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Shape the Future with Us at Citizen Leadership in the 21st Century

You might have heard it—or something like it—said many times through this past year of the COVID pandemic: “After this is over, let’s not ‘return to normal’.” It’s a realization many have had over these past months. What once passed for “normal,” we now recognize as systemic injustice, imbalance, unsustainability, and short-sightedness.

If your first reaction to the idea of a “new normal” was to feel a combination of motivation and trepidation, you’re in very good company. All over the world, people are more passionate and empowered than ever—in some ways. At the same time, it’s hard not to feel isolated and unsure where to start with the many challenges the world faces in the 21st century.

Those feelings are valid. To be a truly engaged citizen who contributes to meaningful change, you first need the tools to develop leadership skills. You need to know what effective change looks like. You need to know where your strengths fit into the world’s great needs.

Most importantly, you need to take that first step toward a shared vision of a better tomorrow.

Making the commitment to change

Real change begins with real commitment. But to be truly effective, it’s best to take it one step at a time, with concrete actions and clear goals.

These ideas were the seed that grew into the newly-launched webinar series from Loyola University Maryland’s ASPIRE program: Citizen Leadership in the 21st Century. 

We saw the energy and initiative burning in people who want to become leaders and change agents. We also saw the risk that it could burn out, suffocated by self-doubt and fatigue. CL21 is a solution we could offer and a hand we could extend to anyone looking for a place to begin becoming the engaged citizen they strive to be.

Citizen Leadership in the 21st Century

Over the next four months—from March through June 2021—Loyola Maryland’s Extended Learning community ASPIRE will host a series of four 90-minute webinars. Each webinar is free and open to the public and will focus on a different aspect of global change and citizen action toward a shared goal of an equitable, sustainable, just, and cooperative future:

  • Dismantling Racism: Where Do I Begin? (March 18)
  • New Leadership: Catalyzing Transformation through Generational Change (April 15)
  • Stewardship of Place: Caring for the Places We Love (May 6)
  • Unprecedented! The Impact of Technology on Society (June 3)

These topics offer a big picture of the ways that widespread systems change relies on many social movements working together.

Each of the sessions takes a “think globally, act locally” approach to problem-solving, encouraging participants to look to their workplaces, communities, and social circles to find opportunities to do effective and lasting work toward the greater good. You will leave each webinar with your next steps clear in your mind.

Powerful speakers calling for change

Each webinar will feature a guest speaker or moderator who is a proven leader and expert in their topic area. They’re dynamic, innovative change-makers with extensive experience who are bringing people together to tackle tough problems and find creative solutions.

March 18, the Dismantling Racism session, will feature guest speaker Karsonya "Kaye" Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., associate professor of communication & African American Studies at Loyola and founding director of the Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice. A three-time New York Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and the award-winning radio host of Today with Dr. Kaye on WEAA 88.9FM, Whitehead was also named one of Essence magazine’s 2019 “Woke 100 Women” changing the world.

That discussion will be moderated by Kate Ebner, CEO of the Nebo Company, a leadership coach, host of the internet radio program Visionary Leader, Extraordinary Life on VoiceAmerica Business, and founding director of the Institute for Transformational Leadership at Georgetown University.

The Generational Change webinar on April 15 brings you moderator Michelle Geiss, co-founder and executive director of Impact Hub Baltimore. Impact Hub is part innovation lab, part co-working space, and part civic forum for entrepreneurs and innovators. Under Geiss’s leadership, it’s grown in its five years to a vast and engaged network of local leaders committed to transforming Baltimore through the power of its visionary community.

Why you should be in that room

When you click the “Register” button for one or more of the Citizen Leadership in the 21st Century webinars, you’re not joining a faceless crowd for a virtual brown-bag lunch that’s out of mind before you close the browser. Instead, you’re taking action to put yourself on the path to making real and meaningful change in the world.

In that 90 minutes, a lot will happen:

  • You’ll be inspired and challenged by our speakers, who will share with you how they’ve done the kind of work you’ve also felt moved to do;
  • You’ll hear from people from a variety of industries, backgrounds, and walks of life who are eager to share ideas and join forces to create a “new normal” that benefits us all;
  • You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges that surround creating change in that topic area-- and hear the perspectives of those most affected by them;
  • You’ll receive proven strategies and tools to help you step up as a leader and put your skills and strengths to use in immediately effective ways;
  • You’ll see your life and your world through new eyes, as you spot opportunities to initiate change, support ongoing work, and shape the future.

    If you’re attending the webinars with a team from your workplace or fellow members of an organization you belong to, these sessions can also be a strong starting point for work that you want and hope to do together.

    And of course, we’ll stay in touch with you to share future events and initiatives like these. If you feel like ASPIRE reflects your personal and professional values, you might even join our extended learning community there—and perhaps re-connect with people you met in the webinar series.

    Make your move

    The first webinar of the series is coming up quickly, so be sure to register now. You don’t have to attend all four sessions; but know that together, they offer a powerful set of leadership development tools for becoming an engaged citizen, leader, and change agent for the 21st century.

    Do you know someone as energized and eager for direction as you are? Reach out and share this post or the registration links with like-minded people in your circles. You’ll have plenty to talk about after each session, and attending with others creates the opportunity to check in and stay accountable to your shared goals.

    We don’t have to “return to normal.” Sign up today for Citizen Leadership in the 21st Century, and you’ll be on the path to co creating a new and brighter future for all of us to share.

    CL21 is sponsored by Constellation Energy and RCM&D. For more information visit the ASPIRE website