Partnering to Connect Diverse Leaders: Beth Boggs, American Leadership Forum of Tacoma-Pierce County
Over the past 39 years, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation has seen Pierce County grow and change, but what has remained constant is the passion people bring to building a thriving community. Sharing community knowledge and stories about our lived experiences builds everyone’s ability to make a positive impact.
In our latest annual book of Pierce County Partners, we share stories and insights from individuals and organizations who are making a difference in Pierce County. In their own words, they speak about the dreams and lessons that fuel their work in the community.
“The American Leadership Forum (ALF) brings together influential leaders from many sectors in the community who likely wouldn’t meet otherwise. Every year, twenty to twenty-five at a time, ALF is connecting diverse leaders who are forming unlikely relationships and increasing important collaborations with one another.”
“If you want real change and impact you have to have the entire community represented.”
Beth Boggs, Executive Director of ALF, and a participant in the program herself, grew up in Tacoma. “I was a part of the first magnet school at McCarver Elementary. Coming from a very white part of Tacoma, I learned early to share space with people that were different from me.”
“With each class I get to watch these relationships develop and personal transformations take place. In addition, our Fellows come to understand their own privilege better and are utilizing new information and perspectives to tackle systems-level change – to create a more equitable, accessible, and inclusive Tacoma-Pierce County.”
“I think we’ve seen an evolution in what the word leader means. Our first six classes of Fellows were more hierarchical leaders in positions of power. But that has changed because it just doesn’t work today. Leadership has become more distributive and collaborative. If you want real change and impact you have to have the entire community represented.”
“…leadership isn’t about a label or position. It is about being vulnerable and building authentic relationships.”
“Greater Tacoma Community Foundation was the initial fiscal sponsor in 1990. GTCF helped raise the core funds to get ALF started. Without GTCF, ALF would not exist.”
“Our chapter is the last chapter in the country that is needs-blind, which means we don’t let someone’s ability to fulfill the financial commitment have any bearing on our decision. This helps us stay as diverse as possible. It is GTCF and other local support that allows us to do this.”
“When I took this job, I felt like I had to know everything; I was now the leader of leaders! What I’ve realized is that leadership isn’t about a label, or position, or knowing everything. It isn’t about holding on to power.”
“Leadership is a practice and a way of being. It is about being vulnerable and building authentic relationships. It is about learning to see your own humanity and that of others.”