Tuesday, January 18, 2005


One of the best periods of my life, if not "the" best, was when I went through the Coro Fellowship program during 1995 and 1996. It's a 10-month post-graduate leadership development program for those interested in public service.

I worked with 11 other individuals ranging from 22 to 31 years, and from all backgrounds. The training emphasized organizational analysis, critical thinking, project management, and group theory. It was structured to be at least 70 hours a week and during some major projects we went through it hit upwards of 100 hours.

Intense, fun, thought-provoking, and eye-opening. I love it and how our group pushed each other. Each year and each group can be a different experience. Some groups don't push as much or bond as much as other groups since they are unique social experiments in themselves. I'm biased, but our group kicked ass. Since we operated by the consensus of our twelve, sometimes our mini-model of democracy became unruly when we debated on the colors of our presentation materials late into the night or became frustrated at each other's decision-making process.

One of the cool aspect of the program was that we experienced an overview of society by completing assignments and projects in business, government, labor, media, and non-profit sectors. So I worked for 3-6 weeks at organizations such as Commerce Bank, Bi-State Development Agency, and Missouri Progressive Vote. The last one was based on one of the program's premise to challenge and stretch a person's experience, so I was placed in the most pro-labor, pro-choice organization. I am not allowed to voice my political opinions or views, but also I am allowed to only do work that I feel comfortable with. My one year with Coro was the best development experience of my life so far.

Now I'm involved with the Coro National Alumni Association as an officer and one of the things I worked on naturally was a blog for the organization and its alumni. But the blog is not only for alumni, but for everyone interested in "the crossroads of public service, politics, and empowering people." I just put it up this past week, so check it out if it's in your realm of activity.

The first major post is my full interview with John Hinderaker, founder of Power Line. When I interviewed him, I used some of the interview for my first column with AlwaysOn, but asked additional questions more relevant to the audience of the Coro blog.

"Everyday business decisions are made in business, unions and in governmental departments which must take into account how the public will react. Those (wo)men who make sounder guesses are those (wo)men who understand and know more about the public. This type of understanding does not come from reading about the area, but from dealing with the area. This has been proved."
- W.Donald Fletcher, Co-Founder of Coro

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