History of Leadership Development
Prior to 1997 the Fraternity did not offer a formal leadership program for its members. Instead, leadership training occurred on an ad-hoc basis, primarily focused on developing District Presidents after their election into office. Moreover, there were insufficient funds available to develop a formal leadership program. This changed at the 1997 National Convention in Scottsdale, AZ, when the students voluntarily voted to raise their own member dues with a portion earmarked specifically for leadership development. As the incoming National Vice President for Programs, Kirk A. Randazzo was tasked with creating a formal leadership training program. In response to this charge, he created the Guide to Leadership Development. This Guide offered specific information related to leadership that students could read (copies were distributed through the mail to all chapters and available online for all individuals). Additionally, the Council invested resources into workshops that were offered at district and national conventions. Some of these workshops tied directly to the Guide, but most of the speakers came from outside Kappa Kappa Psi and therefore their workshops only loosely connected to the printed material.
Based on feedback from active members, the National Council decided in 2004 to establish a weekend event dedicated specifically to leadership development. The Council asked Dr. Randazzo to create the curriculum for this event and in response he developed the Leadership Symposium. This one-day event used the lessons from Third Degree to illustrate specific leadership traits and skills. The Council conducted a pilot program for the Leadership Symposium in 2005 at the District Leadership Conference and determined that future Symposia would be offered over the summer in non-national convention years. Consequently, the first Leadership Symposia occurred in 2006 (in Louisville, KY, and Dallas, TX) with additional Symposia in 2008 (in Pittsburgh, PA, and Oklahoma City, OK) and 2010 (in Lexington, KY, and Denver, CO). Feedback from these symposia was overwhelmingly positive and students expressed an interest in having more events (possibly at district conventions) offered so that the
material could reach more individuals.
However, at the 2011 National Convention in Colorado Springs, CO, the National Council decided to cease offering the Leadership Symposium and instead organize a task force charged with creating a comprehensive leadership development program. This group spent two years surveying active members and college band directors to determine which skills and traits individuals most needed training. Based on this information, several alternative programs were debated and discussed. An initial proposal called for a commercial vendor to produce a series of online modules for individuals to access on their own time. However, this option was ultimately rejected, in part because of the substantial expense, and in part because of the lack of a comprehensive approach. In the meantime, while this task force was busy identifying possible alternatives, the Fraternity’s leadership program consisted of a series of ad hoc workshops offered by several different individuals and based on widely varied interests. While some of these workshops provided worthwhile information, others were not positively received by the active members.
Consequently, in 2017, the National Council decided that a comprehensive leadership development program was necessary. Such a program would encompass a two-pronged approach, that combines a series of ‘in-person’ workshops offered during district and national conventions with supplemental information available online. The Council asked Dr. Kirk Randazzo to develop this program. In response, he created The Founders’ Circle which became available to members at the 2019 Centennial National Convention in Stillwater, OK.