Project for Cross Sector Leadership Launched at Pepperdine University

610 200 Ed Coghlan

Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy Pete Peterson speaking the inaugural Cross Sector Leadership Conference (Photo: Pepperdine University)

If you’ve heard the term “cross-sector” leader you may wonder what it means. It is quite simply an opportunity for private business, government and the non-profit sectors to work on a common goal.

Pete Peterson is the dean of the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and believes that it’s time to develop and prepare more “cross-sector” leaders for the myriad of issues facing California and the nation.

On Monday, he hosted the first-ever Cross Sector Leadership Conference, which attracted leaders from all three sectors. They explored the role of cross sector leadership in crisis management, economic development and children’s issues.

Dean Peterson answered a few questions about the event and his plans:

CA FWD: “You spoke about 'cross sector' as equal parts government, non-profit and the private sector. There’s no question that this type of leadership is needed in California. What do you plan to do to meet that need?”

Dean Peterson: “My plans for the Project for Cross Sector Leadership is that it becomes an 'academic home' for the inspiring public leaders who are solving policy challenges across the public, private and non-profit sectors, as well as 'launch pad' for future cross sector leaders through offering educational programs.”

CA FWD: “We heard Karen Baker, the chief service officer for the state of California say there is a 'shortage of brokers.' What did she mean? How do you think we can attract more true leadership who bring the various voices together?”

Dean Peterson: “Karen's point was that there is a shortage of 'silo breakers' — those who see how the sectors fit together to find solutions to public challenges. This demands an ability to maintain focus on a policy goal, while understanding the distinctive needs and cultures of the government, business, and non-profit sectors. I think there are many of these cross-sector leaders out there, but they're not familiar with this movement, nor are they aware of where they can learn more about the skills necessary to do more of this work.”

CA FWD: “Jonathan McBride of Black Rock told the audience that these chaotic times are the recipe for a 'uniquely cross sector time.' I assume you agree?”

Dean Peterson: “I said in my opening remarks that the more one learns about this cross-sector work, the more inspired you become. In an era of such declining trust levels in our public institutions, I agree with Jonathan that this work is more important than ever in rebuilding that trust necessary to find solutions to our toughest public challenges — in California and the United States.”

CA FWD: “The California Economic Summit is an example of cross sector leadership. Why do you think it has succeeded and what can it teach other efforts around California?”

Dean Peterson: “California Forward is one of the great cross sector leaders in the state. On an array of issues, they've displayed a remarkable capacity to convene government, business and non-profit partners towards solving public challenges. The California Economic Summit is a terrific example of their cross-sector work on policy issues ranging from economic development to housing policy. I'm excited to see the plans develop for what I know will be a momentous event in Santa Rosa next month.”

CA FWD: “What did Monday's event teach you? What are your next steps to further this idea?”

Dean Peterson: “Monday's event affirmed my belief that Pepperdine's School of Public Policy can be that 'academic home' for cross sector leaders, as we play a role in building a movement that will prepare more of them for California and the United States.”


Ed Coghlan

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