Five minutes after walking into the first module of PLS, Scholar Shoeb Sitafalwalla was strategically connected by staff with a Scholar from the previous class, Esteban Lopez. As a result, Shoeb’s project in health care accelerated within months.
What PLS comes down to is people with good intentions wanting to do good things and working together to bring scale,” Shoeb said.
Shoeb, a cardiologist, entered PLS with a goal to bring together players in the health care industry. He wanted to identify disparities in chronic disease among various ethnic populations and formulate solutions. For him, the project was about recognizing the diversity of the U.S. population and the varied risks for diseases. Just as we should respect people’s ethnic identities, we should respect the health care risks that come with those identities.
Esteban, who is Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas, had always been interested in health equity. When he was introduced to Shoeb, he knew he could add value to Shoeb’s project. Shortly after connecting through PLS, Shoeb started working with Blue Cross Blue Shield and it put a spotlight on his work. It wasn’t long before news of the collaboration attracted other important partners to join his cause.
Although interested in pursuing this project for years, Shoeb said he felt he did not have the right insight or connections to implement it until he began PLS. The lessons and relationships he built during the program allowed his project to become a reality.
The Bush Institute’s priority is to nurture a unique brand of leader modeled from the values, principles, and capabilities President and Mrs. Bush have espoused throughout their lives. We believe highly effective leaders share three attributes:
1. They are deeply rooted in a clear set of core values and are defined by authenticity. These values include passion, self-reflection, empathy, humility, and servant leadership.
2. They are effective, bold leaders who work with natural allies and across traditional divides in order to pioneer strategic partnerships and more efficiently accomplish mutually-beneficial goals.
3. They are committed to achieving social change by setting goals and getting results that make their communities better—whether in their neighborhood, across the nation, or around the world.
We look for individuals who embody many of the fundamental traits described above and have begun to demonstrate their leadership capabilities in meaningful ways. Invariably, selected participants are passionate about making a difference, demonstrate significant leadership potential, are value-driven, and have empathy for others.
The Bush Institute engages and develops leaders through an integrated set of five components.
Each program adapts and applies these elements in ways appropriate to its objectives, context, and audience. We consistently find this combination of program elements is unmatched in other leadership programs.
By bringing together individuals from different backgrounds, participants grow a large and diverse network.
I learned to better understand opinions that are different than mine and this gave me new perspectives.“
– Asma Ahmadi (WE Lead 2015)
As participants travel to the Bush Institute and other sites, they gain access to exceptional leaders and resources including former presidential administration officials, business leaders, world leaders, and luminaries.
It's hard to explain how President Bush changed my life in our few meetings, but he has. He took the time to meet with me on multiple occasions, sharing his principles and lessons that he has learned, which continue to inform how I understand the world. He also made me a better citizen and leader if only by helping me to see that people who I have such deep political disagreements with can also be, fundamentally, good and decent human beings who care deeply about making the world a better place.”
– Casey Gerald (PLS 2015)
The goal of each program is to enable participants to see they can change the world. Each personal leadership project provides participants with real-life applications of their new skills, inspirations, networks, and resources.
The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is a unique leadership development program. It not only introduces participants to new leadership concepts but also allows them to practice and master those skills as they develop their personal leadership project.”
– Antonio Williams (PLS 2017)
Each program features a unique leadership curriculum designed to teach participants the essential skills to be an impactful leader. These include vision and communication; decision-making, working with and leading others; and developing partnerships and collaboration, especially by working across traditional divides.
The content taught through classes, especially political philosophy, literally opened my mind’s eye to see and understand more about how the world functions and make sense of things that happen in the country.”
– Yan Htaik Seng (LLF 2015)
One of the most powerful results of the Bush Institute's leadership programs is the degree to which participants adopt a more expansive view of their role as a leader to drive change.
There is no doubt that PLS has not only inspired me, but given me the courage to do more. Hearing the great work other scholars are doing and figuring out how I might be able to help them is a privilege. Figuring out what I can do to grow my own work has been supercharged because of the encouragement and expertise of my fellow Scholars.”
– An-Me Chung (PLS 2015)