Session 1: Working Together

Date: October 16, 2015
Location: Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Lesley Golenor, AIA and Susan Pommerer, AIA, LEED AP

Session 1 PDF


The first session of the 2015-2015 Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program, entitled“Working Together,” was organized by Lesley Golenor, AIA and Susan Pommerer, AIA, LEED AP, and brought together multiple speakers and presentations that focused on the theme of productive collaboration. Before the session, all of the CKLDP scholars were asked to complete an LSI, or Life Style Inventory, a questionnaire aimed at helping us understand ourselves and our interactions with others.The scholars were also tasked with watching an informational video about the 1993 fire which destroyed Founders Hall at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, the site of the day’s session.
The first event of the day was a presentation entitled “Personal Development: Understanding Thinking Styles and Skills for Working Effectively with Others.” The presenter, Cable Clarke of Clarke Consulting,spoke of his work traveling to different organizations administering the LSI and helping employees understand the results. After explaining the difference between a company’s culture and climate, he passed out the personalized results packets to the CKLDP scholars and explained how to interpret the results. The LSI is scored using a circumplex, organized into three clusters (passive/defensive, aggressive/defensive, and constructive) each of which contains four styles, providing a compelling and easily understandable graphic analysis of our dominant aspects. Ideally, the highest scores for successful leadership would be in the constructive styles (humanistic-encouraging, affiliative, achievement, and self-actualizing) and lower in the passive/defensive and aggressive/defensive styles. Armed with the knowledge of our primary styles, Cable encouraged us to use that knowledge to take action and improve where necessary, and presented several case studies that showed how people can develop themselves over time by focusing on the constructive aspects of their LSI.
The second event of the day was a roundtable discussion entitled “Engaging the Community: Understanding the Process” and brought together panelists Daniel J. Kerns, head of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Bill Spack, AIA, principal at cox graae + spack architects, Ron B. Lewis,Chair of ANC 2E, and Thomas Luebke, FAIA, Secretary of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. The panel discussed a variety of topics pertaining to how the owner, architect, local government, federal government, and general public interact while a building is being approved and built. The panel also spoke of Georgetown’s unique historic status and how that affects the building process, the paramount importance of engaging the public, and tips on how to achieve consensus when faced with many parties that have competing interests. Throughout the discussion, the panelists discussed how their organizations collaborated successfully in the rebuilding of Founders Hall, giving a concrete example of teamwork done well.
Following the roundtable discussion was a tour of the Georgetown Visitation campus, led by Bill Spack and Daniel J. Kerns. The tour helped explain the evolution of the campus over time, including the rebuilding of Founders Hall, the creation of the central quad, the renovation of the old gymnasium into space for both theatrical performances and the celebration of Mass, and the current renovation of the school’s dining facilities. Apart from giving the scholars a chance to stretch their legs and enjoy a beautiful fall day, it also gave them a chance to see a beautiful piece of the city that many were unfamiliar with before the session.
The final event of the day was a presentation entitled “The Challenges of Collaboration: Lessons from Working in Conflict Zones.” Jeffrey Helsing, Acting Vice President of the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peace building at the U.S. Institute of Peace, drew on his experience with international negotiations to lead a lively discussion about how to successfully collaborate with others,even people with whom we may not agree. Drawing parallels between his line of work and architectural negotiation, Jeffrey used real world examples to speak of the importance of active listening, using context and identity to increase understanding, and how different conceptions of power can skew discussions, particularly when dealing with international clients. He also stressed being cognizant of consequences, both first consequences and the consequences they generate, a concept with much crossover to the architectural profession.  After the session, the scholars decamped to El Centro D.F. for happy hour, enjoying margaritas and a lively discussion of what they had learned in their first Christopher Kelley session.