A Note from the Founder

I was privileged to have a life journey that led to building this leadership series. I never imagined I would be able to work with such wonderful people, who are being the change we all need. I grew up in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family of ten, in a diverse surrounding community with other types of belief systems. I encountered many viewpoints, which taught me to communicate with different personalities and perspectives. I understood that fostering cultural empathy and inclusion are critical and essential parts of the new realities we need to create.

In the years that followed, I lived among many different communities that offered contrasting, often contradictory, worldviews, locally and internationally. I learned that my truth is not the only truth, and I fostered a curiosity for understanding the process of making meaning, the integration that expands our sense of self and allows us to ultimately learn that human needs, aspirations, and struggles are common worldwide. I learned that we need to deepen our understanding of how social, environmental, and political factors affect our sense of self and our communities.

Additionally, I was exposed to violence on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. To better understand why there was so much violence, I met thousands of people working on critical issues concerning the well-being of humanity. Through this experience, I discovered that the self is a part of a larger system that we are all creating together—interconnectedness. In order to make a meaningful difference and get measurable results, we need to understand this synergy, achieve a collective mastery, and manifest our values.

I was also privileged to obtain a diverse higher education, from community college to a four-year college to an Ivy League university, while working on the front lines of change. My education taught me that academia is necessary but not sufficient, and that there are infinite and important things to learn through experience and through our collective wisdom. Through engaging with dozens of cultures and countries, I witnessed leaders who, despite their passions and sense of urgency, needed a comprehensive skill-set to create sustainable societal change.

These experiences (and more) inspired me to establish this leadership series, which is based on the foundations of action research on the frontiers of change and lessons learned through implementation. All of this is enriched by the ongoing exchange of ideas and best practices throughout our network of hundreds of leaders and practitioners worldwide.

Through all of this, I have learned that in order to have an impact, we need to have a deep integrity and a true knowledge of self, and to embody those qualities when working with communities. Most importantly, we must dare to imagine what we want to accomplish. Since change comes from the inside out, we need to use our imaginations to create the critical capacity needed for large-scale impact. It is our awareness of our influences and of our mistakes, our growth and our participation, that allows us to create our new realities.

There is an urgent need to build the capacities of a new generation of leaders who can design and generate responses that source from their most deeply held values and can strategically address immediate, systemic, and root causes. Through this leadership series, participants will understand both visible and hidden sources of action and inaction, and the attitudes that determine them. They will understand factors and forces that create and legitimize structures, and the systems and cultural norms that inhibit or enhance progress. They will enhance their own personal awareness, realizing that this is the most critical element of social transformation. They will keep informed of the complex emerging global systems and have the courage to take action that creates a better world for everyone.

The rapid changes and increasing complexity of the world today require an integration of ideas that are simple, but not simplistic. It is clear to me that if we look at problems through multiple frameworks that connect seamlessly, we can identify the emergence of priorities and potential conflicts. This opens up new possibilities for action that channel destructive energies into positive ones, that contribute to constructive patterns of strategic actions, and that enable us to create the system shifts we all need. I invite you to join us.

Kobi Skolnick