GRIT Summit

Summit overview

The Summit is the first component of the GRIT scholarship. It is a four-day (three-night) gathering in Denver, Colorado from June 13 – 16, 2016. This program equips participants with conscious leadership skills, cultivates design thinking, develops cultural competence, works to improve communication skills with people of different backgrounds, and connects participants with mentors. In addition to the intensive training, the GRIT scholars bond as a cohort of 12, network with other young professionals who work internationally, and meet inspiring conscious leaders. FGS covers most scholar costs associated with attending the summit, including the following:

  • 3 expert facilitators: conscious leadership, design thinking and cultural competence
  • Changemaker speakers, networking event, mentor match
  • Reading materials and Summit packet
  • 3 nights lodging in downtown Denver (Hostel Fish) – The hostel is within walking distance from the Posner Center where the summit takes place
  • Most meals (3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners)
  • Travel stipend ($100): Scholars are responsible for getting themselves to Denver, Colorado for the Summit. They may use the $100 travel stipend towards transportations costs, such as flights.


June 13th

  • Noon: Arrive at Posner Center for International Development
  • Noon – 1:30pm: Welcome Lunch
  • 1:30pm – 2:00pm: Summit Overview
  • 2:00pm – 5:00pm: Conscious Leadership
  • 5:00pm – 7:00pm: Break
  • 7:00pm – 9:00pm: Changemaker Dinner

June 14th

  • 8:00am – 8:30am: Reflection on prior day
  • 8:30am – 10:30am: Conscious Leadership
  • 10:30am – 10:45am Break
  • 10:45am – 5:00pm Design Thinking Workshop
  • 5:00pm – 5:30pm: Break
  • 5:30pm – 6:30pm: Mentor Match

June 15th

  • 8:00am – 8:30am: Reflection on prior day
  • 8:30am – 12:00pm: Conscious Leadership
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:30pm: Cultural Competence
  • 4:30pm – 5:00pm: Reflection
  • After 5:00pm: Evening off/ Fun (dinner on own)

June 16th

  • 8:00am – 8:30am: Reflection on prior day
  • 8:30am – 10:30am: Conscious Leadership
  • 10:30am – 1:00pm: Cultural Competence
  • 1:00pm – 1:30pm: Lunch
  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm: What is a GRIT Project
  • 2:30pm – 3:30 pm: Networking
  • 3:30pm – 4:00pm: Closing
  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm: Networking (optional)

Content areas

Conscious leadership

Foundation for Global Scholars defines conscious leaders as authentic, purpose-driven team players committed to increasing their self-awareness. They take full responsibility for their impact and results in the context of the whole community.

Greenville Health System, the largest healthcare system in South Carolina, has adopted conscious leadership as their guiding mindset. They have invested a great deal of time and money into training their leaders and employees in conscious leadership. According to GHS “Conscious leadership is a type of emotional and social intelligence — terms that refer to the skills a person develops to become aware and regulate emotions and relationships. Emotional intelligence has four components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness (including empathy) and relationship management. A journey to conscious leadership is an article that shares more about GHS’ path to this new leadership model.

Design thinking

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” (Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO)

In the article,“Design Thinking Comes of Age”, the Harvard Business Review has done an excellent job exploring the different elements of design-centered thinking and how it has been applied to create business solutions.

In addition, the New York Times recently highlighted how IBM has adopted design-centered thinking to transform their business. To learn about how such a large company has adopted this new way of thinking read “IBM’s Design-Centered Strategy to Set Free the Squares”.

Educating the Next Steve Jobs is a Wall Street Journal article that shares how our schools teach students to be more innovative. Failure is penalized in our current school systems, innovation will become more widespread once we learn to embrace failure in our education.

Meet our facilitators

Julia Munson: conscious leadership

UnknownJulia Munson, LCSW, is a Leadership and Transformation Coach with over 30 years of experience. She provides training and consultation to organizations and non-profits. Her expertise is in creating conscious relationship skills and building conscious communities. Julia recognizes the inherent challenges that accompany travel to a foreign country and works to provide the “emotional equipment” necessary as the scholars stretch to move out of their comfort zones and into life-changing, maturing experiences. Her special blend of straight talk, humor, and warmth make her a key asset to development of our program.

