November 10, 2023 | John Smith

Uncork Community: The Leader in Me

Learn more about The Leader in Me with Cultivate founders Charles & Ali Banks.

From the beginning, Cultivate has been committed to giving back and supporting causes that make a difference. For us, that has meant focusing on the areas of health and education with a special focus on smaller organizations we could get to know. The next chapter in our GIVE is a really exciting one. We’re ‘adopting’ a school for Franklin Covey’s 3-year Leader in Me program.

What follows is a brief Q & A with Cultivate co-founder Ali Banks on how we came to partner with this program.

CW: Ali, tell us a little bit about The Leader in Me?

The Leader in Me is a transformational school operating process that empowers students and staff to unleash their unique talents and gifts within the school. It is an off shoot of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that has been adapted for use in schools for young children and teens.

TLIM is not a curriculum or a character-building program; rather, it is an operating process that shifts paradigms of leadership and potential within students and staff. Our 3-year implementation process weaves The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and powerful leadership paradigms into the fabric of school culture, transforming mindsets and building 21st-Century leadership skills within students AND staff. The Leader in Me began at A.B. Combs Elementary in Raleigh, North Carolina wherePrincipal Muriel Summers created it after attending a Stephen Covey conference. Now as a divisions of Franklin Covey it has grown to over 2,500 schools worldwide.

CW: How did you learn about this program?
I have long loved the Seven Habits and one evening I was stuck on the runway in Richmond for 5 hours waiting to take off. I couldn’t help but read over the shoulder of the woman to my right as she had what looked like inside information on all things Stephen Covey. I finally broke the sacred code of silence after all those hours and received a tremendous gift of information on The Leader in me program from one of their implementers. I followed up (while still on the plane) via email to ensure that I could find her when we landed. From there, we just took it one step at a time true Covey’s style, beginning with the end in mind (we wanted to be a part of re-invigorating youth in America) and following the habits one by one.

CW: What about it intrigued you or excited you?
Cultivate was started with a commitment to putting a new chapter in the book on stories that reflect the power of the American Dream. Dreams are a huge piece of making things happen and we wanted to somehow be a part of getting more people dreaming bigger dreams. But, we know dreams only take you so far. To turn a dream into reality takes a lot of work. Work that is thoughtful, ordered, and effective. The Seven Habits have proven to be a powerful way to convert dreams to reality and the idea of teaching this in the formative years in schools was a perfect fit for our vision.

CW: What school is Cultivate adopting for its first Leader in Me program?

We chose Napa because it is connected to where we do business and the most people in our company. TLIM has a year long process of selecting schools in an area. They have to meet certain criteria and they did the work to select this school based on the area we chose.

Kyle Ellison- Harvest is an excellent candidate to become a TLIM school because of a few different reasons. In selecting schools to engage in the process, we look for strong, innovative school leaders who have a passion to shift leadership paradigms and skills within students and staff. Carlos Flores, Harvest Middle School principal, is that type of leader. In speaking to Napa Valley District personnel, he spoke passionately about the opportunity of unlocking and unleashing the leadership potential of each student and staff member in the Harvest Middle School community; about how implementing the TLIM process can shift paradigms and unite students, teachers, parents and community members around common language and goals, and can inspire everyone to impact their community and the world for good.

We also look for schools where teachers share this type of passion for leadership and are “bought in”, or united in bringing TLIM to their school to tap into their students’ potential. The Harvest Middle School staff is young, energetic, and excited about engaging in this process. Over the fall they’ll be engaging in a number of events to shape their vision by attending other TLIM schools in the Northern California area, meeting with Kyle and engaging their parent and community members to partner with them in this process.

In addition, Harvest will be the 1st Middle School in the Northern California area. As they have been a leader in academics through becoming an International Baccalaureate (I.B.) school, they are excited about being a pioneer in bringing leadership to more Middle Schools in the Northern Cal region.

CW: How can fans of Cultivate support our GIVE and Harvest Middle School?

By Uncorking the Moment with a bottle of Cultivate Pinot Noir and encouraging all their wine loving friends to do the same thing. Be apart of our #UNCORKTHEMOMENT instagram campaign and spread the excitement and joy that comes when we #celebrate&elevate!


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