The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Sadhana Hall

Students from Exeter Academy Visit Dartmouth

The Rockefeller Center hosted 27 students from Phillip Exeter Academy’s Charles J. Hamm Leadership Program on Wednesday, July 19. Students in the Exeter Summer Program live on campus in Exeter, New Hampshire for five weeks and participate in academic studies, athletics, and personal exploration. Of the 27 students in the Hamm Leadership Program this summer, 12 of the students are international.

The Hamm Leadership Program features excursions across New England to learn about leadership outside of the classroom. While visiting the Rockefeller Center, the students participated in a campus tour, scavenger hunt, and small group discussions. There was also a panel of Dartmouth students who shared their experiences about college life. Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center, presented on authenticity and leadership qualities. All activities focused on leadership in action.

Sadhana Hall Starts DRIVE Program’s Lecture Series

This past week, Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center, kick-started the 2017 summer DRIVE program with a lecture on leadership attitude. The DP2 Leadership DRIVE program, created and directed by Steven Spaulding, focuses on team-building and creating a championship culture among Dartmouth’s student athletes. This year DRIVE welcomed Hall as the first of their guest lecturers. Hall inspired the students with an impassioned and personal speech about knowing how to lead oneself.

Hall spoke about three important values in a leader: integrity, authenticity, and authentic listening. “Integrity is your word. Nothing more, nothing less,” she says. Maintaining truthfulness and promises, whether with oneself or with another person, establishes one’s credibility. Without credibility, one will never have people to lead. She then speaks about authenticity, language, and intent. Words matter—and saying something one does not plan to fulfill is an example of bad character. This, too, will cost a person their followers.

The Class of 2020 First-Year Fellows in D.C.

The Class of 2020 First-Year Fellows arrived in Washington, D.C. this week and are currently participating in the Civic Skills Training (CST) component of the program. The Fellows have already completed four on-campus training sessions during the spring term and will now spend an additional five days of training in Washington, D.C. before their fellowships begin on Monday.

The CST curriculum covers everything from public speaking, networking, and advocacy writing to project management, team work, and professionalism and is designed to prepare the students for a successful internship experience and beyond. The week includes classroom sessions facilitated by Deputy Director Sadhana Hall and Program Officer Sam Williamson, workshops hosted by area alumni, and excursions around the city to familiarize the students with Capitol Hill and the surrounding area.

Leadership Requires Confidence and Innovation

The Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) begins the term with opportunities for participants to get to know each other. Casual Thursday, an on-campus improv group, set the tone for a learning environment that rewards individuals for pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones in order to grow as individuals. One of the activities introduced by Casual Thursday was called Freeze.

"This activity was a really fun and innovative way to get that message across," according to Sarah Gupta '19, "and to remind us that many things we're proud of are the things that challenge us the most."

"It was a way for me to step a little out of my comfort zone and to think creatively on my feet," says Akiirayi Ademoyo '18. "Although, it was a silly game, it conveyed leadership qualities such as confidence and innovation. It was also a great bonding experience with my fellow MLDP peers because it was quite an engaging game.”

Deputy Director Sadhana Hall concluded the session with an interactive exercise that explored the program’s personal leadership challenge and how to craft SMART goals to achieve the challenge.

Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Winter Retreat

During the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Winter Retreat, the Fellows engaged in a very substantive discussion on the core lessons of On Leadership by John W. Gardner. We were divided up into groups of four or five and took turns presenting summaries of all the chapters of Gardner’s book. One of the consistent themes across several presentations and following discussions was the link between context and attributes of leadership. We discussed that while there are numerous attributes that categorize good leaders, different situations call for different leadership attributes, and, in the end of the day, we cannot always control the context or situations that we will face as leaders. To me, this point heavily resonated with Jay Davis’ idea of adapting leadership style based on the current situation and needs of the group.

Increasing Students' Intercultural Leadership Competencies

The Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) was first piloted in the 2012 spring term to develop the leadership competencies of students during intercultural experiences, both academic and professional, while at Dartmouth and beyond. RGLP begins each term on campus with weekly sessions. There is a culminating fieldwork excursion during its seventh week that helps students experience cultural diversity firsthand.

During the 2016 Winter term, 24 RGLP participants, along with the Center’s Deputy Director Sadhana Hall and Program Officer Vincent Mack, traveled to New York City for the off-campus portion of the program, organized in large part with the hands-on involvement of two Center Board of Visitors, Robert Tichio ’99 and Maya Wiley ’86, who work in the city.

“We have a unique opportunity to engage this generation of up-and-coming leaders to make a difference in the communities where they work and serve,” said Robert Tichio, Partner and Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings, who moderated a panel discussion of three fellow alumni on “Diversity in the Public and Private Workplace: Advancing Understandings of Race, Gender and LGBT Identities.”

Leading for your Audience

At the most recent Rockefeller Leadership Fellows retreat, Sadhana Hall spoke to us, the Fellows, about creating a leadership presence. Of the many topics she spoke about, her anecdote of authenticity and integrity deeply resonated with me. I interpret someone’s spoken word as truth, but I sometimes give someone my word and have not followed through in the manner I said I would. I’ve never had an instance where my word has a massive impact on someone’s life; (based from the Fellows last  session with Jay Davis) I haven’t had the “wisdom from bad choices” with vital matters to make good choices with integrity. In this instance, however, learning from someone else’s experience, we all learned the impact and power our words impact others.

“What is common sense?”

On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, the Management and Leadership Development Program kicked off its first session, with guest speaker, Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center.

Sadhana first spoke about how leadership is showing up and not just physically, but mentally as well. She then went on to explain the importance of leaders being lifelong learners. “What is common sense?” Sadhana asked the group. One participant replied, “When you think something is common sense, you think you already know it.” Sadhana raised her hands in excitement, “Exactly! And when you assume you know something, the learning process stops.”

She took the group through some exercises that brought home the message that when we assume something is common sense, we assume everyone grew up in the same culture or has the same perspective on life, and that’s when the learning stops. As leaders we must commit to lifelong learning and always keep an open mind, and by challenging our assumptions on things we initially thought were common sense.  

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant Lily Morrison ‘16

In this series, the Rockefeller Center features our Student Program Assistants, student staff who contribute significantly to the success of the Center’s events, programs, and activities.

Most of the Student Assistants at the Rockefeller Center are assigned to work on specific programs, but some students assist with day-to-day operations and unique projects. Lily Morrison ’16, for example, lends her efforts on special projects, whether that may entail creating a presentation, coordinating a seminar, or researching for a potential speaker.

Sadhana Hall Received the Sheila Culbert Distinguished Employee Award

Sadhana Hall, deputy director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, received the Sheila Culbert Distinguished Employee Award at this year’s employee service awards banquets. This year also marked her 10 years of service anniversary. Click here to read the entire Dartmouth Now article highlighting the Dartmouth Annual Service Award Celebrations.

Hall, who joined the Rockefeller Center in 2004, was presented the College’s highest staff honor in recognition of a decade of work during which she built, broadened, and brought academic rigor to experiential learning programs that deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of public policy and strengthen their leadership skills. Her work has included transforming the center’s Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences