People Have Said

 Final Evaluation Comments from Graduates, plus some  from speakers & sponsors….. very different industries and organizational levels. These quotes also help describe the potential experience and benefits to newcomers to the Forum Process !

“So well deserved, my life has changed immensely since coming to know you. Your ability to share your knowledge with others has made a mark on so many lives, I can’t imagine how many you have helped throughout your life. I am not just a better leader because of you but also a better person. You taught me so much on leadership, but what matters most was what you hared and confirmed as to how to treat others and that giving bask to your community and those around you is key in ones life. I look forward to seeing you and Barbara in Dallas[ @ the Annual Conference], I know it will be special like the time we talked with Carl in Boston. Until then, God Bless, peace my friend….. Eric Gorham VP @ REJIS, St. Louis…..on the SIM Lifetime Achievement Award @ their 50th Anniversary, for being a founder and then starting the Regional Leadership forums 25 years later.

“You speak so effortlessly and you have taught me so much. You bring a new perspective on a lot of concepts that we are familiar with….thanks for presenting”  Kristine Bersalona   Loma Linda University Health

“I joined the Leadership Learning Forum with the thought that I needed a ‘Leadership’ class. Not really knowing what I meant by the term ‘Leadership,’ all I knew was that I was starting to feel overwhelmed and inadequate as I moved up in the organization. I had managed both people and projects for years, but I had never really learned how to lead or what the essence of leadership was. My experience in the LLF was fantastic! The LLF that I experienced was so much more than the typical leadership class. I believe that the combination of the reading materials, the speakers, the other LLF participants and their differing backgrounds, the facilities (Dick’s home) and Dick as a facilitator, provide an ‘environment for learning’ that cannot be surpassed. This experience provided me with opportunity to discuss, share, and learn from the other participants while relating them back to my own life experiences. For me this learning was more related to personal growth, who am I, how do I operate, how do I think, what are my motivations and biases, how do I learn … This personal growth led directly to professional growth, by helping me understand myself, I am able to better understand and respect the perspectives and opinions of others. As a graduate of the program, I apply the things that I learned in the LLF everyday in both my personal life and in my professional life. Lastly, I am not sure that even now I truly know what ‘Leadership’ is, or if I ever really will. However, I do know that it is a life-long journey that it starts within yourself.”  Mike Anderson, Partner, Whittman-Hart

(WRITTEN AS A POEM)I will never ever forget the day – It must have been my fate – This letter signed Peace and Energy – It was hard for me to relate. Dick Dooley was this person’s name – Whom I’ve seen and heard about – He talked of growth and leadership – But I was not prepared for the amount.  As I prepared for the first meeting – I didn’t not know what I would do – There was no agenda, just list of books – Shit, there were more than a few. I came to the meeting with excitement and fear – These people are all older than me. With much experience to bring to the floor – I couldn’t compete; I just wanted to flee. I read the required reading – And prepared an elaborate case – A PowerPoint presentation would dazzle – But the meeting there was no set pace. It was hard for me to grasp at first – I wanted to show them my stuff – I wanted to show that I was good – That I could even talk off the cuff. But when the first meetings ended – I didn’t present at all – I had this notebook full of thoughts and ideas – In the scheme of things, my presentation was small. We were talking about real issues – Things I never been exposed to before – You see … – I thought I needed to impress them – But I was just surface, this was the core. There are so many things to learn from – I thank the friends I’ve made here It’s hard for me to share with you – Your impact on me brings a tear. Life is about learning and growth – About share along the way – It’s about admitting your faults and improving you – There is so much impact in the little things you say. You see … My thoughts were focused on future – I needed title, status, and gray hair to show my success – I forgot that life is just one small journey – Where I was in mine, I don’t know I confess. I was plagued by this stereotype – This young punk, what does he know? I thought I would be viewed as a lesser leader – that I would have to put on a show. And then came the books, articles and such – As stories, ideas filled the room – These people were not there to judge me – These people were there to bloom! We read books on imposters, managing with power – We read books like Ishmael, evolution can be sour – Books for sales and books on transition – I still can’t get used to my new husband position. I can’t thank you enough for the lessons on life – You have changed me in so many ways – You have taught me what it means to live – And how to listen, boy … that pays. If I can quote one book I’ve read – A child’s book that is ageless – Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss – Learning … it is so painless. ‘Out there things can happen – And frequently do – To people as brainy – And footsy as you. And when things start to happen – Don’t worry don’t stew – Just go right along – You’ll start happening too. So … Be you name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray – Or Mordecai, Ali, Van Allen, O’Shea – You’re off to great places – Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting so get on your way! Thanks.  Tim Augustine, Human Resources Team Leader, Unitech Systems, Inc.

