Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership Community Engagement Senior Sage Leadership: Interview of Keith Porter

Senior Sage Leadership: Interview of Keith Porter

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18. What are the one or two peak experiences in your life that set you on the path you’re on today?

Being raised in my parent’s home was certainly a formative experience. As a college student I was appointed president of a church youth group, which was my first significant leadership experience that mattered—as opposed to being president of my dorm in college, which didn’t really matter. In the church youth group we had a counselor who was an outstanding leader, and from him I drew insights about being more direct, demanding, and appropriate and to let go at appropriate times so the youth could make their own mistakes. That really was my leadership model to this day. I learned much from that one year experience.

Another peak experience was the Creative Initiative Foundation (1960’s) in the S.F. Bay area. It focused on very broad educational and spiritual issues as well as each individual’s personal psychological and developmental issues. One aspect was essentially a psychological self-help group with a lot of confrontational investigation of personal motivations. It was very revealing and life changing for me in understanding my defenses and learning how the world actually works. It was really a self-revelatory, life changing experience. Some found the experience hard to take, and sometimes it was, but the growth opportunities were profound.

19. You probably know other individuals who have sage leadership talents and skills but are not currently involved in the civic life of our community. Why do you believe they choose to be uninvolved? What, if anything, might be done to get them engaged?

I do see that and feel somewhat sorry for them because life is so much richer when you are involved. There are people who are now free of the requirements of having to earn a living and are not quite sure of what to do with themselves. This seems empty to me. Maybe their lack of involvement is due to the fact that they may not have yet had this kind of enjoyable, fun experience. Maybe they don’t want to expose themselves to this kind of experience because they fear that if they enjoy it there will be demands on their time (commitment) and financial resources. In other words, they haven’t experienced a place where they feel satisfaction enough to compensate for what they would have to put into it. I find people who are primarily focused on leisure activities to be boring, frankly.

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