Citizen Leadership in the 21st Century

Citizen Leadership in the 21st Century has concluded. You can still access recordings of each webinar by registering below.

The 21st Century has been uniquely complicated and contradictory. In a new virtual event series, Loyola University Maryland's ASPIRE proposes to examine crucial issues that leaders at all levels are facing.

Program Description

Through our civil society, we can act directly to solve critical problems, while allowing individuals to participate, collaborate, and, through this process, develop into citizens who are capable of upholding democracy, restoring trust in our shared concepts of citizenship and democracy. Citizen Leadership in the 21st Century is a four-part series exploring what it means to be an engaged citizen who seeks to lead change in the third decade of the 21st century. Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

We will examine three central questions as we consider today’s challenges and opportunities:

  • What role can American citizens play in shaping the future?
  • What are our responsibilities as citizens, organizations and communities facing national and global challenges together?
  • What strengths, skills and capacities must we cultivate in our citizenry to develop leaders who are ready to step up to tackle our biggest issues and develop our greatest opportunities?

Drawing on the insights of our guest speakers and panelists, we will examine four major aspects of citizen leadership that are of primary importance today. Each of these four themes - dismantling structural and systemic racism, generational leadership transition, stewardship of place, and the impact of technology on society - will be individually explored in 90 minute webcasts. All sessions will be conducted virtually via Zoom 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EST. The program will be hosted by Loyola ASPIRE and facilitated by Kate Ebner, CEO of The Nebo Company.

Session 1: Dismantling Racism: Where do I Begin?

Date: March 18, 2021

Description: This session invites participants to begin the important work of brainstorming solutions to dismantling structural and systemic racism. While we may be at different starting points on the path of learning to see and address discrimination, injustice and inequity, the first steps are the same for all. Karsonya "Kaye" Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Karson Institute for Race, Peace and Social Justice at Loyola University Maryland, will provide insights about where to begin in the work of addressing racism and its consequences in our society. Join us to learn how we can make positive, lasting changes in our workplaces and institutions.

Learn about what it means to do the essential personal exploration needed to prepare yourself with the perspective, knowledge and skills required for leading in a diverse and equitable world. We will outline and discuss key distinctions to understanding how race gets defined and understood in America, how greater self-awareness can lead to transformative possibilities and how we can reach beyond ourselves to make substantive personal and structural changes.

Featured Speaker: Karsonya "Kaye" Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Founding Director of The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice, Loyola University Maryland

Moderator: Kate Ebner, CEO, The Nebo Company

Session 2: New Leadership: Catalyzing Transformation through Generational Change

Date: April 15, 2021

Description: This session explores perspectives across generations on transforming our society, our institutions, and ourselves. Younger generations have been leading broad societal shifts in mindset, culture, and practice--informed and enabled by technology. Older generations bring understanding rooted in lived experience. As society faces widening wealth gaps, deepening divisions, and an accelerating pace of change, how can Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z work together to learn from our past while building the innovative approaches we need today? How can leaders harness this generational synergy?

Moderator: Michelle Geiss, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Impact Hub Baltimore


  • John Frisch, Principal and Executive Leadership Coach, Shawan Leadership
  • Lydell Hills, Founder and Executive Director, Truth to Power
  • Erika Seth Davies, Founder, Racial Equity Asset Lab

Session 3: Stewardship of Place: Caring for the Places We Love

Date: May 6, 2021

Description: This session examines the role we can play as citizens and leaders in caring for the future through stewardship of our natural resources, towns, cities, and states. Tapping into the wisdom and foresight of a panel of innovative environmental leaders, we will gain an understanding of how to think about the future of our planet, and the roles we can play to conserve the places we cherish. We will consider how to link our own well-being with that of our eco-systems, adopting doable, everyday actions that add up to a big difference.

Moderator: Kate Ebner, CEO, The Nebo Company


  • Alexandra Grayson, Undergraduate Student and Activist, Junior pursuing Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, Howard University
  • Andrés Jimenez, Executive Director, Green 2.0
  • Carmera Thomas-Wilhite, Director of Urban Conservations Initiatives, The Conservation Fund

Session 4: Unprecedented! The Impact of Technology on Society

Date: June 3, 2021

Description: The pace of technology innovation has dramatically changed how we live, work, lead and participate in national and local events. The concept of “community” has been redefined to include social media networks. Thanks to technology, we can reach people around the world easier and quickly. What must we understand about the positive – and negative -- implications of technology on our society? Drawing upon the perspective and foresight of top technology innovators and leaders, we will step back to learn about what’s coming and explore the possibilities -- and problems -- presented by technology. Our focus will be to grasp the potential of technology innovation to help us shape a better world.

Moderator: Kate Ebner, CEO, The Nebo Company


  • Delali Dzirasa, Founder and CEO, Fearless
  • Pava LaPere, Partner, Urban Harbor Media; Founder & CEO, EcoMap Technologies, Inc.
  • Lee Rainie, Director of Internet and Technology Research, Pew Research Center

Learning Outcomes

Though this series, you will gain:

  • Perspective about the leadership needed to meet today's challenges
  • Insights from subject matter experts as a result of dynamic presentation and panel discussion
  • Resources to help you navigate the post-pandemic future


Registration in the webinar sessions is free and open to the public. By clicking the green “Add to Cart” button below and completing the registration forms that follow, you will be enrolled in all four webinar sessions.

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