Leadership seems to come naturally to Maria Kim, president and CEO of the Chicago-based non-profit organization Cara (www.carachicago.org). Indeed, the Chicago Booth MBA graduate is the recipient of many leadership honours. In 2017, she came to Harvard Business School (HBS) Executive Education to build on those strengths by attending the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management (SPNM) programme. Here, she shares her experience in the programme.
In what ways did you benefit from the immersive format of the programme?
The programme gave me the opportunity to detach intentionally for a week. I was able to carve out space to be curious, to be in discovery, to be in practice, to be a student. Participating as a group, we were challenged to look at the same intractable social problems we work to combat every day and confront them anew—with new frameworks that enabled us to see them with fresh eyes.
How did the diversity of participants in the programme enhance your learning experience?
The global mix of participants helped facilitate an exchange of deep work expertise and diverse perspectives. At the same time, we found similarities in sharing the challenges that we block and tackle every day. The beauty of our time together was that we were able to muscle through these very challenges after absorbing new tools, thinking, and support in the classroom—an experience that was nothing short of amazing.
What else do you feel is a strength of the programme?
This programme featured a one-two punch of academic insight that HBS presents so well. We had the orchestral leadership of Professor Dutch Leonard as well as the instruction and observations from an entire team of faculty—who were both highly entertaining and extremely knowledgeable of the industry.
Do you have any final thoughts to add?
In his parting words at the conclusion of the programme, Professor Leonard said to us, "Take the lessons learned and apply them to help advance humankind." This message resonated with us all.