LEXINGTON, Ky.—South Dakota state Rep. Dan Ahlers is among the 48 state leaders from across the country selected to participate in The Council of State Governments’ 2018 Henry Toll Fellowship, the nation’s premier leadership development program for state government officials.
The members of the Class of 2018 hail from 32 states and Guam and represent all three branches of state government. A committee of program alumni reviewed applications and selected the class.
“My hope is to improve my leadership and communication skills,” Ahlers said. “Improving these skills will help build new partnerships. These partnerships can help solve the challenges we face as a state.”
The Toll Fellowship, named for CSG founder Henry Wolcott Toll, has convened a group of the nation’s top officials for this intensive six-day, five-night intellectual boot camp for more than 30 years in Lexington, Kentucky. The 2018 program will be held Aug. 24-28.
The program’s agenda includes a lineup of dynamic sessions designed to stimulate personal assessment and growth, while providing networking and relationship-building opportunities. Each year’s program is unique, but previous programs have included sessions on leadership personality assessment, media training, crisis management, appreciative inquiry and adaptive leadership.
“The CSG Toll Fellows are a remarkable group of state leaders,” CSG Executive Director/CEO David Adkins said. “We have designed the fellowship to expand their leadership capacity with a strong focus on collaboration, communication and teamwork skills. Politics today are often characterized by polarization and gridlock. Toll Fellows learn how to overcome differences to serve the common good. These dedicated public servants leave the program energized and ready to return to their states and continue to make a difference.”
Adkins was a 1993 Toll Fellow when he served as a Kansas state representative.
Toll Fellows alumni include Cheri Beasley, associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court; Oregon Gov. Kate Brown; Delaware Gov. John Carney; Idaho U.S. Attorney Bart Davis; Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey; Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap; Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett; former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell; Anne McKeig, associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court; Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin; Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill; Tennessee U.S. Attorney Doug Overbey; Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate; U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, a former Indiana secretary of state; former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis; and Rhonda Wood, associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
“We need to continually challenge ourselves to be better leaders,” Ahlers said. “We can never rely on just one session to really change our bad habits. We need ongoing reinforcement, follow up and feedback to ensure good leadership habits are maintained.”
About The Council of State Governments
The Council of State Governments is the nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships. For more information about CSG, visit www.csg.org.