Please join us in congratulating John Michael Spelman, Executive Director of Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center, on being selected to participate in Leadership Rhode Island’s Core Program for 2022.
In this leadership development program, “class members engage in shared experiences, events, socials, community engaged projects, strengths-based coaching, and individual learning opportunities.”
The 10-month program consists of an overnight retreat, monthly day-long sessions, and a small-group project. The 2022 program begins on Jan. 6.
Part of the application process included answering the question: “What do you see as a major problem for Rhode Island and how are you working to solve that?”
“I see a real leadership drain from Rhode Island; we have some amazing universities, but not as many places for people to have
internships or start their careers,” Spelman said. “And at Aldersgate I'm hoping that we can train some of these college students into leaders … the world needs leaders with foundations in faith that guides who they are. Not every person who's coming to Aldersgate is going to be a pastor, not everyone has that calling, but we can incorporate faith into their leadership, whatever industry they're going into.”
Spelman said he hopes the Core Program will let him “[gain] a perspective on how the wider state works, so that we can understand how Aldersgate might fit into that equation. I think something that we have struggled to do is reach out to non-Methodist organizations, whether it be faith groups or businesses, and understand how Aldersgate might be useful in coming alongside some of these organizations.”
It was Aldersgate Board member Lee Arnold, an alumnus of the program, who suggested Spelman apply.
According to Leadership Rhode Island, there are more than 2,700 alumni in its network and more than 700,000 nationwide. Leaders in the program come from the for-profit, nonprofit, and public sectors.
The day-long programs focus on various areas such as culture, understanding how Hispanic immigrants or Native Americans in Rhode Island continue to shape Rhode Island’s culture, or defense, with the chance to explore the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, as well as the National Guard and State Police.
“I'm looking forward to the deep dives into these topics,” Spelman said. “I am also looking forward to having a network of professionals — one of the alumni described it as having ‘a Cabinet of professionals’ — that you can go to, who are not intimately associated with your company or your nonprofit, but you can bounce ideas off of; having that will be invaluable.”
While Spelman looks forward to learning about the other participants, he’s also excited to make his own contribution.
“I think that I bring a really interesting perspective [coming] from a faith-based nonprofit, he said. “[I am] able to bring faith to the equation in a non-confrontational, non-judgmental way. And so, I think, offer a new perspective for some people.”