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808 134th St. SW, Suite 101
Everett, WA 98204

(425) 508-5872

Leadership Snohomish County (LSC) is a nonprofit that connects, ignites and develops county-specific sustainable leaders to strengthen our communities. Each year, we help experienced and emerging leaders in Snohomish County gain an understanding of the critical issues affecting the region and the stewardship capabilities needed to resolve them. Through our nine-month Signature Program and Young Professionals Program, we work in small teams with the business, government and nonprofit sectors as Community Impact Project Partners. LSC features more than 700 alumni who remain strongly invested in Snohomish County.

Inspiration from Local Leaders

What defines a community? It's not always what you'd think.

Triple Strength Leadership - What is it?

Erika Olson

Gary Haakenson

Gary Haakenson

I read a recent article in Harvard Business Review on Triple Strength Leadership. The article says the key to leadership development is to help people partner and work together across three sectors: public, private and non-profit. Gary Haakenson has worked and partnered in all three sectors. I asked him for his thoughts on cross-sector experience. 

LSC: How does your cross-sector experience influence you today?

Gary: The relationships that I developed across the sectors have been invaluable in working with the varied needs of the people of Snohomish County.

LSC: Looking back on your life experiences, what are your key leadership lessons from your work in each sector? (How do you need to think in each sector?)


Public: Typically the squeaky wheels make the most requests in this sector and we to remember that the choices we make need to affect all people, not just the most vocal. Success is viewed by making slightly more than half of your constituents happy.

Private: My work in the private sector typically was more focused, more goal-oriented and directed at a much smaller base and end results became obvious.

Non-profit: Probably the most difficult sector to work in because the need is great and one needs to lead at two levels at the same time, as a team leader and a presenter, with a defined outcome.

LSC: What do you believe helps people effectively partner across these three sectors?

Gary: Each sector provides a different need and a different opportunity for success. As one works across all three sectors, he gains invaluable tools to draw upon in future situations.

All of our programs in Leadership Snohomish County are designed to intentionally bring together people from three sectors to develop relationships and work together. The future of all leadership development is to create tri-sector leaders, people capable of working across the sectors.