Home Concepts Adult Development VI. Generativity in Four Acts: Introducing the Cast of Characters

VI. Generativity in Four Acts: Introducing the Cast of Characters

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The Sage Leadership Project

We turn third to a group of 100 men and women who were interviewed in conjunction with a two-year project about the civic lives of 50 emerging sage leaders (age 25-55) and 50 senior sage leaders (age 56-90) living in Grass Valley and Nevada City, California. It was the concept of intergenerational Sage-ing that inspired the governing board of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership (the California Western Nevada County umbrella service organization for nonprofits) to conduct in-depth interviews with each of the 100 sage leaders. Results from this project were reported in a book published by the Center for Nonprofit Leadership in January of 2012 and co-authored by the two of us (Sages Among Us: Harnessing the Power of Civic Engagement).  We make use of this interview data primarily with regard to the second, third and fourth roles of generativity.

The Featured Players

Two women and two men were especially selected from among those participating in the Sage leadership project to play featured roles in the current book. They are each amazing senior adult leaders who have had long and full lives and have engaged extensively in each of the four roles of generativity. These Featured Players are Daniel Weinberg, Dale Richards, Sally Johnson, and Lisa Underwood. We wish to introduce you to all four of our Featured Players. We have taken care to disguise them by name and personal history—except for the actual lessons they report having learned during each of the four generative stages.

Daniel Weinberg: A native of Burlington, Vermont, Dan was raised by a single mother after his father was killed in the South Pacific during WWII. He graduated with a BS degree in physics from a prestigious Ivy League university in New York State and also was in the naval reserve there. Dan was called-up during the Vietnam War, where he served as an Ensign on two aircraft carriers. His marriage failed during this period, and his ex-wife moved with their young son and daughter to her childhood home in Santa Barbara, California. Estranged from his ex-wife and children, Dan decided to pursue graduate studies at a private university in Southern California, where he earned his Ph. D. in physics in 1971. He so impressed his major professors that Dan was invited to join the graduate faculty of the university as an assistant professor of physics. He then remarried and had a son with his new wife, who was a young assistant professor of English at the university. Over a period of 13 years, Dan quickly moved through the professorial ranks and established a stellar reputation in physics research. This led him to being appointed Provost of the university and, ultimately, its president. After serving as university president for 18 years, Dan and his wife decided to retire in Northern California.

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