Jeremy Graves has spent the last decade working in Idaho communities to tackle some of their biggest challenges, from helping families in crisis to ending homelessness. Now teaching as an instructor for Boise State’s Center for Professional Development, Graves does not believe his community work has ended.
Rather, as he explained, “Big systemic changes are only possible with transformational leadership.”
Graves believes real change comes from the positive development of people. He saw an opportunity to do just that with the Center for Professional Development. The center attracts people from Treasure Valley businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations who are seeking hands-on learning opportunities to grow as professionals and as leaders.
Boise State’s Center for Professional Development
The Center for Professional Development offers courses aimed at helping individuals, businesses, government agencies and nonprofits meet their professional goals. Their classes are offered on campus, on-site and online. They range in topic from leadership and management to human resources, project management and more.
What’s more, Boise State staff and faculty members receive a 50 percent discount on registration fees for Center for Professional Development courses.
“A friend told me about [the center] and I really liked their mission of ‘making your world a great place to live, work and do business.’ After meeting with the director and observing classes, I felt that they really embodied that mission,” Graves said.
So far, Graves has established a new version of the center’s leadership program, created a strategic thinking class that culminates in game play, developed customized education programs for Idaho businesses and more.
On teaching and authentic leadership
His approach to teaching and creating a positive learning environment begins with “setting our culture together,” he said. “I ask ‘what would make our time together more productive?’ at the beginning. I don’t rescue silence and know that in the silence, reflection is happening.”
What is the common thread between all Graves’ courses and work for the Center for Professional Development? Authenticity.
“My desire to help people grow in their understanding of themselves and become comfortable in their own skin comes from my own journey as a leader. I started out as an inauthentic leader because I was very uncomfortable in my own skin and unwilling to admit weakness. It was only through self acceptance and being okay with who I am, that I felt I was able to truly lead.”
A “People Developer”
As a “People Developer,” according to his LinkedIn bio, Graves imparts that he is committed to the “long road and helping people develop at their own pace. It’s not just about getting a certificate or taking a class, and then checking a box and that’s it,” he said.
Graves is still learning, too. He points to the work of Simon Sinek and Brene Brown, a transformational read called “Rare Leadership” by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder, and podcasts and books by Ron Price and Stacy Ennis as being important sources for his learning.
But for Graves, it’s always about the people.
“I met a guy who had been passed over for a supervisor position four separate times. Together, we did an assessment and developed a growth plan. I’ll always remember the day he told me that he finally got the promotion,” he said.
– By Pamela Craig, Boise State Extended Studies