“I feel like I have been “reborn” or energized or even spun around with a blind fold (future) but you have pointed me towards the pinnate and given me the stick … I really feel like I have a tool box filled with ideas, experiences (forum comrades, speakers, graduates) that I am ready to use throughout my career.”  Heather Bearden, Project Manager, Smith Bucklin & Associates

 “The forum helps you focus on you and how you learn, interact, withdraw, grow, and find your inner core. It has been a very special time for me to reflect on myself where I am, where I want to go, and how I can get there. It has also helped me think about who I don’t want to be and how to alert myself when I’m on the wrong train.” Carol Boyne, Project Leader, Janssen Pharmaceutica

“A life changing experience.”Lee Capps, Principal, The Revere Group

“Someone once said that there are really only two things in life that we ‘have’ to do … Die, is one. Live until we die is the second. Everything in between, we make up as we go. The Learning Forum is about ‘everything in between’. As we read the various books throughout the forum, one or two ‘stood out’ above the others for me; Beyond Certainty (Charles Handy) and My Ishmael (Daniel Quinn). In Charles Handy’s book, Beyond Certainty, he says about Leadership – ‘Sacrifices, however, are made voluntarily, for goals and ideals we believe in, and when we have confidence in those who may lead us there. Leadership, therefore, becomes more important than ever in this ‘new world,’ and philosophy or the search for the meaning of things becomes the driving force of economics.’ Later in his book, Handy tells the story of Odysseus’ journey to sail ‘’beyond the sunset’ in search of a place to make ‘greater.’ Odysseus never found his new place, but instead decided to make his old place, the new place. The future for us, too, is in our own place, if we can learn to see it differently, and are strong in will to change it. The LLF gives each of us the opportunity to see things differently, not through our own eyes and thoughts, but through the eyes and words of others in the forum. The forum encourages people to connect with others to explore and learn with a new desire and openness. A special thanks to My Teacher, My Ishmael, Dick. My best wishes to all. My hope for past and future graduates, is that you have the depth of vision to see the future, where you are and are strong in will to make it yours. My best regards to each of you as I continue my journey.”  Glenn Collins, Quality Manager, Xerox Corporation

 “This is an extraordinary personal and professional experience that will put you in touch with the person you are ¾ your strengths, vulnerabilities ¾ and untapped capabilities. Absolutely outstanding in every way. Networking and feedback are ways of life that will live with “graduates” forever.  Susan Crabtree, Lincoln Financial Group

 “ALLN is a unique, small group learning forum for IT professionals. Through a combination of articles, case studies, facilitated discussions and presentations by CIO’s, we discuss real life business scenarios, explore how we might approach similar situations, hear each other’s viewpoints, and learn the outcomes of each case study. The ALLN setting is established up front as a safe harbor, so we feel at ease to examine the strengths and challenges we find in both our corporations, and ourselves as we share experiences. A distinctive aspect of ALLN is that, along with the focus on leadership, there is an opportunity to examine how our personal experiences contribute to our business personas as well as an important emphasis on balance in one’s life. After a ALLN session, I find that I am revitalized after networking for the morning with new acquaintances and am challenged to look at things from different points of view and to put new ideas into action. I am grateful that my CIO sponsored my attendance.”   Lynn Ferino, Director-Applications & Systems Dev., Central DuPage Health

