December 5, 2018 – Over the weekend, AFS-USA conducted a leadership development workshop at Trinity College’s new Action Lab. Among the attendees were AFS-USA President/CEO Tara Boyce-Hofmann, Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, who also serves as a member of AFS-USA’s Board of Directors, and more than 30 AFS-USA Staff and Volunteers.

AFS-USA President/CEO Tara Hofmann addresses LIFT participants at a leadership development workshop

The Leadership Initiative for Teams (LIFT) workshop was created by AFS-USA’s Organizational Development team to strengthen the organization’s leadership development processes. More specifically, LIFT provides a more intentional approach to building volunteer engagement and leadership at the local level.

Because more than 4,400 individuals currently serve as volunteers with AFS-USA across 85 local area teams, the organization has identified leadership development as a key element of its ongoing Strategic Plan 1.0, which began in 2012.

Hofmann noted that the leadership development workshop serves as “a means to strengthen AFS Volunteer Teams by way of creating projects that enable AFS to have a stronger and more impactful connection with local communities.”

Several workshop participants expressed gratitude for Dr. Berger-Sweeney’s presence and support in providing access to Trinity College’s facilities and staff. The group was hosted for dinner at the college’s Hamlin Hall. Later in the weekend, four Trinity staff members joined the group for a panel discussion about ways Trinity is partnering with the Hartford community.

Through LIFT, the Organizational Development team aims to develop participants’ awareness of their individual leadership strengths, enable better collaboration and, ultimately, empower local communities to more effectively implement AFS-USA’s intercultural learning opportunities.

In the long-term, these efforts are meant to improve volunteer retention, participant experience, host family satisfaction, and community engagement.

Following this leadership development workshop, a seven-month Project Implementation phase will commence, wherein participants will apply leadership skills in their local area teams and reflect on the takeaways from the LIFT training.

“It was an especially motivating weekend with the volunteer and staff attendees leaving inspired and committed to this important work,” said Hofmann.

AFS-USA’s LIFT Workshop was held at Trinity College’s Action Lab on November 29-December 2, 2018.