Jul. 22, 2013  

Leadership Training in Memphis

By: Brandon Ballenger


Summer ’13 Scripps attendees. (Instagram/spj_pics)

Last weekend, executive VP Gideon Grudo and I attended the SPJ Scripps Leadership Institute in Memphis, Tenn.

It was three intense days of training, information, and barbecue. (There was also some gambling, and a visit to a former brothel.)

I’m still processing everything from the trip, and that’s apparently perfectly normal — one of the things we did was take a DiSC assessment, a sort of personality test used by businesses and nonprofits to understand personal leadership and communication styles.

According to the DiSC, I’m primarily a conscientious-type leader, who takes a while to think things through and tends to make decisions after hearing several perspectives. The program taught me how to work better with people who have different styles — like Gideon, who’s dominant-type and always ready to charge into things.

The DiSC wasn’t compact, but we had time for a bunch of other stuff, too. We got a lot of insight into how the national SPJ organization operates and what they can do to help our chapter. The bottom line there: This will hopefully help us get more money for programming, and help us promote it better.

The DiSC assessment. It involved math, too. (Instagram/spj_pics)

The DiSC. There was math, too. (Instagram/spj_pics)

SPJ’s Scripps training takes place in four cities a year. This means attendees tend to be from the same area of the country, and we got to hang out with (among many great people) two guys working hard to rebuild the Mid-Florida Pro chapter: president Ryan Little and VP John O’Connor. In the future, we might be able to team up for some larger programs.

The Scripps program is so named for a hefty grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation, and I’m grateful they believe in SPJ enough to fund the program. If you have any leadership aspirations in our organization, I recommend taking the opportunity to attend. Some attendees described it as life-changing. While I wouldn’t personally go that far, it was definitely a very educational and motivational weekend.

If you want to read more about the event, check out these two Storify round-ups: one from SPJ, and one from attendee (and card shark) Anthony Cespedes.

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