 “I have been in a management position for the past fourteen years, yet I have never learned how to lead. I went through the motions, doing all the tasks that managers are supposed to do but I never felt like a leader. I was uncomfortable with holding a position of authority that I didn’t feel qualified to handle. Then I attended the Leadership Learning Output Forum. I don’t quite understand the magic that happened. I didn’t learn how to write reviews better. I wasn’t given a guide on all the things a leader should and shouldn’t do. I didn’t read the latest management “how-to” book with material regurgitated from all its predecessors. In short, I became comfortable with my leadership role. I learned that leadership isn’t so much a set of responsibilities … it is a state of mind. Every Forum, book, article, presentation and discussion was a thread weaved into a holistic leadership fabric. The Forum reminds me to step back and look at the cloth … not just the threads. The Forum has been an experience that has seeped into my soul.”  Roger A. Haezebrouck, Manager of Communication Systems, Great Lakes Gas Transmission Company

“The Leadership Learning Forum has benefited me in ways that impact both my personal and professional life. The many reading assignments and open discussions have allowed me to experience old and explore new opportunities from different perspectives. As managers we often face the same experiences and challenges but do not always have an environment conducive to open and heartfelt discussion. The LLF exposed me to many personalities, thoughts and ideas that I reflect on routinely when making decisions. I feel that I now make decisions that have a lasting impact on individuals, work teams and the company. The most significant accomplishment centers around the increased confidence in myself to make presentations, facilitate meetings, and participate in group discussions. I will always be thankful to the LLF for providing such a meaningful and un-intimidating forum to share, learn and grow.”  Keith Harris, Director, BellSouth Information Systems

“I really enjoyed the ALLN and look forward to monthly sessions. The feedback promised was the dynamics of having a couple participate together in a session like this. PLUSES: I feel like it will give me a common framework to give feedback to Mac in the future. For example, in his case where he was working too hard off hours I can discuss balancing his ABCs. I also think there is a framework for us to share our work experiences or issues with each other and ask for feedback. I realize that my husband might have some resources or information I am looking for and would ask others (“How to Run a Meeting” handout). We did discuss the articles before and after. So, it gives you a way to continue the discussions and if they become relevant at some future point you have someone to share that with. Often we have so much to say and think about with articles or discussion and we might only spend 15 or 30 minutes and feel like we would like to keep on going. Now we have that opportunity. It was very interesting to keep ..going back to the kids things. Use principles from home at work and vice versa. Being together at the ALLN allows us the understanding to bring a work lesson home and apply it to our child rearing. (Not that we couldn’t before, but again, that common framework is already there and you don’t have to explain or get buy in). I got to have lunch with my husband after the session. It is interesting to see him in a ‘work setting’. We are basically in the same business, but don’t usually interact at a business level. MINUSES: I probably thought more about what I was going to say (that self conscious side). Although, for me I’m not sure that is a minus. I occasionally found myself judging Mac’s comments in a way I would have not done with others. I consciously had to tell myself not to do this. One of us has to miss the first hour each time.”   Sandi (and Mac) Hillocks, Baxter Renal IT Division, Baxter Healthcare Corp.

“I came to the Leadership Learning Forum without knowing what I am going to get… …The only thing I know is that I have learned a lot from the Forum, ranging from business, leadership, to spirit and life, and I need to piece them all together to make a bigger picture of my own… …The discussions of books and articles have opened my eyes and broaden my views. They have helped me look at things from different perspectives. I would never have imagined that to do a good job in technology, you need to learn something that is non-technology… … Thank you, Dick and all participants of the Forum, for a great learning experience. I believe I will benefit from it throughout my career.”  Kwan-Hwa Jan, Principal Technologist, Navigation Technologies, Corp.

