{21 Progress}

People from diverse communities—immigrants, working people, people of color, women, and young folks—all have powerful experiences that include many of the things necessary for successful leadership. The role of 21 Progress is to support and develop these experiences into leadership that positively impacts the greater community. When we co-create with diverse communities in shared spaces, we’re naturally at different stages in our leadership development.

Many people who have little previous exposure to leadership development won’t readily identify themselves as leaders. They may be at the fundamental stage of awareness, where they can recognize positional leaders such as work supervisors, parents, or elected officials. Others may be at the exploration stage with a desire to make a difference through involvement in various activities. Someone can then be considered a self-identified leader when they take on roles (committees, leadership positions, etc.)

The key transition period in the leadership development process occurs when one’s definition of leadership shifts from a single “position” to a community-based process, drawing connections and meanings from their life experiences to inspire action toward social change. A team leader begins seeing leadership as a shared process beyond a single, positional leader.

A community leader will take it further by honing in on their personal passions, such as a particular social justice topic or a form of artistic expression, to develop leadership in the people around them. At the next stage of leadership identity is the BOLD leader, who is positively influential within any position in their communities/groups/organizations based on their proficient balance between proven leadership tools and their own, powerful lived experiences.