Expressions such as, “He’s his own worst enemy,” have their basis in the wonders of the human mind and its ability to hide reality and self-awareness. The Transformational Leadership Summit at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration is an ambitious and creative plan to jump-start positive change in the community by first jump-starting positive change in individuals by making them aware of the subtleties of their lives, how they think about themselves and how the conversations they have when alone can act as barriers to the expression of their better selves.
Both the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and Super Foodtown have had their employees, from presidents to porters, take the course , facilitated by the Executive Coaching Group, and found it so beneficial to their organizations that they felt it had to be brought to the surrounding community. We spoke with Restoration President and CEO Colvin Grannum about the summit and asked what was it about the experience that made he and Noah Katz, president of Super Foodtown, conclude that they had to bring this to the community.
“There are things about the way people behave, how they see themselves and interact with others that has a lot to do with concepts of self-mastery,” said Mr. Grannum. “About the kinds of conversations you have with yourself and others, and in the broader context, how do you interact with other people and create projects, and drive them to completion.” Being shown how to step outside and see themselves led to many ‘Aha’ moments and feelings of big advances in my own life,” said Grannum.
Asked about what transformations he looked for in the community he said, “Ultimately, what we want to build is a better neighborhood. We are primarily interested in getting in the room with those who are committed to making a difference. For too many years, we have not been using our collective energy to have a breakthrough. Resources are getting tighter and we have to use the resources we have more creatively and collectively.”
It was Noah Katz who first had his people go through the course and then wend and did another three days with Restoration’s group. “He was very enthusiastic about doing it in Bedford-Stuyvesant,” said Grannum, so much so that Super Foodtown is underwriting the $995 3-day course (August 17-19, 9am-6pm) bringing the cost to $475. This is still a lot of money, however, scholarships are available and those who are very interested should call. The primary concern of Restoration are the outcomes that are possible. In literature about the seminar they say, “Transformational change is needed in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and New York City —the type of change that is generated by ‘citizen-leaders.’ Transformation can be achieved onlythrough committed mass concerted action. The type of action Martin Luther King, Jr. led and we see exemplified by peaceful but resolute protests in Egypt and Syria. Every ‘citizen-leader’ of Bedford-Stuyvesant is being called to commit to and be accountable for achieving a few simple transformational goals.” Grannum adds that “Most important for us is to make a breakthrough on the education piece, so that we can get these household incomes up. These communities are great places to live and will be increasingly more so. The question is who is going to live here. It’s about money, education and skills. There will always be low-income and affordable housing, but the future of Bedford-Stuyvesant is in the well-educated and well-informed.”
We suggested that people of African descent may find these seminars particularly useful given the history of negative self-imagery., Grannum agreed, saying, “If you feel you’re a victim, how much power do you have to collaborate? That’s why some partnerships and plans fall apart. If you have two people who think of themselves as victims working on a project, that project is doomed to failure.”
The outcomes that Noah Katz foresees is “Every family will have a home, every child will go to college, every person will have a job and every street will be crime- free.” These are goals we can all agree on. For further information, you can call Doris or Rachel at 718-636-6930. The course takes place
There will be a conference call on Friday, Aug 5 – 2:30 PM for those wanting more information. Dial in 308-344 6400 code 300794#