Novant Health launches emerging leaders program, inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.

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Pilot program targets untapped, high-potential leaders who are invested in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community

Honoring the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. and his service to others, Novant Health is launching a unique leadership program called the H: Drive Experience; the “H” represents “hidden.” The pilot program aims to identify untapped, high-potential leaders who are invested and engaged in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community but who might not otherwise have access to leadership development opportunities.

“At Novant Health, diversity and inclusion are more than just words. They’re core values,” said Tanya Blackmon, executive vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, Novant Health. “We are proud to provide a leadership development opportunity through the H: Drive Experience that will further benefit our diverse communities.”

Through a combination of core sessions, coaching, interaction with community leaders and shared group experiences, prominent change agents in the community will facilitate personal and leadership development designed to help participants create a clearer sense of purpose, strengthen their leadership voice and deepen their commitment to serve.

Key findings from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force report revealed that social capital serves as a key differentiator essential to creating greater access to opportunity in our communities, which are largely divided by race and income. Conversations about how the arts could be leveraged to engage individuals in dialogue to better our community inspired Blackmon, Arlene Ferebee, senior director of strategic development, Novant Health, and Toussaint Romain, assistant public defender, Mecklenburg Public Defender’s Office, to develop the idea for the H: Drive Experience.

They sought community knowledge from several experts, including Ophelia Garmon-Brown, MD, senior vice president for community wellness and education, Novant Health; Mike Whitehead, founder, The Center for Intentional Leadership®; Jon Davis, consultant, The Center for Intentional Leadership; Octavia Seawell, principal, OZS Consulting; and Christian A. Friend, PhD, president, C.A. Friend Consulting. These individuals will provide resources to help participants reach their full leadership potential. Additionally, Diane Gavarkavich, director of research services, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, will provide program evaluation support.

The nine-month program will begin in May 2018 and end in January 2019. Participants will be asked to make a firm commitment to attend the scheduled sessions and invest in their personal development. To learn more or apply to be considered for the H: Drive Experience, visit Submissions are taken until March 19, 2018. Selected participants for the pilot program will be notified no later than April 9, 2018.

H: Drive participants will be recognized during Opera Carolina’s opening night performance of “I Dream,” presented by Novant Health, on May 18. “I Dream” is a modern, rhythm and blues opera based on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Questions about the program can be directed to Arlene Ferebee at

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