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2020 Emerging Leaders Series

Event Date(s): 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020



2020 Dates

Nominations are Due By April 10th! Nominee Applications due by April 24th!

Session I:  July 28 - July 31, 2020 in Seattle, Washington
Session II: October 20 - October 23, 2020 - in Seattle, Washington
Session III: First two weeks of December, exact dates TBD in Olympia, WA


Questions? Email Paul Dziedzic at

2020 Emerging Leaders Series

Leadership is not magic, charisma or the responsibility of a chosen few. Leadership is the result of specific behaviors that can be developed and implemented at all levels of an organization. Leaders are ordinary people who get extraordinary things done.

The Emerging Leaders Series is a program of the Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation (CCER) at the University of Washington. It is designed to develop and enhance the leadership skills of mid and upper level managers in organizations which support people with disabilities to work, live in and participate fully in their communities. The program consists of 12 days of training divided into 3 sessions of 4 days each.

The purpose of the Emerging Leaders Series is to challenge individuals to become positive forces of change within their organization by adopting exemplary leadership practices.

The goal is to provide the opportunity for participants to develop and refine their leadership skills in relation to their current role and future leadership opportunities.

At the conclusion of the Emerging Leaders Series, participants will:

  1. Increase their self-awareness and understanding of individual differences.
  2. Understand how and why changes occur (or do not occur) within organizations.
  3. Know how to create an environment conducive to positive change.
  4. Recognize the impact of external environmental factors on individuals in leadership positions.
  5. Envision the future and implement practical steps to move toward that vision.


The content of the three sessions is based primarily on the ten behavioral commitments of successful leaders described in the book The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner:

Session I: Building Relationships That Work

* Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.

* Strengthen others by sharing information and power.

* Set an example for others by acting in ways consistent with one's values.

* Recognize individual contributions to success of every project.

* Celebrate team accomplishments regularly.

The first session focuses on understanding differences about how people think, feel and behave in relation to working together in a constructive way. Participants are asked to complete a variety of self-assessment instruments, including the Leadership Practices Inventory that is also completed by others who work closely with the participant. A day is spent on the "Challenge Course," an ingenious outdoor experience designed to foster teamwork and group problem solving.


Session II: Moving Toward Your Vision

* Envision an uplifting and ennobling future.

* Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes and dreams.

* Search for challenging opportunities to change, grow, innovate and improve.

* Experiment, take risks, and learn from the accompanying mistakes.

* Plan small wins that promote consistent progress and build commitment.

Defining a change project to be implemented within each participant's agency is the primary focus of the second session. Each participant develops a vision for their program, considers the interests and values of people who affect their ability to get things done and identifies a way to change and improve their program. They pursue that change between sessions two and three.


Session III: Leadership At Or Near The Top

While leaders are necessary and exist at all levels of an organization, there are positions at or near the top that are considered leadership positions. Session III examines the similarities and differences among leadership at various levels of an organization and how to prepare for leadership positions. Time is also spent reviewing lessons learned during implementation of the change projects.


A variety of procedures and formats will be utilized during the series including small group discussion, role-playing, simulations, individual consultation, lectures, and guest presentations. These activities will take place in various locations in and around the Seattle area. Participants are expected to be actively involved and willing to share their knowledge and insights with others. In addition to the implementation of a change project within the participant's organization during the series, there will be other brief assignments between sessions and occasional evening meetings or assignments during the sessions.

The primary trainers for the series are Paul Dziedzic and Katherine Hansen.

Paul is the former Special Assistant to the Governor of Washington on Substance Abuse Issues and the former Director of the Washington Department of Services for the Blind, during which time he served as President of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Katherine is a founder and former CEO of Community Partnerships of Idaho, a large private agency providing a diverse array of community services to individuals with disabilities throughout Idaho. She is a leader in disability advocacy, health care innovation and provider relations in Idaho and across the region.