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Royal Roads, United Way partner on Leadership Vancouver

January 9, 2012
Tags: leadership

It's back - with a new name and innovative partnership. United Way Leadership Vancouver will launch this spring. The former Leadership Vancouver program that trained emerging leaders - from CEOs to well-known labour and social activists - is being revitalized to achieve positive change in communities and organizations.

Featuring a new curriculum, focused approach to civic engagement, and insight into Metro Vancouver's most pressing social challenges, United Way Leadership Vancouver builds on the success of its predecessor. Offering essential leadership skills and hands-on community involvement, the program is expected to attract diverse participants from private, public, union and non-profit organizations.

Deborah Irvine, Chief Operating Officer of the United Way of the Lower Mainland, says the new program - delivered in partnership with Royal Roads University (RRU) - looks both to the past and future.

"If events from the last year teach us anything, it's that changing a community - for good - demands ideas and actions from all parts of society," she said. "Lasting change, however, also requires more.  We need strong and creative leadership, whether the focus is on a neighbourhood, a particular workplace, or the wider community where we live."

Leadership Vancouver previously operated from 1992 to 2007, providing learning experiences to people who subsequently made countless contributions to the community.   Alumni have included Leah George Wilson, co-chair of the 2010 - 2012 First Nations Summit, Nadir Mohamed, President & CEO Rogers Communications Inc., and Robert Safrata, CEO Novex Delivery Solutions and member of the City of Vancouver's Greenest City Team.

In deciding to acquire and revitalize the program, Irvine said United Way sought a partner that had an outstanding record in leadership teaching and research. She said RRU's own commitment to community service was a big part of the draw.

The new program will be facilitated by Royal Roads associate faculty who has extensive experience in leadership theory, community engagement, structured dialogue, and action research. With classes held at The Ismaili Centre in Burnaby from April to July, participants will strengthen core leadership skills, while exploring social issues affecting Metro Vancouver. The program will also feature a community project so that participants can put their new skills and insight to work as they learn.

Zoe MacLeod, Director of the Centre for Applied Leadership and Management at RRU, says the collaboration between United Way and RRU, in itself, demonstrates what is possible when different kinds of expertise come together.

"It is vital that we build healthy and sustainable communities together, as that's where the challenges of the future will be solved," says MacLeod.  "Working with United Way to revitalize Leadership Vancouver is an example of how strong and vibrant leadership can grow to embrace an entire community."

United Way Leadership Vancouver is open to 40 participants.  Those who complete the program will be eligible to apply for academic credit toward RRU's Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Management. 

For media queries, contact:

Communications officer Doug Ozeroff, 250.391.2526, cell 250.812.5065

Photos available upon request.