Valerie E. Patton, MA, MSW

It is hard to believe we are midway through 2012! The Initiative has spent the first half of this year working on a five year strategic plan which will grow our programming, our organization and strengthen our financial position. The strategic planning process allows you to take an in depth look of your organization through identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The process gives you an opportunity to look at where you have been and where you currently are. Please take a minute to review our 2011 Report to the Community to see where we have been. We continue to be thankful of the support from our funding community and those we serve. As we continue to evaluate where we are and where we want to go, there is the opportunity to continue to build on our success. Please visit our website for more information about our work!

LEADERSHIP MOMENT – something to ponder…

In the first newsletter, we pulled from Chapter 3 of Strength in the Struggle: Leadership Development for Women by Vashti M. McKenzie. Chapter 3 discussed those extraordinary experiences which have the power to change our lives. This was illustrated by “Dorothy’s Leadership Lessons” based on the century-old children’s classic by L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There were ten leadership lessons to learn and grow from.

As we move forward, a question for you. Was Dorothy a transformational leader? Many would say yes! Dorothy went from playing with Toto to finding her way home and leading three men to their heart’s desire.

What makes a transformational leader? Transformational leadership enhances the motivation, morale and performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms. These include connecting the follower’s sense of identity and self to the mission and the collective identity of the organization; being a role model for the followers that inspires them; challenging followers to take greater ownership for their work, and understanding the strengthens and weaknesses of the followers, so the leader can align followers with tasks that optimize their performance. Dorothy, in her way, assisted the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation. They realigned their perceptions and values and changed their expectations and aspirations. The Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion developed trust, admiration, loyalty and respect for Dorothy because she was willing to work with them to achieve their goals…a brain, a heart, courage and the way home!

There are four elements of transformational leadership:

1. Individualized Consideration – the degree to which the leader attends to each follower’s needs and acts as a mentor or coach to the follower’s concerns or needs.

2. Intellectual Stimulation – the degree to which the leader challenges assumption, takes risk and solicits followers’ ideas.

3. Inspirational Motivation – the degree to which the leader articulates a vision that is appealing and inspiring to followers.

4. Idealized Influence – provides a role model for highest ethical behavior, instills pride, gains respect and trust.

Some tips to draw from as it relates to transformational leadership:

1. Develop a challenging and attractive vision, together with those on your team.

2. Tie the vision to a strategy for its achievement.

3. Develop the vision, specify and translate it to actions.

4. Express confidence, decisiveness and optimism about the vision and its implementation.

5. Realize the vision through small planned steps and small successes in the path for its full implementation.

So, are you a transformational leader? Know that the power is within! You, too, can be a transformational leader in the workplace, in the home and in the community!

SOURCE: McKenzie, Vashti M. Strength in the Struggle: Leadership Development for Women. Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2001.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath

Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe For Business And Personal Success by Kevin Freiberg, Jackie Freiberg and Tom Peters


Fellows Culminating Event ~ September 20, 2012
SLBDI/IFAA Golf Outing ~ October 9, 2012

To Be Announced

Human Resources Symposium ~ Fall 2012


  • Congratulations to Fellows Alum Pat Coleman who was promoted from COO to CEO at Behavioral Health Response.
  • Fellows Alum Delmar Turner has become an Account Manager for Keefe Group.
  • Current Fellow Jason Harris was promoted to Category Director-Dairy at Save-A-Lot.
  • Congratulations to Executive Director of SLBDI Valerie E. Patton who received the 2012 St. Louis Community Empowerment Foundation Salute to Women in Leadership Business Leadership Award.
  • Congratulations to Fellows Alum Cheryl Milton Roberts as recipient of the 2012 NAACP Most Inspiring St. Louisans Award presented by the St. Louis County Branch NAACP

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