Campus News

Canada '74 Among "America's Best Leaders"

Story posted October 26, 2005

Geoffrey Canada '74.

Geoffrey Canada '74, President and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) and a Bowdoin College Trustee, is among the 25 individuals named "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report. The list, selected by an independent committee assembled by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, appears in the October 31, 2005, issue.

"Leadership, as the public tells the pollsters, is in disappointingly short supply. So the 25 people profiled...are a heartening exception to the rule," the article states. "[What 'America's Best Leaders'] all share is a clearly articulated vision, measurable results, and, in the words of one management guru, Big Hairy Audacious Goals. We hope that their examples will prove instructional for future leaders and to all others who strive to innovate, motivate, and inspire."

The Harlem Children's Zone offers parenting classes, all-day pre-school, tutoring, mentoring, and anti-violence initiatives to 8,600 low-income children and their families across a 60-block area of New York City.

"The angel is in the details - in the superior way the zone delivers its programs with the help of a skilled staff, wealthy backers, and, most important, a 53-year-old executive named Geoffrey Canada, a brainy, driven leader with rare crossover appeal," the report's profile of Canada states.

One of the things that inform Canada's view of leadership, the article suggests, is his confidence.

"You have to have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish," says Canada, who is identified in the article as being a Bowdoin College graduate. "Then you have to be able to articulate that vision so others can see it as clearly as you....You must simply never give up - even if you doubt at times."

The article also quotes HCZ Chairman Stanley F. Druckenmiller, Bowdoin Class of 1975 and a Trustee Emeritus, whom Canada calls the project's "single most influential factor."

"I was struck by [the Zone's] boldness," Druckenmiller says. "And, frankly, from anybody else I would have dismissed it as too utopian and unattainable. But watching Geoff over the years, I thought it was crazy not to take a shot with this guy."

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