“Returning to the learning forum as a guest speaker was an exciting and stimulating experience. I learned even more about myself when generating a second essay bio and the questions and feedback from the participants during my presentation were both invigorating and uplifting. An experience that all learning forum graduates should be so lucky to have.”     Speaker – Christine Jarzenbeck, Director, ITS, Complex Activation and Surveillance Systems, Southwestern Bell

“This forum is for people in any area where leadership is important, not just for the Information Technology area. I’ve benefited greatly from the Learning and Leadership Forum, especially as the Maintenance Leader in a manufacturing facility … Unfortunately, business support for attending these sessions has diminished with tough business competition. It became more of a personal commitment and priority for me to complete this training. It was worth the sacrifice.”  Don Kosanka, Maintenance Leader, Owens Corning Delmar Plan

“I benefited and continue to benefit from the Leadership Learning Forum experience in several ways: my awareness of the importance of an external network grew and I now actively work to expand the breadth and depth of my contacts; my comfort level and skill in making presentations to large groups has developed to the point that I have accepted an invitation to speak at a national conference and am President of the founding local chapter of the national Help Desk Institute; probably most important to me, I have learned to push back with difficult people, even when pushing back is politically risky.”  Sherron Laurrell, Manager I.S. Support Services, Scott Paper Company

“Leadership Learning Forum doesn’t quite describe the series of events that Dick Dooley has crafted. It’s more like the “read, think, discuss, think, participate, think, reflect and learn about a lot more than leadership” forum. Of course, we learned about leadership, but more so, we learned about personal growth and ways to personally develop that area rarely experienced in today’s corporate world. The good news is that the world doesn’t yet know about the Dooley LLF, for if it did, the waiting list would be as long as the LLF reading list (you’d be waiting for years)!”  John Lyden, General Manager, Organizational Effectiveness, Delta Air Lines

 “If you are interested in continued development of your IS and business management skills, having in-depth discussions of interpersonal and management issues; of broadening your peer network across some 30-40 progressive companies from many industries; in “living room” discussions where CEO’s and CIO’s talk about their view of the world, their career stories and what they think it takes to be successful, if you want to get up to date with some of the best current (and past) thinking in business literature; then I would recommend the Leadership Learning Forum to you.”  Wayne MacNeil, Director, Business Development – Europe, Bose Corporation

“As with most participants in LLF, I was invited and sponsored by someone within the senior management ranks of my organization … quote, “An offer I couldn’t refuse!” I asked others who had attended the meetings what they were all about, and received a variety of answers, none of them very specific. It was only later that I realized this lack of an unfocused answer is due to the Forum being a multitude of things to different folks, and definitely described best by what you experience while participating in the program. Dick likes to stress a number of integrating themes, among them balance. For me, this has been the main takeaway of my time with the LLF. I have been exposed to a variety of topics that I would never have investigated without the Forum. These include martial arts, poetry, and the great books. Studying these topics has exposed me to ideas and concepts that will benefit me in both my personal and professional life. The payback has been immediate, helping me hone leadership skills while giving me a better understanding of the leaders that I deal with both within my organization and those of my clients. I will truly miss my participating in the LLF sessions, but I look forward to continuing my participation with the folks that I have met during the meetings as well as those participating in future LLF sessions.”   Mark Mrozek, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting

“Being part of the Leadership Learning Forum gave me the unique opportunity to network with peers outside my company on an ongoing basis in an informal, stimulating environment. The meetings were a real energy booster. I had a chance to question the strategy within other companies. It was a safe environment to pose concerns and receive constructive feedback. Tapping into the experience of senior executives, in an informal dialogue, was a good learning experience. The outside reading assignments for each meeting stimulated my thinking.”   Karen Rabun, Manager, Systems Development, Amoco Corporation

The LLF offered me the opportunity to grow as a person and as a leader in my organization. I learned concepts that were never discussed in my under-graduate and MBA programs. These were concepts that will have an immediate impact on my organization.”   Don Richards, Project Coordinator, Roadway Express, Inc.

