Leadership 20/20: Learning Environments for Visionary Leaders

Published on: Author: bette Leave a comment

In August 1998 I was listening to two audio books as I was driving home from Oregon.  They were Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence and Joseph Jawarski’s Synchronicity: The Inner Path of LeadershipI listened to them in that order.  Until that trip I had never read a book on leadership – and most certainly had never thought of myself as a leader.


I was heading home to get ready for the next school year, and as I was listening to the second book, I began thinking about my 4th and 5th grade students as leaders.  It occurred to me that they would be in their 30’s in the year 2020! That’s when the thought “Leadership 2020” first popped into my mind.

My perception of myself as a teacher shifted in that moment.  Instead of being someone who had to make sure I covered all of the curriculum necessary for my kids to go on to middle school, I suddenly realized that elementary school teachers actually shape the perceptions and attitudes of the next generation of leaders.


After that trip, a series of synchronicities began showing up in my life, and the next year my husband and I found ourselves retired and living in Brookings, Oregon. I had become very excited about the idea of Leadership 2020, so we bought the URLs Leadership2020.org, dot-com, dot-net, and dot-us!  (We didn’t think of buying dot-za (South Africa) … but that’s another story you can learn about by going to that website!)

As the actual year 2020 grew closer, I began wondering what I would do with those URL’s – and quite frankly, feeling discouraged because “my” idea hadn’t really unfolded the way I had hoped it would in 1998.

At some point, however, I began to look around and I realized that I had been right all along.  Many of the dot-com billionaires that we hear about all the time were in elementary school in 1998 – and some even younger than that!  We are hearing more and more about very young innovators and  entrepreneurs who will shape the world in the coming decades.


So I was right … but I do need to shift the meaning of Leadership 2020 a bit.  Kids in the 4th and 5th grades today will be turning 30 in 2040 and beginning to assume their roles as leaders in a world that none of us can even imagine right now.  I can’t officially change my URL at this point … but I can shift my perception and attitude about what it stands for.

That’s why I like Leadership 20/20: Learning Environments for Visionary Leaders.


…..  You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow which you cannot visit,

not even in your dreams.

                                             On Children – Kahlil Gibran


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