Leadership Development Testimonials

alt Shaun Hearn, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library

When I attended the first Pacific Northwest Library Association Leadership Institute, PNLA Leads, I had no idea what I was in for. I wondered if leadership could even be taught. Isn’t it something you’re born with? Aren’t there certain types of people who are just better at leading than others? Am I about to spend a week finding out all the ways I’m really not cut out for library management? The answers to all of those questions was “Yes,” so when I got home I quit the library and went to work as a sheep herder. Ha! But seriously, I could write a book about the Institute, what it meant to me, and the impact it had on the lives and careers of those first graduates.  (If you want to corner me at OLA, I’d be happy to talk your ear off about it.) Becky Schreiber and John Shannon, the facilitators for PNLA Leads that I attended, will conduct this preconference. If you want some of those questions answered, plan to attend! I will leave this one gem of wisdom I took away from that experience – to lead you don’t have to be someone else.


alt Jennifer Snoek-Brown, Mt. Hood Community College

A decade ago, I was living in Wisconsin and lucky enough to be part of the inaugural cohort, 2005-2007, of the Wisconsin Library Association's WeLead program. I was a relatively new librarian, having earned my MLS in 2003. The WeLead program, which was then a 3-year program, included a mentor, financial support to attend a regional or state library conference, and involvement in a WLA committee. The experience really helped me think about my chosen profession in a deeper way, and how I could contribute as a leader -- even as a then-new librarian. I appreciated and enjoyed my WeLead experience as part of that initial cohort; looking back, I appreciate my WeLead experience even more now. WeLead provided me a mentor I am still in contact with today; colleagues who became friends; a path into professional committees and further friendships I could not have anticipated at the time; and support for ideas and passions I wanted to explore but didn't know quite how to get started. In short, WeLead provided me a beginning.


alt Jim Tindall, North Wasco County School District

In 2010 I attended PNLA's Leadership Institute. Becky Schreiber and John Shannon dynamically facilitated that group of librarians who examined their strengths through challenging and reflective exercises. As one testament to the power of that week's experience, let me quote our vision statement from our collective work. "Like a phoenix, we rise transformed. We soar to meet our challenges with a refined and reignited passion to serve, empower and inspire our communities. We create vital spaces that serve as the heart of our communities.
Together, we embark on a journey of life-long learning and intellectual curiosity. Our mutual commitment to access for all gives us reason to celebrate." That statement resides right over my monitor, and I read it regularly for a positive-energy boost.


 alt Angela Weyrens, Multnomah County Library

Although it has been close to 8 years since I participated in the PNLA Leadership Institute, I carry the talisman of the self-awareness and confidence I started to build there with me every day. Becky Schreiber and John Shannon were amazing guides on the road to successful leadership. They didn't care about my official position or level of education- only that I had the potential to help shape the future of libraries and I was willing to participate in some deep and painful reflection to do so. They helped to direct my passion for our institution down a leadership path. I am the leader I am in part because they helped me see who and what I could be.