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Program Activities

The Fellows program focuses on the key leadership qualities and principles that were embodied by Senator Henry M. Jackson, namely a focus on informed and careful analysis, deliberate and principled decision making, bipartisanship, and public service.

“As a millennial, the scale and complexity of the challenges facing our communities and the globe can feel at times overwhelming.  I am grateful to the Jackson Foundation’s Leadership Fellows program for providing me with the tools, the networks and the mentorships that have allowed me to build the right coalitions to start to solve these complex issues, be it climate change, forest fires, flooding or drought. And I am humbled and filled with hope knowing that there are organizations like the Jackson Foundation committed to helping my generation develop the tools necessary to meet these challenges head on.”

– Tom Bugert, 2016 Fellow

The Henry M. Jackson Leadership Fellows Program involves an active, personalized leadership experience focusing on professional development and networking, with access to senior professionals.  Key activities include the following:

Participation in Events: The Fellows will be included in all Jackson Foundation events throughout the year, including the Annual Board meeting. The year opens with a brunch at the Jackson family home in Everett, WA for the Fellows and their partners.

In-depth Fellows Activity: Working with Foundation staff, each Fellow determines the nature of their project and identifies what resources and mentors will be needed to accomplish it. The Fellows program focuses on each Fellow's field of interest as well as leadership development goals. The participant-generated project provides an important vehicle for integrating the year’s experiences. The photo below is Ilana Cone Kennedy (2016 Fellow) conducting the monthly meeting of the Student Leadership Board for the Holocaust Center for Humanity, her project for the year.

Ilana Cone Kennedy at a monthly meeting of the Student Leadership Board

Monthly Meetings: The Fellows meet monthly to participate in skill-building workshops on leadership, hear from community leaders and have time to share their expertise with each other. Regardless of format, all monthly gatherings are followed by informal networking opportunities to help Fellows build stronger connections.

The year will begin in October 2017 in Seattle. The initial meeting will be a day-long Jackson Leadership Fellows orientation held on Friday, October 6, 2017, including interaction with Foundation Board members, and the first in a series of leadership training conducted by a regional and nationally known expert. The Fellows will receive feedback on their leadership skills and learn how to better leverage them in their work and community. Subsequent meetings will be held on the first Wednesday or Thursday of the month for two to three hours during business hours.  They will focus on the broader elements of leadership with a workshop on Servant Leadership, team building, and presentation skills.. The monthly meetings will also include discussions with leaders from the community and an opportunity for active engagement among the Fellows.

Mentorship: A key part of the Fellows’ program is connecting Fellows with mentors.  The Foundation seeks community leaders from all sectors to mentor one Fellow for the program year. Once selected, the Fellow and mentor can determine the frequency of their meetings, however at the minimum Fellows can expect to meet with their mentors four times during the course of the year.  Past mentors have provided professional and project-related guidance, and have helped to make connections for the Fellows.

Washington, D.C. Briefing: The year culminates in a trip and event in Washington, D.C. on June 3-6, 2018 to introduce the Fellows to Congressional and U.S. government policy makers, East Coast Foundation Board Members, nonprofit organizations, and other leaders in the area. This assists each of the Fellows in making important connections for the future.


By participating in the program, Fellows gain skills and access to mentors who help them advance in their fields. Fellows explore across disciplines and build connections that will enable them to be more effective in their own realm of practice, as well as better contributors to their communities and the nation.