Fellows are selected each year, drawing from the arts, nonprofits, corporations, government and politics, media, education, the professions, philanthropy and religion, and are diverse along many dimensions. Approximately 25 Fellows are selected by a committee composed of former participants in the program who are charged with recruiting a class that truly reflects the diversity of the tri-county region of Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin and who show outstanding leadership and potential, as evidenced by:
their achievement of positions of significant responsibility and leadership, both at work and in the community,
professional stature, showing excellence in or contributions made to their professional or occupational field, and
willingness to challenge their own assumptions and increase their understanding and awareness of others.
The twenty-day program includes a six-day wilderness experience in the mountains, during which extremely powerful bonds are forged. In the local area, monthly sessions are held on such topics as dialogue, group emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, consensus building, and ethics.
ALF Fellows apply their leadership acumen and honed skills in major corporations and small businesses, in elected and appointed positions at the local, state and national level, and in religious, cultural, and other nonprofit organizations. New coalitions are created to build a more effective community from diverse segments. Deep connections are made across all kinds of lines, inspiring leaders to a lifetime of active public engagement.
Characterized by its focus on the human capacity for collective intelligence, the ALF program begins a process of uncovering the principles of a different kind of leadership. When people who represent high achievement in different spheres of influence come together to learn and think, their creative and problem-solving power as a group can lead to highly effective coordinated action.
Program graduates, Senior Fellows, are empowered to serve as catalysts in their communities, bringing stakeholders from other sectors together to collaboratively address the most urgent public concerns. In ALF Founder Joseph Jaworski’s words, Senior Fellows are thus able to “break legislative and bureaucratic gridlock and get things done”.