Julia’s formal training includes: Master’s Degree in Social Work – University of Kansas, 1982; Marriage & Family Therapy Certification – Menninger Foundation, 1985; Somatic Experiencing Certification for Trauma Resolution – 1996; Conscious Relationship & Body/Mind Vibrance Coach – Hendricks Institute, 2009; Transformation Leader Graduate – Hendricks Institute, 2010.

Learn more about Julia at her website.

Paul Kim: design thinking

After 20 years of using fairly traditional approaches as a teacher, Paul transformed his classroom by adopting design thinking in his work. Since then, he has developed and teaches several courses at Colorado Academy that have design thinking at their core. While earning a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming, Paul began a teaching career that has been focused in independent schools. Since then, he has taught everything from kindergarten to college and he has won teaching and coaching awards along the way.

Paul is also co-founder of the design thinking and strategy firm, Fleissig Design, whose mission is to help organizations find creative solutions to their problems and challenges.

Outside of his work in education, Paul co-founded Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books with three former students and published 12 books. He has also spoken at conferences, including TEDx Denver Teachers, published articles, served on advisory boards, and co-chaired the National Association of Independent School’s People of Color Conference.

In his free time, Paul enjoys getting out and about to explore cities across the country. He and his wife Tami also love to entertain at their home in Northwest Denver.

Learn more about Paul at his Website.

Tom Thorpe: design thinking

Relationship building, empathy, and creativity are at the center of Tom’s approach to life. In his work as a teacher, he has found new creative freedom by choosing to adopt a design mindset and learn alongside his students and colleagues. The design thinking process has reenergized everything that Tom does. He knows that intentionality, an engaged perspective, and creativity can solve problems. Impasse is not an option.

Tom is a “quick study” whose creative outlets – learning, teaching, photography, cooking, and the outdoors – allow him to differently understand businesses and industry.

Tom has taught in Harlem NY, Dallas TX, New Canaan CT, and Denver CO. He has served on reaccreditation teams, collaborated with schools in Turkey and China, and presents at national conferences. Outside of education he serves on a number of boards.

As a father of four young children, Tom knows how to think quickly and deeply, while keeping priorities in focus. He enjoys strong coffee in the morning, makes stuff happen during the day, and celebrates all of it at about 5:30 p.m. with anyone who will join him. Tom used to think that all a man needed was a Jeep, a dog, and a fishing pole, but now his wife, Wendy, helps him think about life much more creatively.

Learn more about Toms work at his Website.

Tara Jahn: design thinking

Tara Jahn has served youth and communities in diverse capacities for over a decade. Her professional positions have ranged from direct service at a homeless youth shelter, a residential treatment facility, and at an innovative statewide education non-profit working to implement a systems-level vision for next generation learning. In her community Tara has taken on significant leadership roles with the goal of supporting both community and economic development through building relationships and a strong social fabric to drive progress.

Tara has strong skills in facilitative leadership, organizational management and change, and participatory development and uses these in both her professional and community endeavors. In particular Tara has a deep interest in the design thinking process along with the mindsets and behaviors necessary to implement this process. Tara has worked in partnership with Standord’s K-12 Lab and CreatEDU, who work with education organizations to utilize design thinking to support education innovation. Tara has also been trained as a facilitator by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISMKE) and Buckley and Associates.

Tara has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado–Denver School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and community development from the University of Vermont.

Emily Braucher: cultural competence

BraucherEmilyB&W copy 2Emily makes a unique contribution to the field of cultural competency by combining a strong academic background with extensive experience in international development programs and a masterful approach to group facilitation. She is endlessly passionate about helping people connect across differences in communication styles, cultural values and power statuses. Her interactive and experiential workshops guide participants to a deeper awareness of self and equip them with tools to navigate challenging intercultural interactions and relationships. Having worked, volunteered, researched and traveled in over 30 countries including two years of service in the US Peace Corps, Emily has worked with diverse clientele including non-profit staff, international business professionals, refugees, university students and high school students both domestically and abroad. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at Brown University and graduated with two Master of Arts degrees from the University of Denver (Cultural Anthropology and International & Intercultural Communication). Emily also works with the graduate department at Regis University (Denver, CO) teaching Intercultural Communication, Interpersonal Communication and Ethics.

Learn more about Emily’s work at her Website.