LRI Hosts First Statewide Strengths-Based Convening in U.S.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Leadership Rhode Island (LRI) is hosting the first statewide strengthsbased convening in the United States on October 24, 2015 from 1pm-5pm at Rhodes on The Pawtuxet in Cranston, RI. The event, titled “The Greatest Lil’ State on Earth,” is free and open to the public and features Jim Clifton of Gallup, Marc Dunkelman of The Vanishing Neighbor, Karl Wadensten of VIBCO, Steve Duvel of Gilbane Building Company, Vinny Gebhart of Preventure, and hundreds of Rhode Islanders.

“We’re excited to have Mr. Clifton kick-off the first statewide strengths-based event ever, right here in Rhode Island,” exclaimed Mike Ritz, Executive Director of Leadership Rhode Island. “Jim’s drive to put his father’s decades of positive psychology research to use around the globe is making impact. Rhode Island is the perfect size to implement his work at a statewide scale.”

Over 500 attendees, residents of all 39 Rhode Island cities and towns, are already registered to attend with maximum capacity expected to be reached at 800. The afternoon is segmented into three attendee interactive sessions: individual strengths using StrengthsFinder and a strengths-based leadership activity, community strengths that rely on data collected by the current LRI class through 33 LRI-hosted community meetings across the state earlier in the year, and affinities clustered by attendee interests.

“To paraphrase the late Don Clifton, this event applies his foundational question initially applied to people to our state: ‘what if we studied what is right with Rhode Island, instead of what is wrong,’” states Ritz.

Jim Clifton’s father, Donald O. Clifton – American psychologist and World War II veteran and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross – was named “the grandfather of positive psychology” by the American Psychological Association before he passed away in 2003. Jim Clifton carries on his legacy having served as CEO of Gallup, a global leader in consulting and public opinion research and analytics, since 1988. Under his leadership, Gallup has expanded from a predominantly U.S.-based company to a worldwide organization with 30 offices in 20 countries and regions. Mr. Clifton is the creator of The Gallup Path, a metric-based economic model that establishes the linkages among human nature in the workplace, customer engagement and business outcomes. This model is used in performance management systems in more than 500 companies worldwide. His most recent innovation, the Gallup World Poll, is designed to give the world’s 7 billion citizens a voice in virtually all key global issues.

Leadership Rhode Island launched its social enterprise initiative to deliver the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment test and training to accompany it in the spring of 2014. LRI has since assessed over 1300 Rhode Islanders, a balance of emerging and established leaders within the nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors. It’s now increasing its capacity to reach more Rhode Islanders over the next 3 years.

The Greatest Lil’ State on Earth is free and open to the public, but advanced online registration is necessary at https://GREATESTLILSTATE.EVENTBRITE.COM. All registrants receive a complimentary code to take the online StrengthsFinder assessment, courtesy of Leadership Rhode Island.

About Leadership Rhode Island

Leadership Rhode Island is a 501(c) 3 non-profit, established in 1981, whose mission is “to provide leaders and emerging leaders with knowledge and access to resources which will enable them to positively affect their communities”. For more information about Leadership Rhode Island’s mission, programs and activities, please call 401-273-1574 or visit


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