Latest Event Updates

Pope Francis Invites Young Economists and Entrepreneurs to Assisi to Propose a Pact for a New Economy

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From 26 to 28 March 2020 the city of Assisi will host The Economy of Francis, an international event aimed at young economists, entrepreneurs, and change-makers engaged in thinking and practicing a different type of economy. The invitation to participate comes directly from Pope Francis, through a letter in which he invites young economists and entrepreneurs from all over the world of all backgrounds and beliefs to the City of St Francis, which is a symbol of humanism and fraternity. The goal of the meeting is to initiate a process of global change to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable economy that does not leave people behind. The event is organized by a committee composed of the Diocese of Assisi, the Assisi City Council, the Seraphic Institute of Assisi and the Economy of Communion.

Logo EoF 03 rid 350The most complex problems in today’s world, from safeguarding the environment to justice for the poor, need a courageous commitment to rethinking the economic paradigms of our time. In the Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, the Holy Father recalled that everything is intimately connected and that the Earth is our “common home”. He launched an appeal to defend it and all of humanity that inhabits the Earth. He warned us against the careless exploitation of resources and short-sighted policies that look to immediate success without prospects for the long-term. Inspired by the example of St Francis, it is therefore necessary to rebuild a new integral ecology, one that is inseparable from the concept of the common good, which must be implemented through choices based on solidarity and the “preferential option for the poor” starting “from solving the structural problems of the world economy.”

«Pope Francis’ invitation to young economists and entrepreneurs is an event that marks a historic step forward because it brings together two of the Pope’s key themes and passions: his priority for the youth and his pursuit of a new type of economy. In his name, we are inviting young economists and entrepreneurs who are more sensitive to the spirit of Francis’ Oikonomia, to share with them the best of today’s economic thought and practices around the world. The word Oikonomia brings together many realities: the Greek root recalls household management but it also refers to the care of our common home, the OIKOS. We also consider it in reference to Oikonomia as understood by the Fathers of the Church: a theological category of universal salvation. Assisi is an essential part of the event because it is a city that points to a different type of economy. Various venues in Assisi will host parts of the program, which will be built around the three pillars of Francis’ Oikonomia: the youth, the environment and the poor», says Prof. Luigino Bruni, Scientific Director of the Committee.

For Pope Francis, the event represents the consolidation of a “pact to change the current economy and give a soul to the economy of tomorrow”. It intends to give hope for the rights of future generations, for welcoming life, for social equity, for the dignity of workers and the preservation of our planet. From 26 to 28 March 2020, The Economy of Francis will consist of workshops, artistic events, seminars and plenary sessions with renowned economists and experts in sustainable development and the humanities, who will reflect and work together with the youth.

You can register and reserve your spot at this historical event at www.francescoeconomy.org

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EoC’s Elizabeth Garlow receives Honorary PhD from the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology

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We are very happy to share that the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (DSPT) bestowed upon Elizabeth Garlow, a long-time member and leader of the Economy of Communion (EoC) initiative in North America, the degree of Humane Letters honoris causa. Elizabeth was also named a Fellow of the School.

elizabeth-garloe-fellow-dspt.jpgIn his citation on the day of Elizabeth’s induction in the DSPT College of Fellows, Father Michael Sweeney said: “You have characterized yourself as ‘focused on an economy of belonging.’ This, we are convinced, could serve as a superb summary of the Church’s social teaching on the economy and of what Pope Francis has called ‘an integral human ecology.’ We are honored that you have accepted our invitation to enter into conversation with us concerning the interface of faith and culture as a member of the College of Fellows.”

You can read more about her background and his full citation here.

Listen to Elizabeth Garlow directly as she addresses the May 2019 graduates of the DSPT in her 8-min commencement speech about bringing faith into dialog with culture and creating an economy of inclusion for all people.

Join Us for the 2018 Meeting of the Economy of Communion

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The North American Association of the Economy of Communion and the Business, Faith, and the Common Good Institute of Creighton University invite you to attend the 2018 gathering of the Economy of Communion, that will be held at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska, on Oct. 5-6, 2018.

In today’s world, globalization presents to us significant challenges such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, and forced migration… All these situations make us question if this is the world we want, if the economy can change for the better.

