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Hesselbein Wins Presidential Medal of Freedom

Frances Hesselbein and President Clinton

President Clinton awarded Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, at the White House on January 15, 1998.

President Clinton said, "In her current role as the President of the Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, she has shared her remarkable recipe for inclusion and excellence with countless organizations whose bottom line is measured not in dollars, but in changed lives." He then drew laughs from all in attendance when he remarked, "Since Mrs. Hesselbein forbids the use of hierarchical words like 'up' and 'down' when she's around, I will call this pioneer for women, volunteerism, diversity and opportunity not 'up,' but 'forward,' to be recognized."

The official citation reads,
"Frances Hesselbein has devoted herself to changing lives for the better. Rising from a volunteer troop leader to Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of America, she reinvigorated the organization with her commitment to inclusiveness and to upholding the Girl Scout mission of empowering each Scout to reach her highest potential. Under her guidance, the number of minority Girl Scouts tripled and overall membership soared. She has worked to imbue other nonprofit groups with the hallmarks of true leadership: openness to innovation, willingness to share responsibility, and respect for diversity. With skill and sensitivity, Frances Hesselbein has shown us how to summon the best from ourselves and our fellow citizens."

One of the ways that Mrs. Hesselbein works to summon the best from citizens of today's global society is through the books in the internationally acclaimed Drucker Foundation Future Series. With her co-editors, she has brought together leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to share the latest and best thinking on the future of leadership, organizations, change, innovation, and community life in first The Leader of the Future (1996), then in The Organization of the Future (1997), and in the recently published The Community of the Future.

In Mrs. Hesselbein's own contribution to The Community of the Future, she writes, "It is not only the social, nonprofit sector that shares a common bottom line, changing lives. All three sectors are indispensible as they join forces and build and renew the community -- the community of the future our children require and deserve. Moving beyond the walls -- in powerful partnerships that can build and heal and unify -- leaders are called to manage the dream of a country of healthy children, strong families, good schools, decent housing, and work that dignifies, all embraced by the cohesive community. It is the dream that lies before us."

The Community of the Future brings together leading thinkers such as Netscape President and CEO James L. Barkdale, author Stephen R. Covey, acknowledged "father of modern management" Peter F. Drucker, author Margaret J. Wheatley, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, Ambassador Andrew J. Young, and many others to provide powerful insight into the basis of society itself -- the community. The contributors show how to recognize and anticipate trends shaping the evolution of society; the impact of new communications technology; how to create organizational communities; ways to strengthen the social fabric to build successful communities, and how to shape the community of the future.

The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, founded in 1990, provides educational opportunities and resources to forward its mission "to lead social sector organizations toward excellence in performance." It pursues this mission through the presentation of conferences, the annual Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation, and the Frances Hesselbein Community Innovation Fellows Program, and through the development of management resources, partnerships, and publications.

Frances Hesselbein is the founding President and CEO of the Foundation and is Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Josephson Institute of Ethics. She serves on numerous nonprofit and private sector corporate boards, including the Board of the Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, New York. She formerly served as the CEO of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976-1990. Her many contributions to the social sector were previously recognized by former President Bush, who appointed her to two commissions on community service. In addition to serving as Co-Editor of the Drucker Foundation's Future Series publications, with over 300,000 copies in print worldwide, Mrs. Hesselbein is Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly journal Leader to Leader, all of which are published by Jossey-Bass Publishers.




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