Sustainable Leadership: Leadership Development, Equity & Sustainability, with Phil Li

Sustainable Leadership with Phil Li

Phil Li, President and CEO of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, is with us in this episode. The mission of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation is to create a more vibrant New York by investing in leaders, the organizations that develop them, and their networks.

Phil has seen and thought about leadership from so many angles. Since joining the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the organization has shifted its focus to investing in people as leaders. For Phil, he has seen that people are the most critical asset to any organization – the question now is how do we empower them to lead sustainably and equity? How can we create tool sets and communities to help support leaders in our organizations?

Listen in as Phil explores what leadership actually means, the relationship between leadership development, equity and sustainability, and why it’s critical to support and invest in the equitable practice of leadership.


What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

·       [2:39] How Robert Sterling Clark has transformed its mission to focus on leaders as people over organizations.

·       [4:18] Why people are any organizations’ most critical asset.

·       [4:56] Investing in leaders to build better and stronger institutions.

·       [6:25] What does sustainable leadership mean?

·       [8:00] Creating tools to support leaders.

·       [9:30] How the pandemic has helped highlight the need for community.

·       [11:25] Equity in leadership going forward.

·       [13:00] What it means to practice leadership in a sustainable and communal way.


Key quotes:

·       “The most critical asset we have in our sector is our people and they get … not the kind of investment or attention I think they deserve.”

·       “This notion of investing in people, investing in leaders was a way that we thought we could leverage our resources in an important way.”

·       “Without people, without thinking, without creativity, without the passion that comes with people that are doing all this work and are motivated to do this work, none of this would happen or their sector wouldn’t exist.”

·       “We do think that by incorporating these ideas and taking them back that the organizations are better to handle it.”

·       “What we find is that our leaders go back and there’s a richness to their experiences from the leadership development programs that they have been a part of … In a sense we are building and supporting the sector as a whole.”

·       “I think this moment and this time and this whole era is an invitation to re-think that whole notion that it’s up to a person to be responsible for an organization … Leadership can happen from anywhere.”

·       “Leadership comes from all places, from all people. If we are looking at leadership through an equity lens … then adding new voices, adding new folks who may or may not have had the opportunity to lift up their ideas and experiences. That’s the opportunity we have now.”

Resources Mentioned:

·       The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation