German Village Gazette

Village Notebook

Leadership Columbus provides skill set growth


I've just returned from the beginning of what I hope will be a journey of personal discovery that helps me maximize myself and my time in behalf of the German Village -- and greater Columbus -- community.

I am a member of the 2014 class -- the 40th class -- of Leadership Columbus.

The mission of Leadership Columbus is to develop, connect and inspire diverse leaders who serve as catalysts in building a strong and vibrant community.

I was introduced to Leadership Columbus 18 months ago by a mentor and Village leader who suggested I might appreciate and enjoy the chance to learn more about Columbus and about my own leadership style.

A year ago, during application season for the 2014 class, I floated the idea to the German Village Society Board of Trustees.

Little did I know in opening that conversation that at least half of my board members are alumni! They immediately agreed to support my application, and to support my tuition once I was accepted.

Last week, I took part in the opening retreat. For eight weeks prior, seven colleagues (staff, board members and that original Village mentor) evaluated my strengths and weaknesses as a manager and leader.

During the retreat, Leadership Columbus facilitators and my 53 classmates helped me dive deeper into the feedback.

It's exhausting to try to look more deeply at yourself. It's surprising, frustrating and rewarding. I was pleased to learn that my evaluators think I have good relationship skills.

I was pleased to receive the feedback that I need to do a better job providing direction, cheerleading people and delegating.

I intend to use the next 10 months as a class member of Leadership Columbus to figure out how to use my strengths even more, and how to improve my weaknesses. (Look out, I might delegate to you -- volunteer, neighbor or friend.)

I also wasn't surprised to see my scores come in right down the middle.

I'm like Goldilocks for my not-too-hot/not-too-cold scores related to social situations, emotion and attentiveness, and control factors. The middle is like a religion to me.

My classmates come from throughout the city. Some are in their 20s. Some their 50s. Some own companies. Some make ice cream.

Many work for corporations, some for small firms and there's a good representation of my nonprofit brethren in the class. My 53 "new best friends." What a chance to learn from their perspective.

Now that the class has had a chance to get to know each other and each other's skill sets during the retreat, we set off on a journey.

For one Thursday of each of the next nine months, we will spend one day together focusing on the significant challenges to the Central Ohio region.

Issues covered include the economy, diversity, the justice system, public education and human and social service issues.

We will also form small groups who team up with a nonprofit to execute a needed project -- a thumbprint on this city as we strive to make a difference.

I'm excited, slightly terrified, but mostly gratified at this opportunity. I made a promise to the board when it voted to support me that I would use the journey to improve myself for the benefit of the German Village Society and to take the opportunity to network us even more deeply into Columbus.

I welcome you to check in on me and see how its going.

German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column to the ThisWeek German Village Gazette.