Leading change to create better communities



It’s October, and I think of some very wise words someone shared with me from Nelson Mandela, that “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.

One of the things I admire about the Lao leadership style in our community is that we prefer a modest form. We want to get work done, we want to improve other people’s lives, and credit is not the important issue. It is change.

This last few months I have spent time working on good civic engagement questions development and testing for our community. I have been in conversation with community members: meeting with them and listening to them, interviewing them to see not just what is wrong, but what are good opportunities for us. I think there are many wonderful ideas but we need to find a way to harness this.

In my studies, I find one-on-one is a more effective way to work with people.  At the Lao Assistance Center, we want to be able to find at least one University graduate student who is interested in this type of civic engagement work. We are considering developing some new education materials, creating media about the basic US government systems and how they and the local government work. We also want to work together to create a few media education tools about the civic engagement which are easy to understand and enjoyable to watch.

For me, I am working with my Lao community in North Minneapolis and others in the city of Minneapolis to inform them about the upcoming vote in November. I’d really like to see a big turnout for Lao voters this year. This year we will have the election on the ward 5th city council, and also the Mayor.  Both sides need to have a chance to learn from each other and building a good relationship. On October 8, 2013 we hope to have many of our community attend a Mayoral Candidate Forum, to learn their approaches to leadership and what they see as the future for Minneapolis. I hope you can join us!

We are currently in the middle of continuing our Lao Leadership Institute and I want to thank all of the participants who will then hopefully go on to become members of advisory committees and board of directors for many other causes and organizations that have interests that match their own. Together, we can build cities, communities and transform them into a great place to live, learn, work and play. If you’d like to be involved in the next cohort, please contact me.

Thank you, and have a good month!