Boston401 conference to tackle diversity in leadership issues

Vice+President+and+Dean+of+Campus+Life+Jim+Hoppe+is+on+the+Boston401+advisory+board.+Photo+credit%3A+Cho+Yin+Rachel+Lo

Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Jim Hoppe is on the Boston401 advisory board. Photo credit: Cho Yin Rachel Lo

By Carlee Bronkema, Staff Reporter

Common Purpose, a U.K.-based not-for-profit organization, will bring a leadership program focused on developing cultural intelligence in future leaders to Boston this April.

Boston401 will assemble young leaders to brainstorm solutions for the lack of diversity in leadership that they will face in the next ten years, according to Boston401’s website. The conference will consist of 150 people and take place from April 16–18 at Boston University’s Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground.

Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Jim Hoppe will serve as a member of the event’s advisory board.

“Everyone who I have talked to who has attended the program in other places has had nothing but positive things to say,” Hoppe said in an interview. “I really hope that there is some interest from students here and I hope that we can get some folks to be a part of the program—and I think it will be a positive experience for them.”

Common Purpose, a nonprofit organization, focuses on developing young leaders in cities across the world. They have projects in 100 cities globally, but Boston will be their second city in the U.S. after launching Chicago200—a program similar to Boston401—last year. Hoppe said Common Purpose plans to spread to New York City and Indianapolis in the future.

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Common Purpose decided on the name Boston401 because the city—founded in the year 1630—will enter its 401st year in 2031.

Hoppe became part of Boston401’s advisory group in the early stages of planning. 14 people serve on the advisory group, including the commissioner of the Boston Police Department and various local business directors.

The program focuses on cultural intelligence, which the Common Purpose website defines as “the ability to cross divides between geographies, generations, sectors, specializations, backgrounds and beliefs and thrive in multiple cultures.” Hoppe said this emphasis is why Boston401 is seeking participants from various experiences, backgrounds, and areas.

“In the ideal world, when the event happens, it will be just this really diverse and robust cross-section of the community,” Hoppe said.

Hoppe said Common Purpose became interested in working with Emerson when they started exploring resources in Boston. While the event in April is limited to 150 participants, Hoppe said he hopes Emerson will be able to host a smaller-scale annual series of events with 50–60 participants beginning next year.

Hoppe said he helps Boston 401 with outreach and marketing and has already recruited some Emerson students to assist with the project. Hoppe recruited the National Broadcasting Society, a student organization focused on producing TV and radio programs, to help with an advertisement for the event.

“The [National Broadcasting Society] is making a video that promotes the application and the event,” Hoppe said. “It is a great way for students to showcase their talents and expertise and contribute to the organization.”

Common Purpose already hosts a Global Leader Experience at Harvard University, which is primarily focused on developing inclusive leadership skills, according to their website. Hoppe said the Harvard program is open to students from Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Brandeis University. He would like to do a Global Leader Experience in downtown Boston, open to students from Emerson, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and Berklee College of Music, with the goal of highlighting more creative pursuits.

“We are exploring if there is room to do this program but with students from a more creative background—the students who are into the humanities,” Hoppe said.