This year I’ve had the privilege to be a part of a leadership training program at Comcast called the Fundamentals of Leadership. The training brings in both internal and external thought leaders to help educate the future leaders within the company. I am one of about 45 others that were selected to be part of the 2009 class.

A large part of the culture of Comcast is giving back to communities, and it is important for leaders within the organization to demonstrate this. The training was a lot of work but I loved the intimate conversations with people like Steve Burke, COO of Comcast. One of the speakers that had the greatest impact on me was Colonel Robert L. Gordon III from City Year. I didn’t know much about this organization but now I am so proud of what they have accomplished. They even have 2 members of their organization going through the training. During the next session I will ask them if I can feature them on the blog.

We also did our own little community project during the initial 3 days of training. We went to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and learned about their “Reach Out and Read” program. From there we went into the hospital, met with families and read to the children. This was more personal to me based on prior time in the hospital. I loved seeing the kids light up simply because we were taking the time to read with them. There was one little boy where a bunch of us sat on the floor and played cars for the longest time. The mother and son had a lot of fun and were able to forget, for a little while at least, some of what they were going through.

As the first session of training concluded, we were assigned our first project: create, manage and implement a project for Comcast Cares Day which was happening a little over a month away. This was difficult because many of us, including myself, had already planned to participate in that day in other ways. I wanted to find a way to teach non-profits about using social media. We decided this would need to be a stand alone project from the Comcast Cares Day event. While I was at the Comcast Cares Day I was so jealous of the great work done by so many people in the class. They were doing everything from beautifying neighborhoods to providing a piece of home to our troops.

Now the little project I had in mind has grown tremendously, thanks to the efforts of Jorge Alberni, Scott McNulty and many others. We recently launched the website for the Comcast New Media Exchange, which will be held on August 4th and 5th. It includes great speakers like Josh Bernoff, best selling co-author of Groundswell and Andrew Bleeker, the New Media Director for President Barrack Obama’s Inaugural Committee. It also includes friends like Pete Blackshaw, Scott McNulty and Chris Krewson. Special to my heart is Jay Scott from Alex’s Lemonade Stand. I’m also really looking forward to hearing Colonel Gordon again. If you have time make sure you log on to hear him speak, he is amazing.

The event in Philadelphia is by invitation only (really due to space), but it all will be broadcast live on the net for free.