2018 Sept Lima

Lima_conferenceCreating Spaces for New Knowledge and Innovative Practice in Latin America and the Caribbean

by Bridget Chisholm

Bridget Chisholm


Bridget Chisholm is ILA's Director of Conferences. She can be reached at bchisholm@ila-net.org.  

ILA’s topical conferences bring the space to the place!

Earlier this year (May 2018) ILA held its inaugural conference on the continent of Africa and last month (August 2018) the association returned to Perú for its second Latin American conference. While there, this year’s program chairs and long-time ILA members Carolina Darbisi, Jonathan Kroll, and Art Trejo led the effort to create space for new knowledge and innovative practice at this stellar event. Paramount to the conference’s success was ILA’s partnership with Universidad del Pacífico and the positive leadership of conference chair, Felipe Portocarrero Suárez. Each and every participant was also integral to the success of the conference.

In addition to all of the wonderful contributors, by many measures the conference was a resounding success. Ninety people from 13 countries (nine of which were in Latin America or the Caribbean) attended. About half of the attendees were also presenters and for 60 people this was their first ILA conference experience. But, the true measures of success are much more intangible. The connections made and the stories told. The stories yet to be told as a result of those connections. The next research project sprung from the coffee break and the plans made while sipping a traditional Peruvian beverage to hold a series of workshops integrating lessons learned.

JRKroll.jpgProgram co-chair, Jonathan Kroll (Executive Director of The Leadership Institute for Development, Education, and Research (LiDER)), summarizes things well: “The International Leadership Association created a space rarely offered in Latin America. As the founding Executive Director of a nonprofit leadership institute that facilitates leadership training and development programs in Nicaragua, this is a gap that needs to be filled. In Nicaragua — and across Latin America — there are limited (and limiting) leadership infrastructures. Our time together in Lima was an opportunity to explore the dilemmas of leadership in Latin America and, more importantly, to dialogue about and cultivate relationships with others who are striving to solve these challenges. I committed to serving as a program co-chair because I appreciate the mission of, and the forums created by the ILA. Leading up to the event, I was looking forward to utilizing this gathering as a way to expand my network of individuals engaged in leadership development and education throughout this region. Success! For me, the highlight was the intimate nature of the conference. At many of our professional and leadership development gatherings, the formal structure and presentations limit our abilities to deeply connect with the material and other participants. In Lima, the conference environment and program structure encouraged participants to ask potent questions — with space for lively follow-up and dialogue.”

Conference attendee Michelle L. Saenz-Rodriguez (Attorney at Law for Saenz-Rodriguez & Associates, P.C., an immigration and naturalization law firm in Dallas, Texas) was also pleased. “This was my first experience with ILA and I can honestly say that the level of knowledge, networking, and information that was presented at the conference was outstanding. It was a true global leadership event where I met people from all over Latin America who are very committed to having an impact on leadership in the world. The speakers each came with a wealth of information and thought-provoking theories that are both relevant and applicable immediately in the work that we do as leaders.”

First time ILA attendee and presenter, Shane A. Mohammed (Political Science Research Assistant at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago), had similar feelings. “At our welcome reception I realized that this was the best place for me to be. I immediately felt a sense of warmth and sense of belonging from the beginning to the end of the conference. I have made several friends and I look forward to collaborating with them on future projects and papers. The conference provided varying perspectives and insight into the many initiatives that our members have embarked upon in their contribution to global development. My decision to join the ILA was indeed one of my best decisions.”

Caroline Darbisi.jpgProgram co-chair, Carolina Darbisi, the Assistant Director & Public Service Faculty of the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia and also one of the founders of ILA’s Latin Leadership Global Scholars group, shared her experience in Lima and on working on the program: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to work on the ILA Lima conference program and to promote leadership development and practices from Latin America. The level of engagement and interest in the presentations was superb. Watching, first-hand, as connections were made across research areas was the success I hoped for. It has been an honor to be part of ILA’s commitment to create this space for Latin American leadership scholars and practitioners.”

If you are attending the ILA annual global conference this October in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, please considering attending the Latin Leadership Global Scholars networking dinner (all are welcome, scholar or not) on Thursday the 25th of October. Join Carolina and other ILA members as they work toward growing the Latin American network of leadership theory and practice!

ILA’s topical conferences provide an opportunity to create spaces for topic-specific leadership dialogue and discourse as well as pathways for new knowledge and innovative practice to be explored and new connections to be made. Members of ILA are people who choose to bridge theory and practice and who feel strongly that, without that handshake, true innovation and new knowledge is not possible. Without the intellect, curiosity, creativity, courage, and compassion ILA members bring to this space, a deeper understanding of leadership for the greater good might not be reached. ILA deeply appreciates the trust members place in the association to create these spaces. Thank you for your participation!

Presenter materials from the Lima conference may be accessed from the Lima 2018 highlights and resources page. Videos of the plenary speaker sessions and the special panel on female indigenous leadership are viewable on the highlights page as are photos from the conference and the pdf of the program book. Go to Highlights Page

Plenary Speakers  (L-R): Stefan Reich (Director and Founder, Adaptive Leadership Center; Professor, Adolfo Ibáñez University); Sara Maria Cifuentes Ramseyer (Asociación, Taller de los Niños); Alberto de Belaunde (Peruvian Congressman)
Plenary Speaker Annette Richardson (Partner, Ambershore Group; Special Advisor to the Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women)

View More Photos in our Flickr Album!