News from the Field: ARC Innovator making an impact in Harlem

Brian Leung ’12,  ARC Innovator at Harlem RBI (now DREAM Charter School)

Brian Leung ’12

Brian Leung is a senior analyst at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. On a daily basis, he uses analytical and statistical methods to lead and evaluate projects that minimize disparities and injustice in the City’s youth population. He volunteered as an ARC Innovator with Harlem RBI (now DREAM Charter School) in 2016-17.

How did you discover ARC Innovators?
I learned about the program from the Princeton Alumni listserve. I’d been looking for an education-based pro bono project and it seemed to be a great fit given the skills I use in my day job. At work, I frequently deal with underserved populations. I live about ten blocks away from Harlem RBI, so this project hit close to home because it’s in my community. In the Mayor’s Office, my work is mile-high. At Harlem RBI, I was working on the ground and making a tangible difference.

What did you do at Harlem RBI (now DREAM Charter School)?
They needed help with choosing an e-learning solution for distributing materials to faculty, staff, parents, and students. My final deliverable was a 50-page slide deck ranking each popular solution on the market for the implementation leader and principal. I spent about 80 hours over the course of many weekends for four months.

How did your assistance help Harlem RBI (now DREAM Charter School)?
The person who would implement the chosen tool didn’t have enough hours in the day to do the research himself, so I saved him a lot of time. In addition, I provided an outsider’s perspective and strategic insight.

How did the ARC Innovator project benefit you?
Their feedback helped me develop as a private consultant. While ARC Innovators is usually promoted to seasoned professionals, this AlumniCorps program provides opportunities that should be leveraged by both new and experienced professionals.

Dream Charter School

DREAM Charter School (formerly Harlem RBI) is a model learning community with high expectations, a strong culture of care and a vision of student success and excellence. DREAM was established in 2008 with 100 scholars in kindergarten and first grade. Today, they serve 486 scholars in PreK through eighth grade. They will open their doors to their first ninth grade class in fall 2017.

2016-17 Emerging Leaders Update: 3 Sessions down, 5 more to go!

Emerging Leaders session 3. DC

The Emerging Leaders professional development program is designed to help aspiring leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors develop the leadership capabilities, management skills, and confidence to advance their professional contributions and accelerate their careers. The program is intended to yield tangible, near-term value to participants (and their employers) and support their longer term leadership development. Emerging Leaders is currently offered in New York City and Washington, DC. The program is designed to accommodate those with full-time jobs and requires employer cooperation as well. The program runs for a total of 8 full-day, monthly sessions from June 2016-February 2017 (skipping August).

EL in DC, session3
Emerging Leaders in Washington, DC during session 3 on September 13

This year’s sessions kicked off on June 23 in NYC and Washington, DC. Both sessions focused on the 32 participants’ understanding their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) profile and its implications. In NYC, participants used the tool to reflect on their strengths, with a few discovering that their professional weaknesses don’t have to be a “source of shame.” Leaders also appreciated the peer coaching process, which helped them to define their emotional intelligence. Yael Sivi, the facilitator in NYC, used personal examples and learnings from her time as a therapist, while Executive Director of Partnership with Children, Margaret Crotty’s talk on Leadership Lessons left participants wishing that they had even more time with her.

Elizabeth Lindsey
Volunteer Program Co-Leader Elizabeth Lindsey, ED of Byte Back  was a guest speaker at session 3 in Washington, DC

In Washington, DC, Judith Sandalow, Executive Director of The Children’s Law Center, gave a talk on Leadership Lessons which provided concrete examples from the real world. Facilitator Hilary Joel explained that the MBTI assessment allows you to understand your own preferences, which positions you to practice adapting and expand your comfort zone.

Session 2, held on July 19 in both NYC and Washington DC, focused on 360 degree feedback reports. In NYC, guest speakers Daniel Oscar, Executive Director, Center for Supportive Schools, and Shena Elrington ’04, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice Policy at the Center for Popular Democracy spoke about evolving and growing as a leader. Participants reported enjoying the process and the community of people they’re sharing it with. In DC George Jones, CEO of Bread for the City, discussed evolving and growing as a leader, while Hilary coached participants on receiving feedback constructively: “We forget our power of choice: which feedback to accept, discard, appreciate, explore…”

Emerging Leaders session 3. DC
Emerging leaders engaged in peer coaching during session 3 in Washington. DC.

Session 3 on September 13 could be called “Peer work day,” as participants spent a lot of time peer coaching each other on their stretch goals. They also discussed the difference between leading and managing, concluding that the best leaders are also effective managers, and top managers demonstrate good leadership. In Washington, DC, Pyper Davis, Executive Director of Educare DC, and Elizabeth Lindsey, Executive Director of Byte Back, spoke about managing people and delegating effectively. In NYC, David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement spoke about management 101. There was lively discussion around how to give feedback effectively, with an emphasis on creating a safe climate in the work place. 

