When Leadership ventures beyond boundaries that have existed for hundreds of years, well, it’s exhilarating and humbling to witness. In such moments we have a glimpse into the transformation we can effect when walls or habits, that exist in our minds, are no longer there.
I recently stood in an Inmar conference room with the leaders of all six of the outstanding institutions of higher learning based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Wake Forest University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem State University, Salem College, Piedmont International University and Forsyth Technical Community College. While various combinations of these leaders have certainly occupied the same room, from the on the spot poll I took, the group confirmed this was the first time in history that all of them occupied one room at the same moment.
There was no particular reason they had not done so previously – not competition or animosity of any sort. There just had not seemed to have been an occasion to do so. The reason all six gathered that evening will have significant impact on their students, alumni and our community for which I am inspired and grateful. These visionary, creative leaders, willing to step outside the lines, recognize the force they can be together. The ramifications are significant, both from this first collaboration and others that I am confident will follow.
But, it also led me to wonder about the gatherings of minds that may not be occurring around all of us each day – and the transformational opportunities that may be lost due to some perceived boundary, or because it just had never been done. I will be forever grateful for the example set by the leaders of these schools. You can read about their first endeavor here.