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L2L brings together MIT leaders, senior administrators and faculty

Eighteen MIT leaders joined senior administrators and faculty this year in a pilot program created to build the Institute's internal leadership capabilities.

The Leader to Leader (L2L) program consisted of eight two-day sessions at which guest presenters met with the L2L Fellows, all of whom were recommended by the deans and vice presidents of their respective areas.

"We've learned much from the pilot--not just about the content but also about the learning process and methodology," said Margaret Ann Gray, director of organization and employee development for Human Resources, who coordinated the program. "The pilot group helped shape all aspects of this initiative. Future L2L Fellows also will shape it for themselves, and that will keep it alive, current and successful for them, as well as for MIT."

Applications are being accepted for the 2002-03 L2L Fellowship. Any MIT employee or faculty member may apply. Faculty interested in participating may contact the Provost's Office.

The 2001-02 presenters included President Charles M. Vest; Executive Vice President John R. Curry; Provost Robert A. Brown; Dean for Undergraduate Education Robert P. Redwine; David L. Briggs, director of Lincoln Laboratory; Alex d'Arbeloff, chair of the Corporation; Dean for Graduate Students Isaac M. Colbert; Laura Avakian, vice president for human resources; Professor Paul E. Gray, president emeritus of MIT; James D. Bruce, vice president for information systems; Kyung Han and Laura Koller, project managers for MIT OpenCourseWare; six Sloan School faculty and two administrators from Lincoln Lab.

"It was a pleasure to talk with the Leader to Leader Fellows," Redwine said. "They are a very talented and dedicated group of people who were given the opportunity to gain a wide perspective of the Institute and to hear about different successful strategies for leadership. I'm sure the investment of time and effort in this program will pay off for the individuals involved and for the Institute as a whole."


Using the Sloan School leadership model that stresses three Cs (catalyzing action, contingent on context, and change signature), the program consisted of workshops, conversations and presentations. The sessions were scheduled at six-week intervals from October through June. The final meeting is scheduled for June 18-19.

L2L Fellow Greg Anderson, director of the information technology support process for Information Systems, said he was impressed by the Sloan School approach and its faculty members' savvy and generosity.

"The program made me more sensitive to the considerations for the Institute's cultures and for ways to leverage MIT's energy for progress," he said. "Through the L2L program, I'm better prepared to align work and staff with MIT's strategic direction."

Group leader Steven R. Bussolari of Lincoln Lab was teased good-naturedly by the other fellows for being the only person in the group whose title contained the word leader. During the sessions, he formed a bond with the fellows based on campus and discovered a lot of common ground.

"It's been said that 'when compared to campus, Lincoln [Lab] is like the Prussian army,'" he said. "However, the underlying values--technical excellence, being data-driven, the desire to work real-world problems, the application of technology for the benefit of humankind, etc.--are clearly shared, and reflect the philosophy upon which MIT was founded."

"I'm surprised by how much I gained from the L2L program overall," said Robin C. Elices, administrative officer for the departments of chemical engineering, and materials science and engineering, and the Center for Biomedical Engineering. "I've formed new relationships and deepened existing connections with key individuals across the Institute, and these connections help me to facilitate my day-to-day work activities and to better serve my home departments."

As a result of the program, she has developed a more sophisticated sense of leadership. "I now have a concept of leadership coming from many levels throughout the Institute, rather than leadership coming only from members of our senior administration," she said. "I've become more aware that I can lead through others around me, creating opportunities for my staff to take leadership roles in a number of ways."

Besides Anderson, Bussolari and Elices, the 2001-02 L2L Fellows are Stephen A. Dare, director of Resource Development; John P. Dunbar, assistant to the provost for space planning; Gillian C. Emmons, assistant controller in the Controller's Accounting Office; Deborah L. Fisher, Institute auditor in the Office of the Executive Vice President; Patrick W. Fitzgerald, director of cost analysis in the Office of Sponsored Programs; and Professor John R. Hansman of aeronautics and astronautics.

Other fellows are Ronald E. Hasseltine, assistant dean in the School of Science; Marianne L. Howard, director for human resources administration; Stephen D. Immerman, director of enterprise services in the Office of the Executive Vice President; Kirk D. Kolenbrander, special assistant to the president and chancellor; Monica Lee, director of the Publishing Services Bureau; Steven C. Marsh, managing director of real estate in the Treasurer's Office; David W. Myers, director of design and construction in Facilities; Theresa M. Regan, director of the Office of Computing Practice; and Wayne Turner, associate director of financial system services.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 5, 2002.

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