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Leadership for the Common Good

We have a duty to find our path, and we also have a duty to others--to serve. Most of us want to impact our community--to be positive forces. But where to start?

This lab will explore key questions like, “How can you make things happen for the common good?” and  “If you want to influence how things work, where do you start?”

The lab will also explore what separates successful movements from fizzling ones. A look at successes and failures of political and civic movements will introduce lessons that can help you in anything you want to do.

The lab will offer universal lessons through a local lens. In the Robert Putnam’s sequel to the bestselling “Bowling Alone,” entitled “Better Together,”  a full chapter was dedicated to Portland’s tradition of civic engagement - laying out our city as an exception to a national trend of atomization and disconnection. How did Portland happen? This lab will give an insider an outsider look at what made Portland. True Oregon stories will explain real world examples of regular people who had irregular impact.

Think of this lab as an introduction to sausage making for the public interest:

"Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made." -- Otto von Bismarck

"We have to eat the sausage. So let's know how to make it.” -- Democracy

 Jefferson Smith

Jefferson Smith

Meet Your Lab Leader:

Jefferson Smith is an entrepreneur, radio personality, and politician in the U.S. state of Oregon. He is the founder of the Bus Project, and served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2009 to 2012. He was one of two candidates for Mayor of Portland in 2012 to advance beyond the primary election, but lost to Charlie Hales in the November general election. He currently serves as the Executive Director for the non-profit progressive talk radio station XRAY.FM on which he also hosts a weekly program "Thank You Democracy."