Action Wheel Leadership
Bob Terry and the University YMCA
by Rick Jackson
(Seattle, WA USA)
A little known story is how Bob got to Minneapolis from his home in Detroit. Bob and University of Minnesota YMCA executive director Doug Wallace had been classmates at Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and when Doug created the U-Y's Metro Internship program, he knew Bob was the best social ethics activist to engage with students. So Bob began his annual commute from Detroit to Minneapolis to lead retreats and seminars to prepare the students for for their action research on topics of ethical importance with Twin City corporate executives.
The core of Bob's teaching was the "diamond" — Mission, Power, Structure, Resources — the precursor to the Action Wheel. Bob was intent on helping the students come to understand their missions — personally and vocationally — recognizing that this was the true and lasting opportunity for the lab experience provided by the internship experience.
Over 25-years, Bob engaged 500+ students in ethical inquiry and real-world learning. Every year the U-Y would send Bob his honorarium check. And every year Bob would send it back, saying it wasn't right to be paid for having so much fun. His generosity of spirit flowed into the lives of these students and has continued to contribute to the corporate culture through their thoughtful leadership.
During my years as Metro Intern director and U-Y executive, Bob became a good friend to both me and my wife Marcy. He introduced us to the Myers-Briggs and helped us appreciate how an introvert who processes internally (Marcy) and an extrovert who thinks out loud (Rick) just might have difficulty communicating once in a while. Whenever Bob would see Marcy, his first question was, "Are you ready to dump Rick and marry me?" Some friend! But in truth, Bob was deeply committed to helping us live our lives and our marriages to the fullest.
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