The Economy of Communion project (EOC) offers a new perspective facing these challenges: a new business culture where free enterprises become the cradle of a culture of giving, that fosters fraternity, social bonds, sustainability, and communion, rather than individualism and profit as an end in itself.

You can learn more about the event and register at the following link.

The deadline to register is September 30th, 2018.

Register Now

 

 

Seeking Leaders of Unity in an Age of Disruption

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By Jim Funk

If you are a leader of influence and want to contribute to shaping a better world, you won’t want to miss the 5-day intensive leadership development experience my Consulus and Sophia University colleagues are offering in Loppiano (Italy) twice a year. The next session date is April 8-12, 2019.

Why is this course being offered, and why is leading for unity so important in the world today? We invite you to read this article that Lawrence Chong, CEO of Consulus (EoC business in Singapore) and Jim Funk (EoC business owner in the USA and Consulus partner. Article by Lawrence Chong and Jim Funk.

This leadership course was designed as a response to what Pope Francis asked of the EoC members who met with him in February 2017: “Therefore, we must work toward changing the rules of the game of the socio-economic system. Imitating the Good Samaritan of the Gospel is not enough.”

For more information on the course or to register please visit the course site:
Global Leaders of Unity Executive Course

Please join us!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: 2018 EOC Annual Meeting

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We are happy to let you know that this year’s North American Meeting of the Economy of Communion (EoC) will be held at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska, on Oct. 5-6, 2018.

We are continuing to alternate the location of our meetings between the little city of Mariapolis Luminosa and Universities supporting or desiring to learn more about the EoC. Last year’s meeting and summer school was held at Mariapolis Luminosa, so it was the turn of another university this year.

The choice fell on Creighton University, where one of our members, Prof. Andy Gustafson, teaches business ethics. We will have the opportunity to meet many new friends there, incl. some of his fellow professors, students and local entrepreneurs, as well as learn more about Andy’s local EoC business called Communion Properties.

More details regarding the agenda will be shared soon. Stay tuned.

 

Great leaders inspire others. How?

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By Jim Funk

Paralympic Skiier

The Winter Olympic Games and Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, were totally inspiring to me. Watching the Shib Sibs glide and dance across the ice in expressive and unified harmony, cheering on Lyndsey Vonn as she sped down the mountain at over 80 mph in her final Olympic Games, and noticing my heart racing as the bobsled teams careened down the icy track.  All of these events and more were amazing feats of athleticism, and they were undeniably inspiring.

But what was it that made them inspiring? To me, it was first and foremost witnessing the awesome capability that each Olympian had developed through years of practice, coaching and persistence. But more than that, it was the stories behind each of the competitors. In every case these athletes had to overcome setbacks and failings, injuries or illnesses, and in the case of Paralympic athletes, conditions that could have prevented them from even leaving the house or driving a car. Yet look at what they were able to accomplish through their tenacity and sheer will. These athletes show that to be inspiring to others, you must be inspired yourself.

So what is it that makes leaders inspired? Do they have to be as competent and persistent as Olympic champions, overcoming incredible challenges and going beyond what seems humanly possible? Leaders who have done that to varying degrees can certainly be inspired through their experiences. But it’s more than that. I believe leaders are inspired through the process of becoming who they are as a person—their characteristics, values and behaviors. When a person is willing to be honest about his or her shortcomings and vulnerabilities, for example, humility is developed. Having the courage to admit faults and overcome them helps build character and become authentic—true to who they are.

Inspired leaders also know they don’t have all the answers, which causes them to seek what they need to make good and wise decisions. Sometimes this comes in the form of patience while they gather information, or they may ask for the opinions of others who have more expertise. With trust in the people around them to use their own talents, as well as to provide honest feedback to the leader, they go forward and take actions they believe to be prudent, and they take reasonable risks. They know that if they fail it won’t be the end of the world. In fact, when things don’t go as they hoped, they learn from their mistakes and become even better.

Inspired leaders are also hopeful. They see the glass half full, and know that even in the darkest of times there is light to be found. In spite of difficulties, they remain positive and believe they will somehow be able to figure out a workable solution. They believe that all will be well, or at least as good as possible under the circumstances.

