Article written by Loudoun Chamber Intern, Emma Royce
On a breezy Monday morning, I had the opportunity to visit the office of Kindra Harvey, Program Coordinator of Leadership Loudoun. Warm, engaging, and passionate, Kindra has been essential in the development of this local non-profit specializing in the development of servant leaders. Based in Leesburg, Leadership Loudoun looks to engage leaders of all ages and backgrounds to develop themselves and impact their community. Their 9-month leadership development program begins in September and runs through May. They just had their graduation for the class of 2019 on May 17th!
Leadership Loudoun held its first class in 1991 as an extension of the Board of Directors of Loudoun Volunteer Services. Looking to incorporate the participation of both public and private sectors, Kindra says that Leadership Loudoun’s mission is to create a transformative experience for growing leaders which builds leadership skills and produces a greater impact in Loudoun County. She goes on to say that a big part of this is empowering Leaders of all levels to deepen their community impact and emphasize the value of diversity, servant leadership, innovation, relationship building, and integrity.
Kindra mentions that it is important for leaders to begin improvement by beginning with themselves. One of the ways that Leadership Loudoun looks for the betterment of their leaders is to serve others in their community. Kindra chuckles and mentions that one of her all-time favorite quotes about leadership comes from Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall: “If service is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.” This, says, Kindra, embodies the essence of what it means to become a servant leader. That personally was a huge takeaway for me.
Kindra says that one of her biggest goals in developing leaders is to focus on the diversity of the leaders. She emphasizes the importance of having varying perspectives so there are minimal misunderstandings in a group and that the end goal in conflict is to move towards understanding one another as human beings. Kindra mentions that between 20-30 individuals from an entire spectrum of backgrounds come through and graduate Leadership Loudoun’s class every year. The instructors utilize Leadership Learning Modules (LLMs) to train, educate, and engage their students through real-life scenarios, such as the discussion of racial equality, gender equality, or cultivating compassion and empathy.
One of the most popular topics Leadership Loudoun discusses is that of avoiding burnout in both professional and personal definitions. Kindra says that we can often become so wrapped up in someone’s job description or title that we forget about the person behind the title. Leaders can be forgotten about as regular human beings, she emphasizes. Kindra says that it is essential as a leader to ask oneself, “How do I care for myself in this leadership role?” That was a big truth-bomb for a young woman like myself to hear, and I so appreciated learning from Kindra during the course of our interview.
When asked to summarize what leadership means to her in a personal sense, Kindra smiles and says, “Service. At its core, to be a leader means to be a server of your people. It means cultivating empathy times 10 and focusing on the individual human condition of your team. It also means taking accountability for your group… and to defend and assume responsibility for your team.”
5 book titles that Harvey recommends for leaders wanting to grow are:
- “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg
- “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
- “Attitudes and Altitudes: The Dynamics of 21st Century Leadership” by Pat Mesiti
- “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson
- “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz
2019 Leadership Loudoun alum K.C. Repage writes: “This class has changed my life in the most positive way. I walked away with an unbreakable bond with my classmates and amazing instructors Kindra Harvey and Scott. I walked into the class thinking there was no possible way I could learn more about Loudoun and leadership, but I was VERY wrong.” Congratulations to the Class of 2019!
Leadership Loudoun’s membership consists of monthly full-day sessions, an overnight retreat, and a small-group project which is based upon a current county issue. The application for the 2020 Class closes on June 28th, 2019. For further questions or inquiries about the program, please visit https://www.leadershiploudoun.org.
Photos courtesy of Kindra Harvey & Emma Royce.