The Collaborative Leadership Network (CLN)

"Collaborative Leader of the Year" Award Winner:
Milwaukee's Near West Side Partners

Milwaukee’s Near West Side Partners, a collaborative venture among seven neighborhoods of residential, business, health-care, and non-profit enterprises, has been named the Wisconsin Leadership Institute’s 2015-2016 “Collaborative Leader of the Year.”

The Near West Side area of Milwaukee is home to 40,000 residents in seven unique neighborhoods. Near West Side Partners feature high-performing schools, hardworking business and health-care institutions, generous non-profits, amazing restaurants, and distinctive entertainment opportunities. Each neighborhood – Avenues WestCold Spring ParkConcordiaMartin DriveMerrill ParkMiller Valley and The Valley/Piggsville – holds its own rich history.

 The Partnership is Supported by Five Anchor Institutions:

Previous Winners of the WLI “Collaborative Leader of the Year” Award:

  • 2002 – Virginia Duncan Gilmore
  • 2003 – Jack Christ
  • 2004 – Laurie Frank, Carol Carlin
  • 2005 – Tommy Thompson
  • 2006 – John Stanley
  • 2007 – Carla Hacker
  • 2008 – Frank Cumberbatch
  • 2009 – Robert Kovar, Ernie St. Germaine
  • 2010 – Greg Giles
  • 2011 – The Green Lake Correctional Facility
  • 2012 – Jeff Smoller, Jack Palmer, Mike Richie for Rivers as Bridges
  • 2013 – Tom Thibodeau
  • 2014 – Richard Pieper

The Collaborative Leadership Network (CLN) provides young people and those who influence them with a proven approach to leadership development which recognizes both perennial and contemporary challenges, using fresh techniques and emerging technologies. 

        The CLN is an initiative of the Wisconsin Leadership Institute, Inc., an independent not-for-profit organization committed to the study and promotion of effective leadership and followership behavior, especially among youth. The CLN’s challenge is to reverse the widespread loss of confidence in traditional leadership behaviors, which too often rely on personal heroics and top-down chains of command. The CLN encourages participatory leadership through collaboration.
The CLN: Mission, Vision, Values
  • Our mission is to encourage, support, and connect aspiring leaders.
  • We envision a world in which people work, play, learn, and laugh together.
  • Our core values are courage, compassion, continuous learning, service to others, and fun.

Now On Line From the WLI: Our Better Angels -- Helping You Help Others

Our Better Angels (OBA) is a nonprofit online community sponsored by the Wisconsin Leadership Institute. Participating in the Better Angels Community will galvanize what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” and help spread the contagion of generosity, altruism, good humor, and good will. 

Our Better Angels will work with charitable agencies, nonprofit organizations, and all the individuals who support them as donors, volunteers, and/or employees. We will focus especially on schools, colleges, libraries, service clubs, youth groups, faith communities, and kindred organizations. We will depend on the credibility of those organizations and on the trusting relationships of individual human beings to grow the Better Angels Community. 

OBA Vision: a world in which people everywhere work, play, learn, earn, and laugh together.

OBA Core Values: courage, compassion, learning, service, perseverance, respect, integrity, fun.

OBA Creed: Based on a substantial body of scientific evidence, we believe that most people, most of the time, under favorable conditions, are reasonably intelligent, reasonably creative, willing to work hard for goals they believe in, eager to take responsibility for people and things they care about, and concerned about the long-term welfare of the human community and the planet earth. We believe that courage, compassion, generosity, good will, and good humor are contagious. We believe that the meek have already inherited the earth. In turbulent times, we believe we are living in the storm before the calm.

To learn more, go to