch Family Foundation summed up the graduates’ perspectives well. “You learn so much. I know I’m walking away with skill sets I didn’t know I had and how to use them. Alone, I could not get the answers. With all of you, I did.”
The dinner event was held in the college’s Yates/Gill Union and included speakers Kevin Shaffstall, director of the Pryor Center for Leadership Development; Joe Millas, guest instructor; and Tom Vansaghi, professor of Business and Leadership at the college.