Gary Quehl and William Bergquist
[For the complete report on this project see The Sages Among Us: Harnessing the Power of Civic Engagement, available as a link through the LPC Bookstore.]
In the four essays provided in this issue of Sage we continue the exploration (that we began in Issue Three) of the central issue regarding Theory S: the civic engagements of the Sage 100. We will continue this exploration in the three following issues of Sage. In this issue we specifically explore the obstacles that face sage leaders in their civic engagement and the ways they find meaning and satisfaction in this engagement—despite the obstacles. We also offer two more interviews with one of our emerging sage leaders and one of our senior sage leaders.
The actual work of civic engagement and the dynamics of Theory S involves major trials that both emerging and senior sages find they must navigate. These barriers come in many forms: financial issues, internal and external communications, internal stress and conflict, personal issues of their own making, major differences between nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and time commitments all provide emerging sages on-going challenges.
Meaning and Satisfaction in Civic Engagement
It is not surprising that sage leaders of all ages continue to work in their favored civic organizations—because they derive great personal satisfaction and meaning from the experience. The primary motivator in the Theory S formula is this sense of meaning in the work of Sage leaders and this deep satisfaction that comes from doing important work in their community. Both emerging and senior sage leaders deliver the message that what they especially enjoy about their civic involvements is work with other people. For them, civic engagement is not only about working for the betterment of their community; it’s about collaborating with others to bring this result about. In sum, most satisfaction comes from bringing together an engaged group of people to mobilize and achieve a shared civic goal.
Sage Leadership Interviews
As we have done in the three previous issues of Sage, we offer a more intimate and detailed portrait of two sage leaders who were interviewed for the project.
One of the interviews features Emerging Sage Leader, Lori Burkart Frank. Lori has been involved with multiple projects in her community, including serving as facilitator of the Nevada County Community Leadership Project.
The second interview is with senior sage leader, Chuck Coovert. Chuck is a retired corporate executive, who has taken great interest during recent years in community services for children who have been abused in dysfunctional families. He has also served as Board Chair of a drug and alcohol recovery program and provided leadership in other community service agencies in his region.