Why Do We Need Agents for Change?

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As I’ve worked with Extension Professionals around the state, I’ve heard similar challenges – engaging non-traditional audiences; meeting the needs of today’s youth and families; addressing big community issues such as food insecurity, poverty, access to opportunities; implementing emerging technologies; and on, and on – and similar frustrations with your position and power to develop and implement solutions. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by these challenges because ready-to-implement solutions don’t exist and we can’t marshall the resources and power to develop new solutions alone. As a former Extension Agent in 4-H Youth Development, I know this feeling!

Adaptive leadership provides tools and strategies for changing our communities to enable them to thrive. It requires that we mobilize others, build on our past, experiment, diagnose, build and rebuild systems, and diversify. It’s hard work! But our communities face challenges that require changing people’s priorities, habits, and beliefs and by developing our capacity for adaptive leadership, we can do that.

Transformative leadership engages us in a democratic process for more just, euitable, and inclusive outcomes – helping us better serve all of the people in our communities. Through transformative leadership, we can create equitable change that benefits individuals and communities through challenging our beliefs and building new ways of thinking about the work. This will lead to a transformation of our programs and organizations.

Agents For Change will help YOU develop the capacity for adaptive leadership and transformative leadership as we work together to diagnose your challenges and organizations, engage others, design interventions, expand your authority, build adaptive cultures and systems, mobilize others, experiment, examine and build interconnectedness, address distributions of power, focus on justice and equity, and sustain equitable change.

If you are an early career (first five years) Extension professional interested in helping your communities thrive, apply to be in the first cohort of this year-long leadership development program. Applications are available now and are due November 1st. Sessions begin in January 11, 2023.