“Did you know you can rent a camel?” Adrienne Diercks asked me during the long format part of the program at last Friday’s Good Leadership Breakfast. Her question, was in response to my question: What pivot points in your life led you to start Project Success?
“I was riding a camel through the Great Pyramids of Egypt, thinking…I think every student needs an experience like this. And that’s why I started Project Success and dedicated my career to inspiring young people to dream about their future.”
Adrienne and I first met 25 years ago. I was working with a client whose goal was to establish a foundation, supporting programs for kids in school systems. Our team identified a 3-year-old start-up called Project Success. Its founder, Adrienne Diercks, stood out in a sea of well-intentioned children and youth non-profits. Her passion was obvious. But it was her effectiveness as a leader that set her apart.
Guests of the Good Leadership Breakfast last Friday were treated to an inspiring, steadfast tale of hope and positivity. Adrienne surprised us with story after story about how “the magic and truth is in the details – the little things that show you the kids are learning and growing and believing,” she explained.
Adrienne emphasized, again and again, that successful leadership in non-profits is about prioritization and focus. Because it’s really easy for staff and volunteers to follow their individual passions if they aren’t focused. “Our #1 value is ‘kids first,” she asserted. “If what we are discussing at any given time isn’t directly related to putting the success of the kids first, then we drop it.”
Sitting next to Adrienne, I wondered to myself: How long will she keep doing this? She has the natural energy of a teenager, and the supernatural powers of a woman who is truly on a mission. I can imagine hosting her as the speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast ten years from now. Maybe 20?
Tickets to the Fall Series of the Good Leadership Breakfast will be available soon. In the meantime, watch last week’s Breakfast.