A Program Designed for California’s Regional Leaders

The California Academy for Regional Leaders (CARL) supports participants in their efforts to strengthen their organizations and increase their personal effectiveness by helping them develop leadership skills, expand their knowledge of the systems that impact their agencies, and build state-wide professional networks.

CARL is an seven-month program designed for mid-career professionals working in regional government. Participants will learn to identify their personal leadership style, leverage their strengths, improve strategic thinking, and gain insight into the complex structure and functions of regional government. Each class participant is selected for diversity in terms of personal background, professional experience, expertise, geographic location, and the size and function of their agency. Our objective is to create a class that will learn as much from each other as they will from professional instruction.

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The Challenge of Regional Leadership

Faced with a growing number of complex, multifaceted challenges, good leaders are more important than ever. Regional leaders require a diverse skillset to meet the challenges facing regional governments. Regional agencies use consensus-based processes that respect local decision-making, but regional responsibilities–like transportation, equity, climate change, and housing–often elude easy consensus. Effective regional leaders must balance diverse political interests so they can facilitate the development of a strong, inclusive vision and implement strategies that benefit the economic, environmental, and social health of a region.

Successful regional leaders have to manage and adapt to change. But how do we anticipate the unexpected? When is it safe to take a risk? And how do we share a vision so that a team–or an entire community–can work towards the same result? These are the challenges of regional leadership. The answers are not found in a textbook: We learn them from experience, our peers and mentors. California Academy for Regional Leaders (CARL) creates the space to share knowledge and build the relationships needed to become a successful regional leader.

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