“Many thanks for the invitation to participate in yesterday’s Leadership Learning Forum. It is always a thrill for me to attend and have my ideas, habits, and philosophies challenged. You perform a great service for this company, and all feedback I have received suggests that each participant loves the program. Press on!”   Speaker & Sponsor – Larry Rowland, President and CEO, Lincoln Re, Lincoln Financial Group

“I look forward to the ALLN meetings each month. I find they provide new insights into the strategic, organizational and interpersonal issues I wrestle with on a daily basis. The sessions also serve as a reminder of important details that we all should pay attention to, and that sometimes get overlooked by busy managers. I find the guest speakers and participants to be excellent sources of information and informal discussions provide opportunities to share best practices and lessons learned. At a recent meeting I began discussing our SAP implementation with a fellow ALLN member. Her company was in the process of implementing the SAP project system, and my company has been using that module for approximately four years. We arranged an information exchange between technical and business people from our two companies to discuss our project system implementations and share ideas. We have planned a follow up session to discuss SAP Business Warehouse.”    Robert P. Schnell, Director, e-Business and Enterprise Applications, UOP

“It is always refreshing and incredibly important to meet with you for me personally. The breadth of responsibility in public sector is intellectually stimulating.  The public service is almost spiritually stimulating. But the grind of making the changes required is almost physically debilitating. It is not just refreshing, it is a personal necessity to meet and review, with those I trust, the principles of my profession with someone who not only understands but has been there.”    Martin A. Trishman, Director of Information Technology, City of Chesapeake

“The Leadership Learning Forum was a foundational experience for me; one I continually reflect on, draw on, to provide insight into the various challenges I face professionally. Equally important, it fostered frank discussion among participants. The Learning Forum helped me discipline my thinking. It is an environment to share the realities of an ever more rapidly changing work and information environment; it is an environment to honestly examine the realities for what they are and what we make of them. The forum challenged me to think broader, deeper and more sincerely about all aspects of my life.”   Kevin C. Wyderka, Senior Management Consultant, Sysix Technologies

“I came to the Leadership Learning Forum (LLF) thinking it was all about leadership, what it is, what it is not, how to be better at it and what it will be in the future. I leave the Forum knowing it is much more. The Forum is an incubator for growth, very personal growth. Through the teaching, coaching, mentoring and support of Dick Dooley and all the participants, visitors and speakers I have grown immensely. I have learned that: Life (not just leadership) is an art. Learning is the nurturer of life. Just as we need nurturing to live, we need learning to have life. We owe it to ourselves and others to spend time learning and living, not just existing. Learning happens in many ways, through books, friends, discussions, listening, ah hahs and oops. When you feel the most like you don’t want to do this is when you probably need to do this the most For me, the Forum is about re-finding my Original Self. As written by Thomas Moore: ‘Far beneath the many thick layers of indoctrination about who we are and who we should be lies an original self, a person who came into this world full of possibility and destined for joyful unveiling and manifestation. Being one’s original self means living from the burning core of the heart, with the creativity that comes from allowing the soul to blossom in its own colors and shapes.’ The Leadership Forum has provided me with the opportunity to refind my original self. Something that I always put last in my priorities until this Forum. I see the Forum as a place where we are given many cuts and colors of glass that we are encouraged to tilt into yet another pattern We are given yet another opportunity to refind our original self and create our own kaleidoscope. I leave with this simple but challenging thought. For me: Being an effective leader may be as simple as being true to my original self. Thank you Dick Dooley for providing the colored glass and the comfort to turn it any way I wanted. I hope I never quit turning it and I hope I never forget to always be my original self.”   Kathy Wyss, Vice President, Director Support Services, Lincoln Re


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