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Thumbnail Portrait of a Change Agent

Choose ONE of the following to investigate as your “exemplar” or model for leader of change or visionary. The point is to see whether you can cull life lessons from his or her biography, lessons you can apply to your own developing “leadership brand.”

Steve Jobs
Nelson Mandela
Oprah Winfrey
Eleanore Roosevelt
Harriet Tubman
Albert Einstein
Benazir Bhutto
Al Gore
Gloria Steinem
Martin Luther King
Jack Welch
John F. Kennedy
Wendy Kopp (Teach for America founder)
Abraham Lincoln
Jane Fonda
Ernest Shackleton
Howard Smith
Audrey Hepburn
Josephine Baker
Cesar Chavez
Warren Buffet

1. Present your “exemplar of a change agent.” Provide a brief biographical sketch which outlines their life story, with key turning points and accomplishments.

2. Provide the context within which this person made a significant difference or change in his or her world. What was the change? The impact?

3. How did the person affect the change? Were there any of the change strategies or ideas that we’re studying in evidence in this example?

4. List the leadership “lessons” from your hero/ine/exemplar/change agent/leader. (bulleted list with explanations, when possible)

5. What surprised you in investigating this person?

6. Select one to two of the lessons you’ve learned from your person and conjecture how YOU might apply this to your own developing leadership identity.

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