H.E.L.F. Alumni Fellows Leadership Institute and Inaugural H.E.L.F. Fellows Award Gala

Building communities of practice is a fundamental tenet of the work of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation. At H.E.L.F., we value the innovation, insights, and knowledge-sharing which emerge from convening smart, skilled individuals committed to the ascendency of HBCUs. We are proud of the communities of practitioners that have developed among the individuals who have participated in the thirteen cohorts and the H.E.L.F. Leadership Institutes. Over 450 H.E.L.F. Alumni Fellows continue to influence the higher education landscape as innovators, thought leaders, institution leaders, policy makers, scholars, faculty, and administrators.

We are excited to invite our H.E.L.F. Alumni Fellows to the June 2024 Leadership Institute to a convening to acknowledge their accomplishments, to reconnect and reaffirm the H.E.L.F. community and to celebrate H.E.L.F. alumni who have made outstanding contributions to American higher education and the HBCU sector. This gathering of H.E.L.F. Alumni Fellows will also bring together past and current fellows in a meaningful and timely interrogation of the issues currently facing our nation’s HBCUs.  This gathering affirms the power of the circle and the circle of power, which is an enduring theme which informs the work of H.E.L.F.

In conclusion, this leadership institute will culminate with a gala honoring H.E.L.F. Alumni in several categories. We ask our Alumni to submit nominations (only H.E.L.F. Alumni will be eligible) to be announced in March 2024 and honored on June 8, 2024, during the Omicron Cohort’s Leadership Institute on the campus of Wiley University.

Award Categories

The Innovator

Impact Innovators who have made a substantial and lasting impact on their field or society through their work are often considered for recognition. The magnitude of their contributions, whether it’s through groundbreaking inventions, transformative ideas, or disruptive technologies, is an important criterion.

Originality Honoring innovators often requires that their work demonstrates a high degree of originality. They should have introduced novel concepts, theories, designs, or solutions that have not been previously explored or widely known. Innovation involves pushing the boundaries of existing knowledge and practices.

Significance Innovators who have addressed critical challenges or problems and provided meaningful solutions are often recognized. Their work should have the potential to improve people’s lives, advance scientific understanding, enhance productivity, or contribute to the betterment of society in a tangible way.

Creativity Recognition is often given to innovators who have demonstrated exceptional creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Their ability to approach problems from unconventional angles, combine different disciplines, or make unexpected connections can lead to breakthroughs and innovative solutions.

Leadership and Influence Innovators who have shown leadership qualities and have inspired others to follow their footsteps or have had a profound influence on the thinking and practices of their field are often honored. They may have mentored aspiring innovators, founded successful organizations, or played a key role in fostering innovation ecosystems.

Longevity and Sustainability While some innovators may achieve remarkable success in a short period, sustained contributions and long-term impact are often considered for recognition. Innovators whose work has stood the test of time and continues to influence and inspire others are often given special recognition.

Ethical Considerations The ethical dimensions of an innovator’s work are also important. Innovators who have demonstrated a commitment to ethical practices, social responsibility, and considerations for the well-being of individuals and the environment are often more likely to be honored.

Recognition by Peers The acknowledgment and acclaim received from peers, experts, and the broader community within the innovator’s field can also play a role in determining whether to honor an individual. Awards, accolades, and endorsements from reputable organizations or institutions can provide a validation of an innovator’s contributions.

The Trailblazer

Impact The trailblazer should have had a substantial impact on their field, community, or society as a whole. Their contributions should have resulted in positive change, advancement, or progress.

Innovation Trailblazers often push the boundaries of existing knowledge, practices, or conventions. They introduce new ideas, methods, or technologies that challenge the status quo and pave the way for others to follow.

Leadership A trailblazer often exhibits exceptional leadership qualities. They inspire others, demonstrate vision and determination, and effectively navigate challenges and obstacles.

Persistence and Resilience Honoring a trailblazer often recognizes their ability to overcome adversity, setbacks, and obstacles on their path to success. Their perseverance and resilience in the face of challenges demonstrate their commitment to their goals and the impact they seek to make.

Influence and Inspiration Trailblazers not only achieve personal success but also inspire and influence others. Their accomplishments and stories serve as a catalyst for change, motivating others to follow in their footsteps or pursue their own unique paths.

Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion Honoring a trailblazer may also consider their contributions to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Trailblazers who break barriers and challenge systemic biases and inequalities help create a more inclusive and equitable society.

Enduring Legacy The impact of a trailblazer’s work should have a lasting effect. Their contributions should continue to influence and shape their field or inspire future generations long after their achievements.

The Maven

Expertise Mavens are recognized for their deep knowledge, expertise, and mastery of a specific subject or field. They have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, often acquired through extensive experience, research, or study.

Influence and Leadership Mavens have a significant impact on their field or industry and possess the ability to influence and inspire others. They may have a track record of leading or spearheading important initiatives, driving innovation, or effecting positive change within their domain.

Contribution and Impact Mavens have made notable contributions that have advanced the field or domain in significant ways. Their work may have resulted in groundbreaking discoveries, influential publications, transformative inventions, or substantial improvements to existing practices or methodologies.

Reputation and Recognition Mavens are widely respected and recognized by their peers, colleagues, and the broader community. They have built a strong reputation for their accomplishments, integrity, and professionalism within their field.

Mentorship and Knowledge Sharing Mavens are often committed to sharing their knowledge, expertise, and insights with others. They may actively mentor and guide aspiring individuals in the field, contribute to educational programs, or engage in knowledge-sharing activities such as publishing research, speaking at conferences, or conducting workshops.

Innovation and Thought Leadership Mavens are known for their ability to think critically, challenge existing paradigms, and drive innovation within their domain. They may have introduced new theories, methodologies, or technologies that have had a transformative impact on their field.

Longevity and Consistency Mavens have demonstrated a consistent commitment to their field over an extended period. They have shown dedication and perseverance in their work, often maintaining a high level of excellence and continued contributions throughout their career.

Who’s got Next?

“Honoring who’s got next” is a phrase that typically refers to recognizing and celebrating the emerging talents or future leaders in a particular field or industry. It emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and supporting the next generation of individuals who will make a significant impact in their respective areas of expertise.

The phrase can be applied to various contexts, such as sports, technology, arts, or business. It signifies the recognition of young and promising individuals who demonstrate exceptional skills, potential, and passion for their chosen field.

By honoring those who have the potential to be the future leaders, society can encourage their growth, provide opportunities for development, and foster an environment that nurtures their talents. This recognition helps motivate and inspire young individuals to pursue their dreams, achieve their goals, and make positive contributions to their respective industries.