The Blog

  • The Search for Truth

    Christie Hardwick, Class XIV Inspiration Gatherings Founder, Facilitator, Spiritual Guide “If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true-really is true- then there would be little hope for advance”. Orville Wright- American Inventor Discerning what is


    By Janice Fry, Class XIX   I was recently out to dinner with friends on a lovely warm, summer evening. The sun was just setting and the vivid sounds of a typical day were becoming more subdued. We were all glad to be there spending an evening together, enjoying each other’s’ company and cat

  • It Takes a Network.

    By Kevin Zwick (Class XXV), CEO, The Housing Trust I’ve been working in affordable housing for my entire adult life. When you step back, it’s this really amazing miracle that happens with each development. It only happens because so many partners, and laws, and coalitions, and financial innovati

  • Don’t Get Up.

    Suzanne St. John-Crane, ALF CEO Classic XXV / Urbanism XXXIV I treasure the opportunity to go through the class experience each year with our new Fellows. I can practice my “ALF skills” like mindfulness, the 4-player dialogue model and aikido approach to conflict resolution. (You can too through

  • There’s No Crying at Work . . . or Is There?

    Jayne Battey, Class XXIV Co-Founder, Miramar Farms   She was midway through her practice-run for the board presentation. She was on fire —articulate, determined, visionary and passionate. I was with her completely. And suddenly there was a gasp as her words caught in her throat. She took a d

  • Are Indian Students Still Welcome in the U.S.?

    By P.K. Agarwal Class XXXI Sharing a portion of this op ed with permission from the Sacramento Bee. On a recent trip to India to promote higher education in the U.S., I noticed one troublesome question seemed to be on everyone’s mind: “Are Indian students still welcome in the U.S.?” Internat

  • Education In the Trump Era

    By Nancy Poon Lue, Education XXXII Though I now live clear across the country from Washington D.C., I will never forget the years I had the honor of working at the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama Administration.  It was tough work with long hours and many unglamorous moments, but eac

  • “What Now?” – Reflections from the ALF / Netflix sponsored screening of 13th.

    By Chike C. Nwoffiah, Class XXI A few weeks before the New Year, ALF invited us to the screening of the new Netflix original movie 13th. For those of us that attended the screening, we left that encounter different than we were when we arrived. 13th, in my opinion, is one of the most important film

  • How has Social Media Changed Civic Engagement?

    Andrea Faiss, Chief Operating Officer, ALF Silicon Valley Is social media a virtual public square in which people engage in a free and open exchange of ideas resulting in an improved democratic process? Is social media to blame for the tenor of the presidential campaign or was social media the innoc

  • Remember.

    Suzanne St. John-Crane, CEO, American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley, Class XXV / Urbanism XXXIV A couple of weeks ago I was at the ALF National Board Meeting in Houston. A colleague welcomed us into her home for a fabulous dinner and conversation. While our board socialized, I wandered the hallway

  • “Is Urbanism Just The New Term for Gentrification?”

    Lydia Guel & Demone Carter, Urbanism Class of XXXVI A new San Jose, but for whom? This is one of several questions we are still grappling with as we near the end of our ALF Urbanism Senior Fellowship. Class 36 is the second of four ALF Urban Innovation Network classes designed to bring together

  • “Foundations and the Fallacy of a Post-Racial America: African American Men and Civic Engagement” by Emmett D. Carson

    While SVCF’s CEO and president, Emmett Carson, was a visiting Scholar at the Clinton School of Public Policy at the University of Arkansas, he wrote a paper titled “Foundations and the Fallacy of a Post-Racial America: African American Men and Civic Engagement.” In it, he proposes that philant

  • ALF Continues To Enrich My Life In So Many Ways

    Christa Gannon (Class XXV), Founder and CEO, Fresh Lifelines for Youth This time of year as a new ALF class heads to Gold Lake, I find myself reminiscing about my participation in Class XXV.  I remember the feeling of anticipation as we loaded onto the boats to cross Gold Lake to our camp site, th

  • A Call to Listen

    Suzanne St. John-Crane (Class XXV / Urbanism XXXIV) CEO, American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley A few weeks ago I sat on my couch watching history unfold. Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be nominated to a major political party in our country’s 240 year history. We ar

  • ALF Transitions

    By Susan Ellenberg (Education XXXII), Senior Director of Community Development, SJSV Chamber of Commerce In her book, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife, Barbara Bradley Hagerty identifies three themes as essential to “living richly in one’s middle years”: engage in

  • The Call to Leadership

    Jenny Niklaus (Class XXIV), VP of Innovation Networks, ALF Silicon Valley “…May my mind come alive today To the invisible geography That invites me to new frontiers, To break the dead shell of yesterdays, To risk being disturbed and changed. May I have the courage today To live the life that I

  • Ambiguity as An Opportunity

    (Guest blogger Marcela Davison Aviles, Classic Class XXII) The year I completed the ALF Senior Fellows program (Class XXII) my Mother died. That year, the ambiguity which was Mom’s chronic illness resolved at a picnic, when she sat too hard on a park bench and broke bones too brittle to withstand

  • Power (Bars) to the People

    “Choosing to be accountable for the whole, creating a context of hospitality and collective possibility, acting to bring the gifts of those on the margin into the center – these are some of the ways we begin to create a community of citizens.” – Peter Block, Community I park everyday in the

  • What Color are Your Shoes?

    Suzanne St. John-Crane (Class XXV / Urbanism XXXIV) In preparing for my next big adventure as the CEO of American Leadership Forum-Silicon Valley, I scheduled time off to begin the great letting go of the old and embracing of the new. Cue deep breath… I cleared the calendar for two weeks, booked t