21 Liberty Fellows and their families were among 400 members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) who gathered at Aspen Meadows last month for the first in-person Action Forum since the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows look forward to this event every year as an opportunity to disconnect from day-to-day leadership demands, become more grounded in values-based leadership, forge relationships with other leaders, and make commitments to act.

Spouses and significant others also have the opportunity to attend the event and fully engage in all programming or to attend only the plenary sessions. Four significant others and spouses of Liberty Fellows participated in the Action Forum this year.

About the Forum

The Action Forum generates spaces and experiences to reflect, learn, engage, and act. It is a week dedicated to coming together as a community and recommitting to serving as values-based leaders. The four-day event was a combination of plenaries with guest speakers, seminars with a small cohort, leadership labs, impact sessions, and wellness activities. Each part of the program opens new doors to deepen Fellows’ understanding of their leadership, gain support, and create or find pathways to take action on the most pressing issues.

There were several national guest speakers during the forum, including Anna Deavere Smith, Rashad Robinson, Andy Karsner, and Linda Resnick. The three winners of the McNulty Prize were also featured.

Liberty Fellows contributed as speakers and moderators

Three Liberty Fellows spoke during impact breakouts: two-hour sessions to connect and learn from participants doing work on the topic, deepen knowledge and find a pathway to become an ally, get involved with existing efforts, or consider launching an effort.

Adela Mendoza (’16), executive director of Hispanic Alliance: “Moving from Crisis to Opportunities: Emerging Approaches to Better Prepare People for Leadership in a Rapidly Changing World”

Andrea Cooper (’13), executive director of Upstate Forever: “Moving from Crisis to Opportunities: Emerging Approaches to Nurture Stronger and Healthier Communities Through Greater Trust, Equity, and Well-Being”

Michael Allen (’14), CEO/Architect at MOA Architecture, Inc.: “Moving from Crisis to Opportunities: Emerging Approaches to Advance the Project of Democracy Through Better Information, Discourse, and Civic Engagement”

There were also two Liberty Fellows who served as moderators and facilitated cohorts through the seminar sessions: Betsy Fleming (’06) and John Few (’08).

Youth Programming

Making this event especially unique is the intergenerational component of the Youth Action Forum. Nine children of Liberty Fellows participated in the youth programming this year for ages 10-18 consisting of classic, text-based seminar sessions, action-oriented workshops, and intergenerational dialogues, which took place concurrently with the adult program.

Action Pledges

Ultimately, the goal of the event is to facilitate the conditions needed to create and sustain leadership ventures. Many Fellows begin to form venture ideas, and even launch ventures at the Action Forum. Fellows who are ready to commit to action grounded in their values make an “Action Pledge” on the main stage at the opening of plenary sessions.

This year, CEO of MOA Architecture, Inc. Michael Allen (’14) made the following pledge:

I will create a defined education pipeline for young future architects in all 46 counties in South Carolina by the summer of 2023.

We applaud Michael for this courageous step forward!

Recap Video

The 5-minute recap video from the AGLN is a great way to look back on the event.

Photo Gallery

We are taking many special moments with us from the Action Forum. Here are just a few: