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Service-Leadership Institute 1


To make the most of our week together, we’d like to ask you to take some time to do the following pre-work. Please read through the pre-work entirely and thoroughly and make note of dates for completion. 

Scott, Shannah, Matt
1.     Song
Time to complete: minimal
Due by: Wednesday, June 15
Directions: E-mail Scott ( and Ben ( no later than June 15 with the name of a personally meaningful song that you’d like to play for the group during our time together.  Please include the artist and song version if there are different versions. Scott will find it on iTunes and download it.

2.     Significant Item
Time to complete: minimal
Due by: Bring to SLI
Directions: Bring a personally meaningful object that you'd like to share with the the group during our time together.

3.     Written Assignment
Time to complete: NA
Due by: Wednesday, June 15
Directions: Complete an individual reflection of where you are in your own personal journey, including your authentic strengths and gaps, and email it to Shannah ( and Scott ( and Ben ( by Friday, June 17. See Appendix Abelow for the prompts.

4.     360 Review
Time to complete: NA
Due by: Friday, June 17
Directions: Complete an informal 360 review to learn more about yourself from those who know you well. See Appendix B below for an email to send out to your reviewers. Please make sure to get responses back from your reviewers no later than Monday, June 20.

5.     Short Readings
Time to complete: 2 hours
Due by: Monday, June 20
Directions: Please download and read the short readings below: Brookfield Learning Leadership and Leadership On The Line. We will be discussing during SLI.

6.     The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Time to complete: 7 hours
Due by: Monday, June 20/Ongoing
Directions: You should have received a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X to your permanent address. If not, please purchase a copy or download the PDF below. While we will not formally discuss Malcolm X during SLI, we strongly encourage you to discuss the book amongst each other.

7.     Bring Your Pants (really)
Time to complete: NA
Due by: Bring to SLI
Directions: Please bring all of the pairs of pants you plan to wear to your Service Placement to SLI. Unless you choose to opt-out, we will affix the ServiceCorps Patch to your pants. All the cool kids are doing it! 

Pre-Work Appendix


As you prepare for your ServiceCorps year it will be invaluable to mark your own place in time – your starting point in a sense at this juncture in your life – to help you orient to making the most of the opportunity ahead. Therefore, please give yourself at least 45 uninterrupted minutes to consider and write down your thoughts to the following prompts. Please don’t try to impress anyone– just be as real and open and honest as you can.

Please write your thoughts in any way that makes sense to you. There is no right format. The purpose is to establish a starting point for yourself as we come together and you embark on this ServiceCorps year.

Please e-mail your reflections to Shannah and Scott and Ben by Friday, June 17 so that we may get to know you as well.  Feel free to eliminate any portion of your e-mailed reflection that you may feel is too personal to share.

Some questions that may help you reflect are below but please feel free to write about whatever feels most relevant for you as you consider your own development as a leader and relationship to service.

  • When you think of the word “leader”, what comes to mind for you?
  • When you think of the word “service” what comes to mind for you?
  • In what ways have you had the opportunity to lead others and/or to serve others so far in your life?
  • What have you learned about yourself through those experiences?
  • What do you see as your authentic strengths and gaps?



Please fill in the X’s and distribute this email to:

  • One former or current supervisor
  • One colleague or peer (someone you’ve worked with or alongside)
  • One friend
  • One family member

Dear X,

Later this month, I am starting my ServiceCorps year with a five-day kick-off retreat. The facilitators for our kick-off have asked me to collect 360-degree feedback that can help me to understand the unique qualities I bring to this experience since it can be difficult for someone to look at themselves objectively.  Please take a little time to answer these four questions and email me back with your answers by June 19 and I will read your responses as part of an activity about my leadership potential. Thank you so much in advance.

1.     Please describe a specific time/experience when you saw me performing at my best. 

2.     What qualities did I exhibit in that experience and perhaps also in other situations, that help explain the successes I’ve had? 

3.     Sometimes, leaders compensate for their weaknesses by surrounding themselves with others who complement them.  What kind of person (or people) do you think I most need around me to “fill in” what I bring to the table?

4.     It is also true that leaders have areas that they just need to improve.  Please describe one or two key opportunities for me to improve.




The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X



These are the three videos that we will show during SLI. There is no need to watch them prior to SLI, but we wanted you to have them for future reference.

An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.

Brene Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend -- not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses).

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