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We understand that systemic problems can’t be changed independently.  But finding new ways to work together requires a new set of tools, relationships and frameworks.  LEADS combines the academic rigor of a Harvard Business School course with experiential learning opportunities to invest in local leadership capacity that reaps rewards for individuals and communities.  

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LEADS combines the academic rigor of a
Harvard Business School course with experiential 
learning opportunities

Our Model

The LEADS model comprises two interdependent program elements designed to cultivateleaders and ignite ideas for systems-level impact. LEADS is about connecting leaders, sparking new ideas, and providing a catalyst for them to make change- for themselves,

their businesses, and their communities.

of LEADS participants cited a
deeper appreciation of the need
of collaborative approaches for
large-scale change



Founded in 2018 as a pilot project in Lawrence in collaboration with of the Lawrence Partnership, the Alliance for Business Leadership and professors from the Harvard Business School, we have scaled to wider parts of Massachusetts. Despite early impact in Lawrence, we quickly realized that so many of the problems discussed in the cohort—everything from Housing Availability and Workforce Pipelines to Mental Health and Civic Engagement—could not be adequately addressed at the local level. We evolved our model to incorporate Regional Impact Clusters (RICs), filling a huge gap for cross-community alignment that exists in Massachusetts.   



LEADS (Leaders Engaged and Activated to Drive System-wide Change) has since scaled to hosted multiple cohorts in the Merrimack Valley, (Lawrence, Haverhill, and Lowell) and as well as the North Shore, focusing on (Greater Lynn, Salem, Peabody and Beverly), with expansion to the South Coast (Greater New Bedford and Fall River) underway. Ultimately, we are building a plan for to work across the state’s many gateway cities.   

LEADS cohort members
 I was very excited to have some different voices at the table, of people who don’t necessarily see themselves as leaders. 
                                                                   -John Andrews, LEADS 4.0

Spotlight on Success

Two LEADS Network members who met through the program are partnering on an effort to push Haverhill to adopt a Community Preservation Act, which would give the city access to millions of dollars per year for affordable housing, parks and recreation, and historic preservation. One respondent shared that this effort “would not have happened without LEADS. We had the relationships, the confidence, and the tools. I’m confident we’re going to get it done.”

Because of relationships built during LEADS, the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center is involved in Lawrence Community Work’s DyeWorks develop-ment project, which will include a grocery store, health services, youth programs, and community meeting space.  As part of the project, GLFHC will build a new clinic to connect those in surrounding affordable housing to essential services. Construction is scheduled to complete in 2024.

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