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

YALI at the Rockefeller Center: Leadership in Context with Dr. Gama Perruci

Article Type 

This is the third in an ongoing series of articles on the Rockefeller Center's participation in the Young African Leaders Initiative, or YALI.

This past week, Dartmouth's visiting YALI fellows continued the leadership portion of their program at The Rockefeller Center. The session, entitled “Leadership in Context,” was led by Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business and McCoy Professor of Leadership Studies at Marietta College. Dr. Perruci began the session by defining the word “leadership” and highlighting three constituent elements: leaders, followers, and a goal.

Dr. Gama Perruci defines the components of leadership

Through a heated and high-energy discussion, the fellows and Dr. Perruci came to define leadership as a process or journey rather than an ability. It was stressed that the effectiveness of leadership and the attribution of power vary in three main contexts: crisis, non-crisis, and change. The fellows discussed nine case-studies from The New York Times that dealt with these three contexts and were challenged to find the leadership styles that would be most effective. Patrice Juah, founder of the Martha Juah Educational Foundation in Liberia, was particularly impressed by how successful Dr. Perruci was in riling up the group. By the end of the session, discussions about what it means to be a leader and the importance of contexts had only just begun.

YALI fellows participate in a discussion about leadership
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences