This year, the Leadership in Life Institute (LILI) is celebrating 20 years of excellence in leadership development of NAIFA members.
LILI’s creation began in the form of NAIFA’s Leadership Development Task Force. In 1998, then NAIFA President, Larry Lambert, appointed this task force to be chaired by the 2009 NAIFA President, Tom Currey.
Lambert asked his fellow board members if they could form a committee to explore the idea of setting up a leadership- development program for NAIFA’s future leaders. “The rest is history,” he said. “The committee came back with great recommendations, and the first classes were held in Texas and California.”
Currey compiled the first LILI curriculum and moderated the first LILI classes in Texas and California, with 14 students graduating. Over the years, in addition to the writings of leadership and life experts, the LILI curriculum grew to include the viewing and discussion of six movies.
Lambert believes that the ongoing learning of LILI alumni is a vital component of the LILI experience. “LILI graduation is not a closing on leadership growth, but a whole new beginning,” he said. LILI students are primed to give back following graduation and are required to complete a service commitment to NAIFA.
In the spirit of continuing to “sharpen the saw” NAIFA hosted the first LILI 7 Leadership Workshop at the NAIFA Conference in 2004. In 2011, the workshop featured Colin Powell. The LILI Alumni Experience now includes the online e-newsletter, “LILI Leaders and Alumni News,” the LILI Alumni Networks Facebook group and LILI Summits, which are hosted by NAIFA state chapters.
As LILI turns 20, it has recently graduated its 3,000th student. Current LILI Subcommittee Chair Lisa Skinner recalled 10 years of involvement in LILI. “I always tell people that LILI will change your life if you let it,” she said. “LILI equipped me with the leadership tools and confidence to be successful in our local and state associations while owning and running a successful brokerage agency, and most important, while being a wife and mother of four incredible kids. I would not have been able to balance all of this without LILI.”
Brendan Bernat is NAIFA’s Director of Professional Development & Education. He is a LILI graduate and has been the staff director for NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute since 2013.