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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


Polaris MEP’s Rocket Program Rolls On with All Access Bus Tour of Manufacturers

PROVIDENCE, RI – Polaris MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership), a division of the URI Research Foundation, continues its roll out of the Rocket Program introduced last month with the launch of their All Access Bus Tours.

The first All Access Bus Tours will kick off on September 29th during a ceremony marking the start of Manufacturing Week. This first tour will enable participants to take a behind the scenes look at two successful, growing manufacturing companies, WestRock of Slatersville (Formerly Polytop) and Spectrum Thermal Processing of Cranston. The tours will provide small manufacturing businesses with the opportunity to evaluate tools that can be used to help them grow.

Following a lively round table with members of the manufacturing and supply community Governor Gina M. Raimondo will sign a proclamation to declare September 28 – October 2, 2015 as Manufacturing Week in Rhode Island. In accordance with the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Day, it is an effort to raise awareness about manufacturing and the available opportunities in this growing sector of the economy.

“Rhode Island is home to more than 1,600 manufacturing companies that employ more than 41,000 people in good-paying jobs – we can’t get Rhode Island moving again without supporting growth and innovation in this important industry,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “With my jobs plan, I’m focused on making our state an easier place to do business and training our workers so that companies have the talent they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. But everyone has to pitch in for our comeback to be successful, and Polaris MEP’s Rocket Program is a great example.”

Participants have the opportunity to hear from company executives and see how they’ve executed strategies on lean efficiency, innovation and growth. They will see continuous improvement and lean strategies in action. They will also get a feel for how employee innovation drives efficiency and profitability gains.

“Our success is a direct result of the commitment that our employees have shown toward ongoing continuous improvement,” said Spectrum Thermal Processing’s Richard Houghton. “We are proud to share what we’ve learned with our colleagues in the industry.”

The All Access Bus Tours are one component of Polaris MEP’s new state-backed Rocket Program, which has a mission to help Rhode Island’s small manufacturers hit new levels of profitability, job growth and efficiency.

“Advanced manufacturing is crucial to Rhode Island’s ability to break new ground and lead in a number of high-margin sectors which produce value added goods and create quality jobs. Manufacturing in Rhode Island continues to demonstrate a diversity and responsiveness which will help spur new economic activity, investment, and business and job growth,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “Governor Raimondo’s jobs plan includes bold initiatives to position advanced industries for success through collaborative problem solving as well as technology and talent sharing. As part of this effort, the Chamber successfully advocated for funding for Polaris MEP to help manufacturers thrive. The Rocket Program is one innovative way that those resources are being used to help our manufacturers attain higher profitability and employment.”

The program has 3 other components: Manufacturing Consortia, Acceleration Seminars, and Launch Pad Pricing. The Manufacturing Consortia is made up of two separate member driven groups, the RI Family Owned Manufacturing Consortium and the RI Lean Consortium. The Rocket Program Acceleration Seminars will be led by nationally recognized experts on entrepreneurship and leadership and feature interesting twists such as a tour of Rhode Island aboard a C-130 aircraft from Quonset. The Rocket Program Launch Pad Pricing adjusts Polaris MEP’s project fee structure and makes programs accessible to small manufacturers.

The cost for this first tour is $20 and seats are limited. Interested parties may register or learn more about the Polaris MEP Rocket Program at

About Polaris MEP

Polaris MEP is a statewide non-profit organization that provides competitive manufacturing business improvement programs to grow RI’s manufacturing industry. Polaris is an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST MEP) and a business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. Since 1996 Polaris has delivered improvement solutions to over 750 Rhode Island manufacturers to help them achieve sustainable and profitable growth.

Adoption Rhode Island Executive Director Chosen to Attend Leadership Education Program at Harvard Kennedy School

PROVIDENCE, RI – Darlene Allen, Executive Director at Adoption Rhode Island was selected to receive the prestigious Hassenfeld Family Foundation Rhode Island Public Service Fellowship. This honor entitles Ms. Allen to be among an elite group of leaders from around the world attending a week-long Leadership Education Program at Harvard Kennedy School.  Seventy-seven students from twenty-three countries are gathering together for an intensive week of learning, growing, challenging assumptions and creating new ideas and approaches to solving complex challenges as part of the Leadership for the 21st Century Executive Education program.

“I am so very thankful to the Hassenfeld Family Foundation for this amazing and transformative opportunity,” said Darlene Allen. “The diverse backgrounds of the professionals in attendance even further enhance the value of this experience.”

The Hassenfeld Family Foundation Rhode Island Public Service Fellowship was established through the generosity of the Hassenfeld Family Foundation to support promising leaders working in public service in Rhode Island. The Fellowship is designed to provide advanced public management training to individuals committed to the public welfare of Rhode Island’s citizens through outstanding service in its state, local, and nonprofit agencies.

Adoption Rhode Island is a private non-profit agency dedicated to finding families for children in state foster care and supporting those children and families both pre and post adoption. Darlene Allen, MS has been the Executive Director of Adoption Rhode Island since 1999.

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