What makes an inspired leader inspiring to others? In my experience working with leaders who I considered inspired, there were four main areas of inspiration for me:

  • Functional Leadership Competence. Capable leaders build the trust of others because they are able to deliver. They know what they are doing, and they know to engage other talented people in what they don’t know how to do.
  • Mental and Thinking Competence. These leaders are able to learn and assimilate new information quickly, think critically, and apply their knowledge to solve complex problems. They are good decision-makers, and they are skilled at persuading others.
  • Heart and Spirit Competence. This area represents who the leader is as a person—the values, virtues, and character strengths that inform decisions, actions, intent and authenticity. Integrity, initiative, and the ability to build and maintain strong and positive relationships fall into this category.
  • Physical Competence. I am referring here to the physical presence of the leader. This includes how they communicate and listen, what kind of impression they make on others, and their self-awareness. Along with heart and spirit competence, physical competence can either foster a sense of authenticity and trust on the part of others, or it can create distrust if it’s missing.

To me, these competency areas hold the critical leadership behaviors and awareness that enable leaders to inspire others. It is not only what they do, but who they are, that inspires followership and engagement.

Holistic Leader Competencies - InspiredInspired leadership is one of the nine characteristics I have defined in my Holistic Leadership Model. Holistic Leaders embody the competency areas I listed above, and they do so with inspiration. Holistic leaders know how to integrate their character and values into their leadership, and they understand that they bring their whole selves to their leadership role—body, mind and spirit.

How does one become an inspired leader? I would suggest starting with three questions to reflect on, followed by actions that help build inspired leadership.

  1. How willing am I to look critically at myself, and open myself up to honest feedback and self-awareness that will help me discover areas where I need to grow—the characteristics, habits and behaviors I need to change if I want to inspire others?
  2. How open am I to learning from other inspired leaders to understand how they got that way—perhaps through coaching, mentoring, studying and reading?
  3. Am I willing to create a concrete plan of action, identifying what I can do to build the competencies and behaviors of an inspired leader—acknowledging that it requires a lifetime of learning and continued formation and development?

Let me conclude by saying that I don’t think being an inspired leader is optional. Inspired and Holistic Leadership is truly needed to navigate the complex relationships and responsibilities of leaders in the world today, whether in a small company, a large global enterprise, an educational institution, or a governmental entity. The question is, are you willing to make the effort to move outside of your comfort zone, to be a life-long learner and become what the world truly needs: an inspired, holistic leader? Take a lesson from the Olympians. It requires commitment, focus, practice, persistence, willingness to fail, and continuous improvement. Are you up for it?

Jim Funk is a consultant who helps leaders, teams and organizations discover and develop their full potential. He is passionate in believing that strong leadership competence combined with the leader’s personal characteristics, values and virtues are key to achieving goals and driving business results. In addition to his work at J L Funk & Associates, Jim has served on various boards and commissions, and is currently a member of the Economy of Communion in North America Commission. Learn more about Jim’s work at www.jlfunk.com and www.linkedin.com/in/jlfunk or e-mail him at jim@jlfunk.com

Is servant leadership all that great?

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By Jim Funk

Servant Leadership for Blog

In my years of working with executive teams, I’ve noticed a common expectation that good leaders must be able to do four main things:

  • Empower people
  • Inspire people
  • Create a shared vision
  • Lead change

Although virtually all organizations agree on these baseline expectations, many have set an even higher bar: being a servant leader.

This term can be a bit confusing because people typically think leaders are served by their reports rather than the other way around.  So, who or what does a servant leader serve, and why?

When I ask this question in one of my workshops, a common response is that by being served, people have the support and resources they need from their leader to do the work of achieving results. They cite examples of the servant leader making sure that people and teams have the direction, supplies, time, and talent they need to get the job done. The servant leader ensures everything is in place to make the team successful.

While that is true, when I observe leaders who I would characterize as servant leaders, I see much more than making people and teams functional and successful. I see leaders who have a disposition of service to others, putting others first even at the risk of short-changing themselves. These service-oriented leaders not only make sure people have what they need, they take a personal interest in them and care about their well-being. They put others’ needs ahead of their own. They are willing to sacrifice, and to take less in order to give more.