Want to get a sneak peak of the Emerging Leaders’ reading packet? Check out The New Science of Building Great Teams  by Alex “Sandy” Pentland.

To learn more about this year’s Emerging Leaders, check out the Leader’s Digest

Regional Updates for September 2016

Region Map 2016

AlumniCorps currently operates in seven regions across the country. Our local area committees recruit and match mentors, organize social events and seminars, and serve as guides to fellows navigating a new city. If you are interested in volunteering, please email info@alumnicorps.org.

lcolbyhyland16-ucsf_rramiefathy16-ucsf
In the Bay Area, Colby Hyland ’16 and Ramie Rathy ’16 were placed at UCSF. Here they’re gathered with other fellows at the Bay Area kick off event, August 2016

Bay Area: We had an orientation and welcome dinner for fellows in August, in which former fellows Amantia Muhedini and Abigail Kelly lead a workshop session to brainstorm and discuss their overall goals and hopes for the year. All fellows attended and it was a great way to kick off the year. This month, we are hosting a behind-the-scenes experience at the San Francisco Opera. Fellows and mentors have been invited to a dress rehearsal of the opera, “Don Pasquale,” and will have a Q&A session with SF Opera Artistic Planning Manager, Sean Waugh.

Boston: We welcomed the new fellows to city by hosting a happy hour with the Princeton regional association. It was a success and many of our former and current fellows attended. We’ll have a welcome event for the fellows on Cape Cod, hosted generously by committee member Tom Flynn. There’ll be an informal BBQ where we’ll talk about the expectations for the year, followed by some fun activities around the Cape.

PP55 Chicago
PP55 kick off event in Chicago. Fellows, mentors, and volunteers all gathered on August 28, 2016

Chicago: On Sunday, August 28th, we hosted an orientation retreat for our incoming fellows. PP55 Mentor Carol Obertubbesing ‘73 introduced the fellows to the city’s history from the vantage point of the Chicago River on a Chicago Architecture Foundation boat cruise! Sherry Holland led the mentors through their own orientation program, sharing tips for connecting to their mentees. Afterwards, fellows and mentors met up for dinner at the home of Sally and Vince Anderson ‘65.

On August 31st, fellows from PP55 and the University of Chicago and Northwestern Public Interest Programs (PIP) came together for a “PIP-nic” in Millennium Park. Our seminar series kicked off on Wednesday, September 8th, covering topics like public interest, asset-based community development, and workforce development.

Michael Moorin ’16 (left); Joelle Deleveaux '16 (center); and Shira Cohen '16 (right) at the Washington DC PP55 kick off event in August 2016.
Michael Moorin ’16 (left); Joelle Deleveaux ’16 (center); and Shira Cohen ’16 (right) at the Washington DC PP55 kick off event in August 2016.

Washington, DC: We recently hosted a kick-off event to introduce our new committee members and determine participants’ interest in topics/ideas for this year’s programming. This event was hosted by our area committee advisor, Tonya Miles and was attended my P55 fellows, Emerging Leaders, mentors, and alums. While at CityBridge, Joelle Deleveaux is exploring potential solutions for the charter school facilities crunch in D.C. For his part, Michael Moorin has begun to do intensive research into the education marketplace in DC and school incubation.

To see more photos from the 2016 PP55 Welcome events, visit our Facebook album

What is the impact of a Project 55 Fellowship? What partner organizations have told us…

What is the impact of a Project 55 Fellowship?

Princeton AlumniCorps, through the Project 55 Fellowship, Emerging Leaders, and ARC Innovators programs, provides ways for people to engage at every age.

Here are just a few of the many experiences that partner organization supervisors and contacts through the years have shared.

“All PP55 fellows I have worked with have been smart, capable, positive, hard-working, and great team members. They are always wonderful! Our fellow was WONDERFUL!!!  She had a great attitude, was a hard worker, and was eager to learn.”

Corey Merrill, Fourth Grade, Head of School, Community Day Public Charter School, Lawrence, MA   

“It’s great to have people coming in who are hard-working and enthusiastic, who are open to learning about the sector but who also bring new ideas and questions.”

Katherine Canning, Education Through Music, Inc., New York

“The [fellows] are always hard-working, smart, dedicated, and help infuse a lot of energy into the overall group.”

Meredith Buxton, UCSF Breast Care Center, San Francisco

“Our Fellow was a very strong staff person and performed just as strongly, if not better, than an entry-level staff member.”

Ilana Zafran, Umoja Student Development Corporation, Chicago

“We are delighted to continue partnering with AlumniCorps and look forward to adding a new fellow next year. The most worthwhile thing about the Project 55 program is having bright, energetic, curious young people adding value to our organization.”

