An Important Leadership 2020 Update

In November, The Federation’s 13th cohort of Leadership 2020 graduates completed the program. They joined the ranks over 400 alumni from across BC who have participated since 2011. Around the same time, we started to plan The Federation’s initiatives and resource allocation for this upcoming year. As part of that work, The Federation staff team and board of directors engaged in a difficult conversation about Leadership 2020 and, in the end, we decided that 2019 would be the last year that our leadership development program would be offered.

Harvesting and honouring…

We continue to believe that the kinds of learning, skill development, and perspective-shifting that have been a core part of the Leadership 2020 program remain relevant and necessary for those working BC’s social care sector. We know there is still a need for such learning because many of our most recent graduates want to encourage their colleagues to attend.

So why stop now if the need is still there? For many of you, the answer will not be a surprise. After many years of making adjustments, seeking external funding, and experimenting with new approaches (including a shorter program length), offering this program is simply no longer feasible in this sector’s current funding environment. The Federation board has been supportive of investing funds from our organization’s general revenue to offset certain program costs, but this is not a sustainable long-term strategy.

Over the years, we have made various adjustments to the program to reduce costs where it was possible, but Leadership 2020 was never that expensive of a program considering what it offered. The unfortunate truth is that, in spite of our best efforts to make it accessible and affordable, most organizations in this sector just don’t have the money to participate, no matter how much they may want to.

As a result, the board, Federation staff, and hosting team were faced with the prospect of changing Leadership 2020 to such an extent that it would no longer resemble the program that has helped so many. We would have had to lose the very elements that make it so powerful: the cross-sector learning; the residencies that allow participants to fully engage with the content and each other; the cohort-based model that empowers relationship building and allows time and support to apply new practices and approaches.

Rather than water down something so strong, we decided instead to end the program with the same integrity, honesty, and compassion with which it was created over a decade ago. The decision was not an easy one, but it was a long time coming and this news was not a surprise to our board members, facilitation team, or Jennifer Charlesworth, the program’s founder.

I am grateful that the Leadership 2020 program was launched and supported by the Federation over the past 10 years. When we envisioned ‘2020’ it seemed like such a long time horizon and with no guarantees that the model would work or have an impact—we just knew something needed to be done to enhance the leadership capacity in our sector!

Since taking on the role as Representative I have connected with and drawn on the wisdom and experience of many 2020 graduates (including 2 of our RCY staff) who are out there making a difference every day and who have the knowledge, skills, confidence, creativity and supportive networks to step in to challenging leadership and influence roles.

I look forward to continuing these relationships and look forward to the ripple effects of the Federation’s new learning and development initiatives.

Jennifer Charlesworth,
BC Representative for Children and Youth

Stepping into what’s next…

Leadership development very much remains a priority for The Federation. Over the next year, our new Programs and Services Director, Sherry Sinclair, will be working with Federation members and Leadership 2020 alumni to envision ways The Federation can continue to support leadership development in this increasingly complex sector.

And while the programming of Leadership 2020 may be ending, that doesn’t mean 2020 is over. Leadership 2020 is about the participants who took part in it and the potential they offer. It is about people stepping up in their roles to create change, designing new ways of helping people, and forging relationships across agencies, across service streams, and across the province. There are hundreds of people in this province living Leadership 2020 every day.

So, as a way of supporting this community and helping it continue to flourish, we are launching a new tool that will help alumni connect with each other. A digital map is now available on each Leadership 2020 cohort page (password protected) pinpointing all the communities where alumni live and work. So keep reaching out to each other. Share your work, your new programs, your plans and promotions.

There will be some other small changes to the Leadership 2020 web content over the coming weeks but the cohort pages will remain as they are—with access to the resources, webinar links, and contact lists.

And as we wrap up this phase of Leadership 2020 we would love to hear from our alumni about the impact that the program continues to have. If you have any comments to share please contact Rebecca at The Federation.

Rick FitzZaland
Executive Director