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SENIOR FELLOW PROFILE
AMERICAN LEADERSHIP FORUM

ALF Inspires Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program

BY JESSICA LASKEY
In addition to inspiring hundreds of movers and shakers to effect real change in their communities , ALF has also inspired the formation of other leadership programs across the Capital Region .
Twelve years ago , ALF Mountain Valley founding executive director Doni Blumenstock and Scott Syphax , Class VIII Senior Fellow and former chairman and CEO of The Nehemiah Companies , got together to found the Nehemiah Emerging Leadership Program .
“ I came to realize that while we had this great program for established leaders in ALF , there wasn ’ t a comparable program for younger , emerging leaders , especially for those from communities of color , who would eventually grow to take our place and be key to really diving in to address systemic change ,” Syphax says . “ The conversations in ALF often spoke to a need of developing a ‘ bench ’ of leaders , ready to take over when those of us in ALF — mostly in our late 40s to 60s — retired . NELP was conceived to meet that challenge and our track record demonstrates that we are doing so successfully .”
Syphax explains that whereas ALF focuses on established leaders , “ NELP seeks out those who show immense leadership potential but who could use that final bit of polish , mentoring and coaching in preparation for that next big assignment or promotion , with the ultimate aspiration of being a leader in the C suite .”
The 10-month professional development program selects promising culturally diverse leaders in the public and private sectors — including business , nonprofit , education , politics and government — and rigorously trains them to effect positive change and empower others in their communities . NELP ’ s graduates have occupied over 300 seats on boards and commissions around the region .
NELP is currently recruiting for its next cohort . Candidates can be nominated and find more information at nelpleaders . org .

Edelman

Five Quis Star autem Bank vel eum
Leading With Empathy iure reprehenderit qui

James Beckwith , president and CEO of Five Star Bank , a $ 2.4 billion commercial bank headquartered in the Capital Region , is committed to purposedriven banking . “ Our mission is to be of service to our customers , employees , shareholders , partners and communities by providing excellent banking services built on a foundation of trust ,” Beckwith says .

An open-minded leader , Beckwith was a Fellow of the American Leadership Forum ’ s Class XIII and credits the training with changing his perspective and widening his worldview . “ ALF began a transformational journey where I learned many things about human interaction ,” he says .
ALF helped Beckwith see things anew . “ I learned how important empathy and understanding for people are , as opposed to leading with biases ,” he explains . “ That was the most significant aspect of my ALF training and it made me a much better businessperson . When you suspend judgement and truly communicate , build trust and understanding , great things happen .”
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