Coro is a fantastic organization that allows for incredible levels of access to leadership in Pittsburgh by its participants. The Fellows Program in Public Affairs is a very rigorous 9-month fellowship that challenges, strengthens and encourages its participants to take on the task of becoming a leader in the industry of their choice. The team that I'm working with are 14 of the most insightful and intelligent people I will ever have the privilege of working with at once. The extra value to Coro that isn't highlighted enough in its promotional materials is the ability to work closely with such talented people and learn from them while participating in program activities. It's just as much an introspective learning experience as it is a professional and industrial.
This organization is focused on developing civic leadership across the country. The programs they run provide tools to gain skills that are hardly ever developed during formalized education or in the workplace. These skills include consensus building, critical and deliberate questioning, and ethical decision making to name a few. The CORO experience is wonderfully unique and builds people within that framework. If you have the opportunity to join or support CORO, I suggest that you do it and enjoy the ride! I'm on the Pittsburgh train and not sure where its headed.....
There have definitely been moments when I felt like I was cast on a reality show. The Coro Fellows Program immediately throws fifteen people with different passions, backgrounds, and experiences into challenging projects. Coro prides itself on experiential learning, and teaches its members practical lessons that go beyond the scope of the classroom. Fellows have access to prominent leaders in various sectors, mentors, and a great support system of talented, intelligent peers. You need to understand, from the beginning, that there are rigorous time constraints and expectations. If you enter the program willing to explore new perspectives and experiences, there are endless opportunities for you to grow both professionally and personally. The projects we have worked on are worthwhile ones that have the power to create large-scale systemic change. Just as important, though, the program allows you to explore who you are, including the goals you want to accomplish and the skills you want to develop.
Coro provides people with an experience in leadership that is almost impossible to duplicate. It is unlike anything I ever expected to do or even knew existed, but it is equipping me with skills that I would not be forced to work on if it weren't for Coro. It also has an amazing network of connections, both through its alumni and the organizations that Coro works with, and it makes that network accessible for everybody who works with it. Coro could service more people, and extend their network, by having fellows from more socio-economic backgrounds, because right now, even to apply you need to be from a certain background.
Apply for the Coro Fellows program at the Coro Center for Civic Leadership to be challenged and engaged. Coro provides fellows with incredible access to community decision makers, and showcases tools to develop future leadership throughout the community. The Coro opportunity is worthwhile and the people one meets through this program will teach them, yielding unforseen benefits for years to come. Moreover, the program is affordable and earns credit toward the Heinz school at Carnegie Mellon.
As a current Coro Fellow with the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, I have gained extensive insight into the inner-workings of government and important socio-economic concerns facing the City and the region. Through this program and its depth AND breadth of important connections, I have experienced significant local interactions over the past 2 months that most local people my age couldn't dream of having their entire lives. It is so humbling to observe the tangible impact a Fellow can have on a city facing economic distress. Coming from the west coast, I cannot imagine a more welcome space for such an empowering experience.
Apply to the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs if you want to develop the skills and self-knowledge to be an effective leader. You will do this by meeting challenges presented to you as assignments and by challenging yourself. You will have a close network of peers who will amaze you, frustrate you, and support you. You will develop a broad network of professional contacts. You will have the opportunity to explore different career possibilities, and you will gain insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of government, nonprofit, business, and other sectors. This program is not for everyone. It requires maturity, flexibility, and an open mind. It is a time-intensive commitment. I have heard that Coro as an organization is rethinking some of its internal structure, but I believe this will help it to focus more effectively on its mission. If you are considering donating money or expertise to Coro, do it because our country and our cities need civic leaders who can effectively collaborate to untangle complex social problems. Coro develops these leaders.
Carpe Coro! As a current participant in the Fellows Program in Public Affairs (just one of several Coro programs), my group of 15 decided that we would all commit to Carpe Coro! This stems from our understanding of just how much the program has to offer- if we choose to accept the challenge, and to what degree we choose to accept it. When I was applying to the program and speaking with former Coro fellows, they all said that their Coro year was the year of their life during which they grew the most, hands down. We grow through -learning how to work in a group and come to consensus -giving and receiving feedback -presenting our work -learning how to ask the right questions -talking to people who have significant impact on pittsburgh -screwing up -experimenting -working across the public, private, and non profit sectors -and much more So far, Coro staff has almost always been supportive of our group. They challenge us to improve, which is what is most important to me.
The Coro Fellowship Program is unlike any program in which I have participated. It brings together young people who are truly passionate about effecting positive change in their world. The fellows I currently work with are intelligent, informed, and driven. The Coro staff is supportive for the most part and are usually there as recourse for Fellows. The space in Pgh is amazing and accessible. Coro also provides access to city leaders; and our placements really seem to connect with understanding the civic operations of the city. There is a strong element of leadership training in the program. Coro is challenging, but if a right fit for the participant, is extremely enjoyable. In the future, I would like to see more cultural and socio-economic diversity amongst fellows. And, if this is subtly present and I haven't yet picked up on it (not finished with the experience), I hope that there are upcoming structured opportunities to explore this issue of diversity in our group.
Coro is challenging to review comprehensively because it encompasses so many different programs, and I am only experienced with one of these. So, I will focus my review on my specific experience. I am a current participant in the Fellows Program in Public Affairs 2008. The program places diverse leaders in various placements in government / non-profit / business, and then allows the Fellows to design their own placement towards the end of the program. The other aspect involves leadership development training provided by various members of the Coro Staff, and interviews with high-profile leaders in Pittsburgh. Though only in the program for less than two months, I have been impressed with my experience so far, and Coro staff have been helpful in developing our group dynamic (a major challenge) as well as assisting my individual progress. The access we have to leaders is incredible, and my placements so far have been rewarding in their challenge and opportunity. Coro itself seems to be undergoing a few personnel changes, but the programs are seemingly unaffected by this retooling.
As a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs, I am constantly growing through my daily experience with the organization and its program. Coro excels in providing an open forum for Fellows to express themselves mentally and emotionally. Coro staff are generally helpful and mindful of the different effects the program has on participants. In addition, Coro provides valuable professional development tools that both help and challenge Fellows to excell personally and as a group. I believe the laboratory environment instills a sense of excitement and curiosity among group members and staff, enabling us to learn and work off one another. In my opinion, Coro struggles with encouraging healthy working environments and healthy lifestyles. Work quality and quantity override personal well being, often forcing participants to choose between health and work. In addition, anti-disclosure practices complicate processes resulting to additional unnecessary stress. Due to the nature of the program, value tools such as time management and efficiency seem to be of little, or no priority - causing additional conflict amongst group members.