Ann Ginsberg, Aeras, Rockville, MD

“PP55 Fellows are bright, committed, hard-working, ethical and passionate do-gooders. The Fellows are the reason a host organization ought to cast its lot with PP55. PP55 Fellows are of such high quality that any host organization smart enough to organize itself to take advantage of this great resource will find itself completely blessed.”

John Horan, North Lawndale College Prep, Chicago

“We have enjoyed our partnership with AlumniCorps. They provide training that allows the fellows to grow professionally during their time with the agency. It is great to work with the young talent. Our fellow was capable of producing high-level work early on in his fellowship and grew to the point of needing less direct supervision to accomplish tasks.”

Matt Vanover, Director of Public Education and Deputy Superintendent, Illinois State Board of Education

“From our perspective it is wonderful to have the services of a bright, motivated recent graduate for a year. As a non-profit organization, there is always more work than there are people to do it. As an organization that relies heavily on scientific analysis, having skilled, educated Fellows gives us a significant boost in being able to track and analyze literature. It is also always beneficial for an organization like ours to develop relationships with students who will go on to become the next generation of scholars and professionals.”

Dr. John Balbus, Environmental Defense, Washington, D.C.

The Impact of the Emerging Leaders Program

What is the impact of the Emerging Leaders program?

Princeton AlumniCorps, through the Project 55 Fellowship, Emerging Leaders, and ARC Innovators programs, provides ways for people to engage at every age. Here are just a few of the many experiences this year’s Emerging Leaders shared in their year-end evaluations.

This program is such a unique opportunity. I haven’t seen other spaces offering this level of support for people in this stage of their careers. I learned a lot about myself which in turn helped me understand myself as a colleague, supervisee, and leader. I learned so much in this program and I feel like I’ll continue to unpack information or have things “click” months from now.

Emerging Leaders is an outstanding program and I would definitely recommend it for nonprofit managers who have a direct-reports and are in clear leadership positions.

I would tell prospective Emerging Leaders that they are about to embark on a life-changing journey in which they will look deeply inward and learn that they possess the qualities to become a successful leader.

I so appreciated the investment in time and space for me to view my work and my organization more objectively.

I loved this program, and feel very fortunate that I had the chance to participate and to meet this amazing community.

In the back of my mind I had always assumed that the people who were the most knowledgeable and technically skilled in a particular field were the best leaders. I no longer think that. This course was key in helping me to recognize the value of emotional and social intelligence, vision, and empathy – skills which I had undervalued in myself and now take pride in and hope to cultivate further.

Great program. I can’t thank you all enough!

Hilary is amazing!

Yael is amazing!

Emerging Leaders Spotlight: Malena Attar

Malena Attar is the Development Associate at Good Grief and a participant in this year’s Emerging Leaders program in New York. Good Grief’s mission is to provide unlimited and free support to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of a mother, father, sister, or brother through peer support programs, education, and advocacy. Malena’s role combines her passion for community engagement and the advocacy needed to ensure that no child ever has to grieve alone. This is an excerpt from the post she wrote for The Leading Edge, the AlumniCorps blog.

Malena Attar
Malena Attar

I had high expectations for my experience with the Emerging Leaders program, but I can honestly say that I had no idea how life-changing it would be.

Before our first session, we were asked to obtain feedback on our strengths. Only our strengths. Before our first day together, Emerging Leaders was al- ready sending us a message that would be made very clear: “You are already a leader. You already possess the unique strengths that you bring to the environments around you.” We have gotten this far because we already are leaders, we are just simply unaware of how to position ourselves so that we can best show our strengths and succeed.

The beauty of this program is that it meets once a month over the span of nine months. As we explored forms of communication, leadership styles, managing up, networking, fundraising, and public speaking, we always looped back to what kind of leader we were. It is a lot of work to undo the notion that a leader speaks, leads, works, looks a specific way. As each of the leaders in the program slowly emerged into their better-defined selves, everyone benefited. Everyone in the program shared the struggles, rethinking, perseverance, and successes of each peer. In learning to work with our varied professional teams, we were evolving into our own diverse and powerful team.

This would have been impossible without the exceptional work of the AlumniCorps staff and board, and most importantly of our facilitator, Yael Sivi. We all knew Yael would be encouraging us to stretch further than we thought we could, and that we would grow. We did. The announcement of a number of promotions, new opportunities, and workplace improvements filled the air as we met each month.

I am so grateful for this opportunity, for Princeton AlumniCorps, and for our facilitator Yael. In being accepted into this program, each leader started on a journey they didn’t know was possible. A journey with a network of hundreds of accomplished professionals, a wealth of knowledge, a family of peers that will continue to grow alongside us, and as the leaders we didn’t realize we could be.