Even before the 2014 Nollau Institute kicked off, participants were anticipating the changes that the leadership program would bring to their lives and that they would then bring to others.
The Nollau Institute, a one-year program for leaders from CHHSM member ministries and partnering organizations, combines leadership education with a unique perspective of providing faith-based service. With retreats, site visits, online dialogue and peer mentoring, the institute creates a high level of interaction along participants and teachers.
In addition to the kickoff retreat, held Jan. 28-30 at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, Calif., the institute will also hold retreats at Horizon House in Seattle and at The Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Ariz. The group will meet next at the CHHSM Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Feb. 27.
“I look forward to working with this new class of leaders,” said Danielle Bartz, CHHSM program associate and Nollau Institute faculty member. “It promises to be a transformative experience for us all.”
Fifteen participants are enrolled in this year’s class. Jennifer Staley is one of them. As director of payroll services for the Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) in Long Beach, Calif., Staley believed in her organization’s purpose: to help people access safe, decent and affordable housing. But working in the national headquarters, without direct contact with residents, Staley wondered how her role could evolve into one of a spiritual leader.
“I am hoping to learn not only how to be a better leader within the RHF organization by adopting a more spiritual leadership style, but also hoping that through this experience, I will more fully embrace my role at RHF as being equally important to the fulfillment of the organization’s vision and mission,” Staley said.
Peggy Mullan, current Nollau instructor and former CEO of Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix, said that is exactly the program’s purpose.
“Our hope is that every participant comes away with the understanding that they are called to work, that they find strength in that knowledge, and that the teachers and students give each other the tools to take faith management back to the organization,” she said.
Class member Stephanie Franklin, director of the Teen Parent Service Network, a division of the UCAN social service organization in Chicago, is seeking knowledge and inspiration. In her job, Franklin helps young parents who are aging out of the child welfare system build on their parenting and life skills. She hopes that through lessons learned at the Nollau Institute, she will find new ways to infuse leadership skills in the young people she serves.
“With the right support, young people gain renewed and newfound faith in themselves, their spirituality, their families and their communities because of the work that we do with compassion, integrity and honesty,” Franklin said.
The Nollau Institute, which is founded on CHHSM’s 20 years of leadership training, seeks participants who not only want to learn but who also will pass their lessons on to others.
“It’s like pebbles on a pond,” Mullan said of the program’s impact. “What you learn has a ripple effect. You learn for yourself and for your organization, and those changes are like a pebble on a pond, causing a ripple that causes others to create changes of their own.”