“Not only has this program given me life-long friends, but it really helped me think more critically about sustainable agriculture, regionalism, affordable housing and education.”
-WRAL.com’s Kathy Hanrahan
Two CBC’ers have joined the ranks of Goodmon Fellows through the Leadership Triangle Regional Program. WRAL.com Out & About Editor Kathy Hanrahan and ATC Assistant Property Manager Shawn Olender took part in the graduation ceremony on Monday, May 1, 2017, at the PNC Triangle Club at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
“I really wanted to connect with other leaders and see what problems our region is facing,” said Hanrahan of the reason she wanted to participate in the program. “We have a tendency as people to think about what is impacting us directly and I was hoping this problem would help me be more conscious about the people and places outside of the cities I normally write about and cover.”
ATC Vice President of Real Estate Michael Goodmon, also Board Chair of Leadership Triangle, recommended Olender take the class.
“I was thrilled to get the nomination as I am passionate about the Triangle and issues that the rapid growth is impacting – including homelessness and fair housing,” said Olender. “As the Triangle grows I think it is essential we focus on the inclusion of all races, cultures and socio-economic statuses and not create an economically exclusive environment.”
The Leadership Triangle Regional Program took place for a day every other week beginning in late January. Participants visited locations beginning at the Durham Arts Council, including Healing Transitions in Raleigh, Shaw University and other businesses and organizations around the Triangle.
Through this program Leadership Triangle strives to create new community leaders by dissecting “topics that transcend city borders, such as economic development, immigration, the environment, human services, public policy, air and water quality, transportation and education to name a few.
Hanrahan and Olender both sited the visit to Healing Transitions as the most impactful.
“Visiting this center changed my life,” said Hanrahan. “Healing Transitions treats those with addictions. It is a safe haven for people who are dealing with substance abuse. We visited the Raleigh facility, which serves only men. We heard from graduates of the program who are now advisers and help guide people who are just starting their journey to get clean.”
She continued, “We heard from one guy who was a professor at a college, who took a second job just so he could pay for his drug problem. We met another man whose father was a Harlem Globetrotter. He grew up with money. It really helped us see that addiction get happen to anyone.”
Olender also cited that class as making a big impression on him.
“We had a class at Healing Transitions where we toured this facility which is focused on homelessness and drug/alcohol rehab,” he explained. “We heard from program participants and ate lunch with attendees. It was eye opening to see these sorts of facilities and meet the people who were there. So many powerful stories from all different types of people – white, black, well-off, poor, blue collar and white collar.”
Hanrahan shared an experience from the day at Healing Transitions:
During the day, we were able to have lunch with some residents in the program. One man was there for smoking marijuana. He was a repeat visitor, as having been there a year or two ago for substance abuse. He was adamant that he was just there to go through detox but wasn’t an addict. He wasn’t a huge fan of the program and ended up getting into a debate with this older gentleman sitting next to him. The older man worked at the facility now and had spent years homeless, living on the street and addicted to drugs. The older man was very “matter a fact” that you got to hit rock bottom before you realize how bad it is and get help. He said that his rock bottom was living on the streets and doing anything he could to get money to buy drugs. He has been clean for years now and is fine with having just enough money to handle his expenses.
We met so many people who were so open to share their stories and struggles. They wanted to be heard and they wanted to help others. Everyone was at a different stage – some not ready to admit they had a problem at all – and others were just figuring out how to survive without drugs and alcohol. The visit touched my heart and will forever stay with me.
Both Harahan and Olender highly recommend the program to their fellow CBC’ers.
“I would definitely recommend LT to my colleagues with the disclaimer that those passionate about social change would benefit from this class specifically while the other session focused on personal leadership encompasses everyone,” Olender explained.
Hanrahan cited the one-of-kind nature of the Regional Class.
“This program is so unique in that it gives you a chance to really explore the issues facing the Triangle,” she said. “It challenges you, as a leader, to figure out ways to make it a better place. Not only has this program given me life-long friends, but it really helped me think more critically about sustainable agriculture, regionalism, affordable housing and education.”
Leadership Triangle holds the Regional Program each winter/spring. The next upcoming Leadership Triangle program will be the Transforming Leaders Program, which focuses on personal leadership development. Applications are now available on the Leadership Triangle website.
Thanks to Leadership Triangle, WRAL.com’s Kathy Hanrahan & ATC’s Shawn Olender for these capcom photos.