So, what difference does servant leadership make? Isn’t it the responsibility of everyone to simply do their part, and to be accountable for their results without having to be served? Let me give a few examples of why servant leadership is not only good leadership, it makes a huge difference in what can be achieved.

  • John Mundell is the owner of Mundell and Associates, an environmental consulting firm and Economy of Communion business. John took time and resources from his business to help start and support a non-profit, Project Lia, that gives women who are coming out of prison an opportunity to learn job skills so they can re-enter the workforce. Who or what is John serving: Individuals who are coming from a vulnerable situation, and arguably serving the community itself. The difference it makes: In all likelihood, these women will not commit crimes that would return them to prison. (Another re-entry program in Indiana has been able to reduce the 3-year recidivism rate in the state from the usual 36.1% down to 12.5%.) Instead they will become contributing members of society.
  • Joe Pickard is the executive director of The PEERS Project, which trains and develops peer leaders in high school to share their experiences with middle school students about how to make good decisions and avoid risky behaviors. Although the program went through budget cuts that eliminated funding and positions, Joe took on extra work to keep the program going. Who or what is Joe serving: The peer leaders, the schools, the students, and the program itself. The difference it makes: Without Joe’s selfless commitment, the program would have folded long ago. Instead, the community will continue to benefit from a program that helps local youths.
  • Loraine Brown was the interim vice president and chief mission officer for a major hospital system. Although the role was temporary, she chose to backfill her previous position to ensure things continued running smoothly in her absence. She did this at the risk of not having a position to go back to when her temporary assignment was completed. Who or what is Loraine serving: The people and hospital departments that need the services of her former position, and the mission of the organization. The difference it makes: Important services are provided, and the jobs of her other staff are preserved for as long as possible.
  • Grant Marsh is the general manager of The Guild House, a creative American cuisine eatery in Columbus, Ohio. He gave one of his waitresses the week off so she could see her sister who was moving away, even though it was a busy time and all hands were needed on deck. Who or what is Grant serving: The personal needs of the individual and her family. The difference it makes: The waitress feels cared for as a person, and will likely be a loyal employee for years to come.

These may each seem like small things, but when the leader’s first thought is of others rather than of self, there is an impact that will be felt well beyond the immediate situation and people involved. In each of these examples, there is a positive ripple effect that extends to other people, to the broader organizations, and even to whole communities. Relationships are also built and strengthened through service to others, and loyalty is developed when people experience the care and concern of a leader who is in a position to make a difference in their lives and work.

Holistic Leader Competencies - ServantServant leadership is an important characteristic in the model of Holistic Leadership I have developed that places the person at the center. It is based on the principle that work not only provides income to people and profits for a company, but it gives meaning. People want to contribute to products and services that are good for consumers and communities.

How does a leader develop into a servant leader?  Regardless of whether a leader is new in his or her role, or seasoned with many years of experience, there is always an opportunity to further develop the mind, heart and spirit of a servant. I say mind, heart and spirit because service is not only about taking outward actions, it is about the disposition of the person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Start with these fundamental questions:

  • Do I think of others’ needs before my own?
  • Am I willing to risk losing my own ideas in order to promote the ideas of others?
  • Am I careful not to take credit for work that is done by my team, even though I am their leader?
  • Do I have true care and compassion for the people I lead, and take an interest in matters that are meaningful to them?
  • Do I look for ways I can help the people I lead rather than thinking of what they can do to make me look good?

These are starting points for reflection, but on a longer-term basis developing servant leadership requires genuine humility, love for people, and a desire to give rather than receive. I don’t know if any single workshop or book can develop the mind, heart and spirit of a servant in a leader, but an openness to feedback from others, and seeking a mentor who demonstrates servant leadership will go a long way. Give it a try. If you have ever worked for a true servant leader, as I have, you know it’s not only a good thing—it’s great for people, and great for business.

Jim Funk is a consultant who helps leaders, teams and organizations discover and develop their full potential. He is passionate in believing that strong leadership competence combined with the leader’s personal characteristics, values and virtues are key to achieving goals and driving business results. In addition to his work at J L Funk & Associates, Jim has served on various boards and commissions, and is currently a member of the Economy of Communion in North America Commission. Learn more about Jim’s work at www.jlfunk.com and www.linkedin.com/in/jlfunk or e-mail him at jim@jlfunk.com