Since 1968, the Bryan Bell Metropolitan Leadership Forum (BBMLF) has sought to identify emerging community leaders and stimulate their interest and involvement in community service. Drawing from all sectors of the community – business, faith, nonprofit, neighborhood and civic groups – the purpose is to provide information about, analysis of and opportunities to explore key metropolitan issues and needs. Since its inception, the Forum has graduated nearly 2500 individuals, including elected officials such as Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Sen. David Vitter, and State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson; business leaders like Roger Ogden, Pres Kabacoff and Greg Rusovich; education leaders such as Dr. Tim Ryan, Dr. Tony Recasner and Dr. Brian Riedlinger; and other luminaries including James Cain, Rafael Goyeneche and Lolis Eric Elie.
The Leadership Forum begins with a Saturday morning city bus tour, typically the Saturday after Labor Day. Participants take a narrated tour of key facilities and neighborhoods, including schools, housing developments, community centers, industrial sites, and other institutions. Historical perspective is mixed with current circumstances to provide a context for the following Forum sessions. Most participants find themselves in New Orleans locations they have never seen before, and expand their knowledge of the city’s history. The overarching theme is the impact of the physical components of the city on the quality of life experienced by its people.
Beginning the next Wednesday, each of the remaining sessions focuses on a specific issue, and begins with presentations by a panel of leading local experts on the issue. Presentations are followed by lively question and answer/discussion sessions, during which participants develop both a broader understanding of the issue at hand and their own perspective on the topic. Sessions begin at 5:30 PM and usually end by 8:30 PM, with dinner included.
- Human Relations
- Environment and Coastal Issues
- Economic Development
- City Management
- Public Safety
- Health Care
- Transportation and Regionalism
In addition to the regular session, each year participants complete a community service project. Participants choose either education, housing or environment/water management as their preferred area of focus; then form teams for each project, determine and design their project, and carry it out. Each team then does a presentation on its project at the Forum graduation. These projects further expand participants’ knowledge of these issues, while connecting them to service opportunities. Many continue to serve in these areas once the Forum has concluded.
By introducing emerging leaders to the issues they will face as they assume leadership roles, the Bryan Bell Metropolitan Leadership Forum provides a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and insight into the serious problems that face our community – as well as potential solutions to the problems. In particular, the focus is on addressing these issues at systemic levels, as that tracks the fundamental approach of the Forum presenter, the Committee for a Better New Orleans.
In addition, the Forum brings together individuals from diverse ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds. By providing the opportunity for socializing over dinner (served at the beginning of each regular Forum session) and then engaging in frank and open discussion among themselves and with experts in the various fields, the BBMLF promotes human understanding and encourages commitment to solving the problems and overcoming the barriers that divide our community.
Participants in the Leadership Forum are selected through an open nomination and review process. Self-nominations are welcome. Nominations are usually accepted in June and July of each year, with the Forum itself taking place September to November with one session each week.
Individual BBMLF sessions are sponsored by far-sighted business and civic entities. Sponsors for the 2015 Leadership Forum include:
- Gulf Coast Bank & Trust
- Peoples Health
- New Orleans Fair Grounds
- Jones Walker
- The Greater New Orleans Foundation
- Downtown Development District
- The Reily Foundation
- Educate Now!
- Whitney Bank
The Bryan Bell Metropolitan Leadership Forum offers a powerful opportunity to reach emerging leaders in the greater New Orleans community. If you are interested in sponsoring a Forum session, we would be delighted to hear from you.
Phone: (504) 267-4666