Book Review - A View from the Balcony

"Your writing is exactly how I have felt and exactly what I have experienced in my own plight with SOC. Sometimes I have felt attacked, and also that I didn’t know what I was doing. I have been “dismissed” in conversations, and have been treated like I am an enemy for holding others accountable to the clients we serve in this process. I now know otherwise, and have new motivation to move forward, and also have a better grip on my own delivery and approach when attempting to gather allies!!"

"I love it!!"

Jodi Sleeger
Wyoming Department of Health

Community Leadership Institute

"I had such a wonderful experience last year when I attended the Community Leadership Institute in Las Vegas. You should know that upon my return to Buffalo, New York I had a situation that needed to be dealt with on the spot with a current team member. Your class helped me to understand my own leadership style and to effective work with those who have different leadership styles. During a direct confrontation I was able to deal with the situation effectively and appropriate since I knew what her leadership style was and why she was resistant to my leadership style. I was able to take the information learned and it apply right away. This was a potentially nasty situation but armed with the tools I learned I was able to turn the situation around.

Additionally, the homework assignment was beneficial as well. I outlined one of the communication channel problem I experienced in my world. I listened to the feedback of the other small group members, didn't like what I heard, but listened. Upon returning to my site I discussed the feedback I received and their input was accurate although I couldn't see what they said at the time. Having experienced people in small group was very helpful to me in working in social marketing. As a result, I was able to put together a presentation that addressed the need to improve internal communications and got results.

I would strongly recommend this training to other social marketers within the system of care world. The ability to clearly understand your own leadership style and how to work with others with difference leadership styles will help to bridge the gaps in your communications; especially with partnership building and collaboration. Additionally, I've been able to use some of the training to help strengthen a parent & youth team that I have = Social Marketing & Evaluation (SO.OF.M.E.) Team.

Sorry for being long winded but I'm still excited about this training and it's been a year. There should be a refresher course as I did not learn everything and re-read the manual but could always use a refresher course because there is much to learn and apply."

Deborah Porter, Director of Social Marketing
Family Voices Network of Erie County, Buffalo, New York

"I came to the Institute contemplating my role as a leader and my future with my organization. I am leaving this Institute with a revived sense of self. I am inspired to lead again! Thank you!"

Paul Smith, Regional Director
Division of Child and Family Services, Price, Utah

"Having an opportunity to learn more about my style of leadership and my level of risk-taking was a tremendous asset. Recognizing many of the same traits in others whom I came to respect and admire recharged my commitment to stand facing the wind upon what is often a lonely balcony, but the view is awesome!"

Rever Kennedy, Field Director
Vermont Agency of Human Services

Dear Gary:

"Just wanted to drop you a few lines, informing you that I was truly re-energized by the interactions, information and knowledge gained from attending the Leadership Institute. I brought that energy back to my staff, my community and pray that it transcends to families.

I held a retreat for my supervisees, creating a shared vision as a "team" and looked at our personal values and its impact on our work. I cannot begin to verbalize what a success it was in promoting cohesion within our team (which was my leadership challenge).

Thanks again!"

Denise Dixon, Clinical Coordinator
St. Louis, MO

"Invest in yourself. Invest in your community. This program will challenge and enrich every area of your decision-making skills. You will leave refreshed, motivated and energized for the opportunities ahead!"

Meri Sue Pepper, Administrative Coordinator
Families First & Foremost
System of Care, Nebraska

"Attending the Community Leadership Institute was an incredibly valuable experience for me. I came away with new tools and strategies from both faculty and participants to support me with my continuing development as a leader."

Don Mandelkorn, Field Director
Vermont Agency of Human Services

"After I attended the Community Leadership Institute I was so much better prepared to undertake the difficult and necessary work of system change for my community."

Cassandra Logan, Family Peer Support Specialist
Arching Over, Missouri

"I have not only received the books but already took a copy home and read it through - excellent work on lessons learned, and several stories that bear an uncanny resemblance to our experiences here! A View from the Balcony will definitely be a "must-read" for our expanding partnership."

Jeanette Rowsey
Technical Assistance Coordinator
Mountain State Family Alliance

"I have read your book over and over, each time I find it such valuable information... A View from the Balcony has been such a valuable resource for me as I continue my current work with children with special health care needs and their families.

Thank you for your valuable insight, and for writing such a wonderful, useful resource for those of us continuing to work in the field we love so much - making life better for children."

With great respect and thanks,

Jenny Rogers
Navajo Nation

"Gary, I LOVE the book and have read the family chapter to 3 people over the phone. I am speaking at the SOC conference and my topic is Family Involvement in Systems of Care and School- Based Mental Health. I would like your permission to reference your book and I will certainly bring it with me. Do you have any order forms that I can pass out?"

Patti Derr
Texas Federation of Families

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