Everyone is a Leader with the Ability to Help Improve the Black Community!

The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) is excited to present our 5th Annual Gala Breakfast Celebration: The Four Personas of Leadership with panel member Shawntera M. Hardy (founder of PolicyGrounds Consulting), along with Al McFarlane (Insight Media), Reuben Moore (Minnesota Community Care), and Caroline A. Wanga (Target Corporation).

The gala will bring together over 500 changemakers and leaders from across the Twin Cities and Minnesota to delve into AALF’s four personas of leadership, which include Thought Leader, Influencer, Builder, and Ambassador. As a data-driven, people-powered organization that is all about empowering African Americans to uplift our community and support our Black leaders, we believe everyone is a leader with the ability to help improve our community. AALF’s leadership personas are defined as:

  • Thought Leader: A seeker, analyzer, and synthesizer of information who understands and solves problems by developing progressive solutions through innovation and creativity.
  • Influencer: An activator in community who organizes people to take actions around an issue or strategy.  Someone who takes the initiative to impact the distribution of political and/or economic power by encouraging, persuading, or directing decisions.
  • Builder: A developer of programs and infrastructure who utilizes information and prioritizes inputs and desired outcomes to establish support for community-level activity. These people build solutions to problems without deviating from the initial intent.
  • Ambassador: A person who promotes community empowerment by working directly with members of the community and organizing action. This person shares stories and information, supports awareness and insight on key issues, and acts as a hub for community members.

Building Together a Model for Change

As work in the African American community evolves, we need to adopt new narratives around “who” the Black community is and re-learn what it means to work collaboratively. Our ancestral culture calls for us to be a village that values the collective unit of “us.” This cultural characteristic has been the guiding star for many of the communities we originated from; from the Asante Kingdom in Ghana to the Civil Rights movement. By bringing African Americans together through monthly CONNECT events, town halls, forums,  and our Collective Impact Task Force and Work Streams, AALF is fostering unity in our community and helping to empower our leaders to maximize their impact. Educating emerging leaders about the many ways of being a leader is also a crucial component. It’s important for us to re-frame and help our community understand the leadership personas that currently exist within the ecosystem of changemakers. AALF’s leadership personas are dynamic and include a variety of leadership characteristics and forms; each one relies on the others. The personas are fluid — working in parallel and overlap of each other, webbing the necessary links and building collectivity in our community. The gala event is a great opportunity for participants to learn more about the personas, discover where they fall on the leadership spectrum, and meet other changemakers across the Twin Cities.

About Shawntera M. Hardy: Panel Member

Shawntera is the Founder of PolicyGrounds Consulting, a strategic management firm working at the intersection of public policy, organizational effectiveness, and economic development. Shawntera is an award-winning policy professional and serial entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience leading work in areas of government affairs, healthcare access, economic and workforce development, environmental sustainability, city planning, and international affairs. Prior to PolicyGrounds, Shawntera was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), where she led a team of 1,300 public servants and an annual budget of $600 million. While at DEED, she played a critical role in shaping the lives of everyday Minnesotans by spearheading the state’s investment in inclusive economic growth and operational excellence.

Additional leadership roles for Shawntera include: Deputy chief of staff for Governor Mark Dayton; policy director for FreshEnergy; co-founder of Fearless Commerce, which invests in Black women business owners through the publication of books and business learning events; co-founder of Civic Eagle; government relations manager for HealthPartners; and city planner for the City of Saint Paul. Shawntera is currently a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis community advisory committee; Wearable Tech Ventures board member; Minnesota Public Radio board of trustee; Great North Labs advisor; and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has an innate ability to connect people, processes, and policies. She has the lived experience and professional insight that allows her to understand exactly what is needed to create tangible shifts in systems that lead to improved performance. Her leadership skills and wealth of public and private sector experience have been invaluable in setting the vision for her work at PolicyGrounds Consulting.

The 5th Annual Breakfast Gala Celebration will be held at the University of Minnesota (McNamara Alumni Center) on Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., led by a panel of leaders from across the Twin Cities, and hosted by T. Mychal Rambo (Actor/Singer) with performances by Jamecia Bennett (Actor/Singer) and local talent.