Leadership Summit to chart bold path ahead for university

Call it a meeting of some of our best and brightest minds.

This month, Johns Hopkins volunteer and administrative leadership will gather with faculty from an array of academic and scientific disciplines. The occasion is Leadership Summit 2012, an event that President Ronald J. Daniels describes as "the next giant leap" in engaging thought leaders from across the institution in substantive dialogue about some of the challenges and priorities before our communities, our nation, and our world.

"This Leadership Summit will be a seminal event, a chance for all of us to think creatively and strategically about some of the most complex social, political, economic, and environmental issues facing our society today," Daniels says. "Time and time again across our history, Johns Hopkins has found new ways to bring our intellectual resources to bear on seemingly insurmountable challenges—and we continue to do so today."

The summit, to be held Oct. 18 and 19 in Baltimore, will continue the collaborative conversations begun at the 2010 gathering, where a similar assembly of trustees, members of the alumni council, and advisory board members from across the institution met with the leadership of the university and health system to identify Johns Hopkins' global priorities.

The purpose of the summit—now, as it was then—is to engage, inform, and inspire volunteer leaders to act on behalf of the organization as ambassadors, storytellers, fundraisers, and supporters.

"Our previous summit provided a launch point and a guiding focus for our efforts in helping to shape the future of Johns Hopkins and advocate on its behalf," says Pamela P. Flaherty, chair of the university board of trustees, and a trustee of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

This year's summit kicks off on Thursday night at the American Visionary Art Museum with a dinner and celebration of the shared achievements and successes of the Johns Hopkins community. The evening's featured speaker will be Adam G. Riess, co-winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics and the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Physics and Astronomy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

On Friday, participants will convene at the Four Seasons Hotel, where volunteer leaders will have a chance to consider some of the institution's top priorities, from pioneering a systems engineering approach to improving health care quality to making a Johns Hopkins University education accessible and affordable to all deserving students, regardless of their financial background.

A centerpiece of the day will be a series of faculty-organized breakout sessions, designed to foster in-depth conversations about a number of the university's emerging, cross-divisional priorities, with a specific focus on how volunteers can help to realize these goals. A plenary session will then close out the day.

The conversations will address a broad range of topics that reflect the university's engagement on many fronts, from sustainable resources to global health to the resurgence of urban centers. Session titles include "The American City Transformed," "The Next Revolution in Learning," "Developing Global Leaders for a New Era," and "The Coming Global Water Crisis: Prospects and Solutions."

"I'm particularly looking forward to engaging with other volunteers in serious dialogue with faculty and addressing questions on the important issues of our day," notes Flaherty.

Daniels agrees that the ideas and insights gained from the volunteer and administrative leaders will be essential in informing the direction of institutional initiatives—and in propelling Johns Hopkins forward. "This Leadership Summit is an opportunity for us to employ our strengths to catalyze positive change around the world.

"It also allows us to connect with, engage with, and be inspired by our most loyal supporters as we chart a bold new direction for this great institution," he says.