Leaders Be More Effective
by Randy Weckman
It takes more than
a red tie or black sensible-but-chic pumps or a toothsome smile
to be a leader. While popular descriptions of leaders oftentimes
focus on the veneers of leadership, the real DNA of leadership
involves what the French call savoir faire, the knowing how
It is the “knowing how to do” that
is the core of the College of Agriculture’s Public Service
and Leadership major and its other programs that help Kentuckians
become better leaders.
“From the studies of voting behavior in the 1940s onward,
those who study leadership have noted that practically everyone
is a leader in some situations,” said Lori Garkovich,
rural sociologist who serves as advisor and mentor to the 40
or so students majoring in public service and leadership.
“Our precept in the public service and leadership major
is to give our graduates the 'knowledge to do'—to be leaders—in
a variety of situations,” said Garkovich.
Attracting Some of the
Her notion 15 years ago of a public service and leadership
program for undergraduates has blossomed into a major that attracts
some of the best and brightest of UK’s students, such
as Ryan Quarles '06, a senior from Georgetown, Kentucky, who
was selected this year as a Truman Scholar. Quarles, also majoring
in agricultural economics and political science, plans to earn
a master’s degree in agricultural economics before attending
Quarles is the second student from the public service and leadership
program in the past three years to be named a Truman Scholar,
one of the country’s most prestigious recognition programs,
with only 75 undergraduates nationally honored each year.
Conley Chaney '03 was named a Truman Scholar in 2002. He enters
UK law school this fall, after serving as an intern with the
USDA’s National Rural Development Partnership in Washington,
Local Leaders Envision the Future
In addition to being the guiding hand for the public
service and leadership major, Garkovich also has a vibrant extension
program through her community visioning efforts, which guides
local leaders in plotting out the future of counties and small
communities in Kentucky.
In the typical visioning program, local leaders realize that
hope for the future, alone, is not a strategy. They conclude
that a sensible plan for the future can provide them a road
map for improving their common lot. That’s when they call
in Garkovich, who helps them organize a program to allow citizens
from throughout the community to discuss what’s good in
their community and what needs attention. They also articulate
their aspirations for their own lives and their children’s
Owen County newspaper publisher Patti Clark sees the visioning
process being led by Garkovich in her community as a critical
link between today and the future, especially as the county
deals with issues associated with a substantial increase in
population that already is straining the local infrastructure.
“With Garkovich’s help, we will create a shared
vision in Owen County that involves completed surveys from more
than 20 percent of the county’s residents,” Clark
“The resulting plan will let our leaders know what the
county’s citizens believe are critical needs. This plan
for the next 20 years is proactive and will help keep our leaders
from having to take a reactive stance on issues relating to
infrastructure,” she said.
Danielle Clore, Nonprofit Leadership Institute
To help leaders in Kentucky even further, the three-year-old
Nonprofit Leadership Initiative in the College’s Center
for Leadership Development provides technical assistance, consulting,
and education to nonprofit organizations throughout Kentucky.
“We work with nonprofits—many of which are underfunded,
considering their goals—to be effective in accomplishing
their mission,” said Danielle Clore, director of the initiative.
Clore has organized workshops during the last year about topics
such as tax-exempt status, risk management, strategic planning,
fund raising, and building effective boards.
Already planned for this fall are the Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership
Forum and seminars dealing with marketing, earned-income strategies,
budgeting, and crisis communication.
And, a set of seminars called Boards 101 and sponsored by Fifth
Third Bank each January and July provides a thorough orientation
to the roles and responsibilities of serving on a nonprofit
“Fifth Third is proud to support the Nonprofit Leadership
Initiative, and this partnership is just one way we strive to
support the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations,”
said Sam Barnes, president of Fifth Third Bank of Central Kentucky.
Larry Turner, director of the Cooperative Extension Service,
said that nurturing nonprofit organizations is especially important
because the number of nonprofits has increased in response to
the need for additional services and decreased governmental
“Our efforts support community initiatives that combat
many of the 'Kentucky Uglies' that UK President Lee Todd has
identified, such as low literacy rates, poor health, and other
social issues,” Turner said.
Kentucky Enterpreneurial Coaches Institute
Another leadership program that has garnered excitement
nationally is the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute.
Started in 2004 through a grant from the Kentucky Agricultural
Development Board, the program was recognized this summer by
the Small Business Administration as one of the nation’s
best entrepreneurship programs.
The program seeks to stimulate small business start-ups in 19
tobacco-dependent counties in northeastern Kentucky that are
grappling with the draconian changes to the tobacco economy
with the end of the quota system.
“Local entrepreneurs and the businesses they start will
create more jobs in communities at a faster pace than existing
big businesses,” said Ron Hustedde, director of the program.
Here’s how the program works: 30 individuals from the
19 counties were selected to attend the 16-month-long institute.
During that time, they attend nine seminars—each lasting
two to three days—oriented around various facets of entrepreneurship.
Participants work in teams to apply what they learn in the program
to help and encourage entrepreneurs in their own communities.
Two threads that are constantly front and center of the seminars
are dreaming of possibilities and learning ways to make those
dreams a reality, Hustedde said.
Program participant Sue Nickell of Fleming County is enthusiastic
about the institute.
“Small businesses provide the lion’s share of jobs
in the U.S. but are often treated as ugly stepsisters,”
Nickell said. “So much time is spent luring industry into
our communities that the small business owners are simply an
afterthought or not thought of at all.
“This program recognizes small business as the leader
in economic improvement,” she said.
The Philip Morris Program
For two decades, another College of Agriculture leadership
effort, the Philip Morris Agricultural Leadership Development
program, has focused on honing the leadership talents of burley
tobacco producers. More than 200 people associated with the
burley industry have benefited.
In the two-year-long program, funded largely by Philip Morris
Inc., the 30 participants attend 10 seminars, each lasting three
days. They also take part in a week-long study tour in Richmond,
Va. Twenty of the participants are from Kentucky, five are from
Tennessee, and one each are from North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio,
Indiana, and Missouri.
At the end of the program, the participants complete a two-week
study tour of a major agricultural producing region of the world.
“This program focuses on building human capital for a
better agricultural industry,” said Larry Jones, agricultural
economist, who serves as the program’s director.
Whether you call it knowledge to do, savoir faire, or just plain
savvy, programs of the College of Agriculture are teaching leadership
to people who can lead their organizations, business, and communities